Jussi vaihtoon

Waffles and fries in Antwerp, Belgium

Zeemanskerk and sunday shopping

The weekend is over and the school is starting tomorrow. This is the 7th day for me here in Antwerp and everything should be now arranged, except the copies of my rent agreement which I should give to the school during registration. As I wrote in the previous post, I had some issues with finding a safe place for my road bike. Well, that is not a problem any more – I’ll get back to this as the story goes on. I also got myself a gym membership to a place nearby. So far I have nothing bad to say about the place (except that own drinks are not allowed). I’m more of a ”iron up-iron down” -kind of guy, but there are also some group lessons available. The website is http://www.centercourt.be. Students get good discounts, so if you live in Borgerhout or e.g. somewhere close to the central station, I suggest you take a look! The personnel speak good English and they’re very nice too.

So, it was the first Friday evening for me here, and I had nothing to do. Normally on Friday evenings I’ve used to see my friends and stuff like that, but as sad it sounds I have no friends here, yet. Before coming to Antwerp I knew there is a Finnish Sailor Church (NL: Finse Zeemanskerk/FI: Suomen Merimieskirkko) located somewhere here. The idea of the church is to support bypassing Finnish sailors, travellers, truckers, students etc. There is a café, sauna, Finnish TV and of course Finnish newspapers available for everyone. The café also sells some classic Finnish groceries. So, I decided to pay a visit. The place is situated on Italiëlei, and there’s a Finnish flag on the wall. After some everyday troubles with my bicycle chain I managed to get to the front door and the café waitress took me in. We had a chat about living here with her and another Finnish girl, who was doing her internship here in Belgium. I told them about my time here and also mentioned about the problem with my road bike. The waitress promised to ask her boss whether she knew a place for storing the bike. It was worth of trying, since yesterday she emailed me some really good news. She told that the bike could stay in the church premises. The place couldn’t actually be more perfect, since the location is just at the very northern part of the city center, so I don’t have to ride the cobblestone streets of the center.

Yesterday it was Sunday, and what could be a better way to start the day than heading off to local marketplace! That’s right, vegetables, rabbits, waffles, sausages, hats, bicycles, olives, comics… what ever you could think of! Everything was for sale and the square was crowded. In addition to the nice atmosphere lead by a choir of salesmen shouting their prices, the sun was shining like never before! It was an enjoyable moment and took me back to my childhood years when I used to visit the marketplace for strawberries and pancakes in Jyväskylä! The evening was, once again, the same as every day: taking my fiets (local word for a bike) around the city and getting to know the districts.

One thing still reminding me of my ascetic Finnish nature, is the fact that I’ve spent a whole package of coffee in just seven days. Dark roast, me like it.

Sunday market

Sunday market