AWC Going Dutch March 2020

goingdutch

The American Women's Club of The Hague's monthly magazine

Antwerp Day Trip

by Alex Moore

In December, my friend Lizzy came all the

way to visit me from the UAE. It wasn’t her

first time in the Netherlands as she came

to visit me last year. As soon as she said my

name at the arrival hall at Schiphol, I screamed.

My scream soon devolved into laughter as I

realized I made a fool of myself in public.

Thankfully, the rest of the people waiting for

friends and loved ones found it just as amusing

as we did.

I met Lizzy in the fall of 2007 at Converse

College in South Carolina. We were cast

in a play together as part of a senior’s theatre

project. One day during rehearsal, my

black Motorola Razr rang, playing the intro

to All Along the Watchtower, Jimi’s version,

naturally. As soon as Lizzy heard the first

few notes, she stage whispered, “I love that

song!” It was then and there that a friendship

began. One that has lasted for years, whether

we’re lounging on the beach in Florida, braving

the winter in Chicago, or going to concerts

in New Orleans. We also backpacked

Southeast Asia together, traipsing through

Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. We almost

died together―a story I’ll save for a

rainy day. If that didn’t solidify our bond, I

don’t know what would.

gotten so used to hearing Netherlands Dutch.

I’m not exactly fluent in Dutch, but sometimes

I can understand it. Flemish, however,

had me back at square one.

The last time I went to Antwerp was in late

2014 and my husband Diederik had to drive

on dodgy Belgian roads while it was snowing.

He’s still my hero for that maneuver. Since

Frozen was popular that year, I annoyed him

with Do You Want to Build a Snowman as

soon as he stopped driving. Alas, there was

no snow on this cold December day, so I had

to settle with annoying Lizzy with my horrific

jokes, which I’d been doing ever since

we were reunited at Schiphol.

Our first priority was food since those sandwiches

were already a distant memory. I led

us to Grote Markt, where we found a place

that served waffles, coffee and desserts. We

each ordered coffee and decided to share

a Belgian waffle with chocolate. The fun

part was getting to order the whole thing in

Dutch and translating the menu for Lizzy.

I was able to hold a conversation in Dutch

with the friendly owner switching to English

when I ran out of Nederlands, a small victory

I couldn’t help but smile about.

Outside the café, we found what appeared

to be a giant art exhibit beside the cathedral.

There were bare trees and patches of

green moss at the bottom. Lights were strung

throughout the branches and a fog machine

dispersed bits of fog throughout the exhibit.

As we walked around, we heard creepy horror

movie music. Neither of us understood

why that particular music was chosen since

we thought the exhibition didn’t need any. We

didn’t know whether to admire it all or run

from Freddy and Jason. Since we didn’t hear

chainsaws, we opted for admiration while

walking further towards the Christmas market.

I’d forgotten that everyone else has the same

idea to visit a Christmas market, so we had to

maneuver our way through the crowds waiting

in line for gluhwein, hot chocolate and

waffles. There were waffles galore: covered

in chocolate, sprinkles, chocolate and sprinkles,

fruit and cream, everything that makes

a Belgian waffle magnificent. Instead of

gluhwein, we decided on fries, mine with curry

ketchup and hers with regular ketchup. >> 40

During her visit, I suggested we take the train

to Antwerp for a day trip. Since she’d never

been to Belgium, she agreed. We bought our

tickets at Rotterdam Centraal, and enjoyed

hummus, rucola, and sundried tomato sandwiches

and tomato soup from Lebkov &

Sons before catching our train. Our leisurely

lunch seemed to set the tone of our Sunday

Funday.

As we stepped out of the train, we were both

taken by how beautiful Antwerp Centraal is.

The whole time we rode the escalator, we

commented on the beauty of the high ceilings

and the ornate architecture that will

never cease to amaze. When I heard Flemish,

it was initially somewhat jarring because I’ve

38 GOING DUTCH

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“Our next holiday is

a safari. They do

the whole world!”

“They make booking a

holiday so easy. I just

leave it to them!”

“Every trip is

customized, just for

me! That’s unique!”

MARCH 2019 39

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