Guest Post: Laura Soave, designer and blogger from Italy writes about how there is no place like home …

Laura Soave is an Antwerp blogger and designer from Italy. Check out her blog: nonnative and find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter  Read her story here:-

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No Place Like Home …

Breathless, I’m completely breathless, not because I’m admiring a beautiful view from a fancy skyscraper in some fancy big city like New York. No, the reason why my ex-smoker lungs are loudly screaming is because I have just ascended 65 stairs (yes, I counted) just so I could reach the top floor of a building in Kipdorpvest, a street in the heart of this small city. And all of this effort just so I could visit the last apartment available te huur (to rent). That day I made my first big decision in a foreign country: quit smoking! This is one of the first memories I have of moving to Antwerp and one of the first time I saw Leopold de Waelplaats. I thought it was one of the most charming places I had ever seen: foggy, a little grey, but incredibly charming. I remember I was sitting in this café while waiting to check the last apartment for the day. It has been a long time since I’ve thought of that first day in this strange, new land.

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Leopold de Waelplaats

My name is Laura and I am an Italian from Napoli living in Antwerp since 2011. When I moved here with my Italian husband we did it to get a better life, sure. But we weren’t running away from La Bella Italia; we were homesick everyday, and we still are. Were we leaving everything behind – family, friends, our apartment – in order to try this new experience that might get us a better job and a better future? The hope for better opportunities fused with a curiosity to explore a new culture won the battle between “shall we go?” and “we’d  better stay”.  

So the answer was yes. Even though during my first days of Belgian-life I perceived some kind of hostility, I wanted to feel part of the culture and understand the everyday mechanisms of a society that I could not yet comprehend. While observing people crossing the street I couldn’t help but wonder how could they go around with just a light t-shirt or shorts while an unstoppable rain was coming down! And as soon as a timid ray of sunlight emerged, everybody was sitting outside, no matter what temperature: that was a complete mystery to me. But yes, I now forgot cars and traffic and rode around Antwerp on my purple bike, crossing streets of a city so diverse that it can make your head spin. I noticed there is less queuing at the bank or at the post office, and less stress caused by things like late buses, however, you’ll feel the need to take advantage of enjoying a day outdoor in the sun, because it might be the last you’ll see in a long time. Due to this and many other reasons, I became passionate about this place. I started working as designer, began to attend Dutch classes and discover more of this new culture. I made both Belgian and international friends.

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When you live abroad for a while, you realise your life will always be split into two perfect halves. Half of me is still in my hometown; and then there is other half that has tuned out of my own culture a little, and has adjusted to a new way of life and new rules. At first, this new feeling created a sense of non-belonging, not belonging to Antwerp but also not to Napoli, because not living my culture for so long made me forget what’s it like to live there. A dawning awareness enabled me to at last realise that I do belong to both places at the same time, so to make a better record of my life here and experiences, I recently started a blog about Antwerp (nonnative.blog), which is a collective of expat voices. Nonnative is a place where people can write about this city from the expat point of view; it’s like an online home.

Sometimes I think of what Dorothy says “There is no place like home” right before clicking her heels for three times to go home. Home can be in two different places at the same time: in one place you have your heart, and in the other your have your soul. One cannot live without the other.

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Inspired to write a guest blog post telling your Antwerp story? Please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com -I’d love to hear from you.

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Find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)

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Pinterest

 

This weekend in Antwerp: 27th, 28th & 29th October

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Pumpkins at Antwerp market (Theaterplein, Saturdays)

Here is your GOOGLE MAP for all the locations mentioned in this weekend’s post!

Plein Publiek celebrates two years at the Fierensblokken this weekend. There’s also a fair amount of Hallowe’en events on, although Hallowe’en itself falls on Tuesday.

One option for some Hallowe’en entertainment would be the BATS production of Dracula. Tickets for the 31st are sold out but there are still some left for the 28th, 29th & 30th. I have already heard very positive reviews of this production!

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Friday

Critical Mass takes place as usual for the last Friday of the month, and this is a special edition for children and young cyclists. Be aware that this route will, however, comprise three sites where cyclists have been killed in accidents lately in Antwerp, so that flowers can be laid at these places. If you’re a cyclist, do be especially careful as the weather gets darker, and especially at crossings (all the recent fatalities occurred at crossings).

Saturday

The Antwerp Fire Services celebrate their 200th birthday with an open door day at their main depot on Noorderlaan, between 9.30 am- 5pm. Ideal for a visit if you have a child who aspires to be a fire-fighter.

It’s the legendary An Sibhin Hallowe’en Quiz! General knowledge quiz in fancy dress, in English. Teams of max. 5 players – 5€ per person entry. The quiz starts at 8pm.
Reserve your team by messaging the An Sibhin Facebook page  or in person at the bar.

London Calling are celebrating 50 Years of Sergeant Pepper at Ampere! SuperEarly bird tickets are sold out but a few early birds are left at 7 euros… Otherwise it’s 11 euros. DOORS OPEN: 10.30

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Sunday

There is a free Dia de los Muertos event at MAS museum from 3pm on the 8th floor. It is suggested that visitors bring a photo or object that evokes the memory of a lost loved one.  There’s music, and a free visit to the expo on the 8th floor, as well as some activities for children.

The weather this weekend is likely to be mixed with showers (particularly on Sunday) and maximum temperatures of around 15 degrees.
Miscellaneous

Wednesday 1st November is a public holiday (All Saints) and there will be a Goegekregen Rommelmarkt all day (9am- 6pm) on Theaterplein.

On MONDAY 30th Oct: I’m looking forward to pressing another guest post – this time from Laura, an Italian who lives in Antwerp and is the the writer of Nonnative blog

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Don’t forget to get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com if you would like to write a post telling your Antwerp story.

I have also guest-blogged for Nonnative. Read my restaurant review here.

Antwerp has been included in the Lonely Planet Top Ten Cities for 2018!

For kids: you may be pleased to know that the indoor playground above Mercado (Groenplaats) has re-opened. It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays (and during school holidays) from 10am- 6pm and on Wednesdays from 1pm -6pm.

Find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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Instagram

Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter

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Pinterest

This weekend in Antwerp: 21st & 22nd October

Feels like a post-summer lull is upon us a bit, but there are still a few things on. Here’s the map for this weekend’s picks.

dkbeerfWild Jo’s Market takes place over Saturday and Sunday at de Koninck Brouwerij It’s a nice market if you have time on your hand and like design, but it does cost 4 euros to get in, which I personally think is a bit steep (although it’s free for under 16s) as an entry charge to a place where you are likely to be spending further. There is both an inside and an outside area, and there will be local creatives and entrepreneurs selling clothes, design and household items, art, crafts, food, clothing and more. There will also be live music.

Saturday

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Over in Park Spoor Noord, Bar Noord is closing, which confirms that summer is over and it’s definitely autumn. SNITT and Goegekregen are holding a second hand market in the shelter from 9am -6pm and over the weekend there is a program of events from Bar Noord to mark the end of their summer 2017 season.

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It’s also Kringwinkel Day – a good day to get a bargain in any one of Antwerp’s second hand stores. I like the one at St Jorispoort as it is very big -three floors of furniture, household goods, clothes, toys and well, anything, really. Here’s the program for the day (scroll down for De Kringwinkel Antwerpen -page 3/ 5- where you can see the specific themes/ specialties for each of the stores).
Sunday

There is a running event at Park Spoor Noord from 10.30 (go to the Loods Sport hall to register at 10.30). Take part in  5km, 10km or 15km run. Here’s the program for the whole day.

WP_20171018_14_42_46_RichAnd from 10am -5pm Brilliant Foodies – a food festival organised by Antwerp World Diamond Centre at Felix Pakhuis (Eilandje, near MAS). Free entry.

Miscellaneous

Temperatures are likely to be pleasant this weekend (reaching 17 degrees) but there are chances of showers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Coming Soon: I’m looking forward to pressing another guest post this time from Laura, an Italian who lives in Antwerp and is the the writer of Nonnative blog

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Don’t forget to get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com if you would like to write a post telling your Antwerp story.

Next Wednesday (25th) is the last Wednesday of the month so don’t forget that Stad Antwerp museums are free on that day, which is handy to know if you have kids to occupy. Also handy to know if you have kids, is that Filmhuis Klappei is showing children’s films on Wednesday afternoons, starting at 2.15. This coming Wednesday it’s Viana (in Dutch): cost -2.50 for kids and 3.50 for adults (reserve via the email link).

And one more for the kids: you may be pleased to know that the indoor playground above Mercado (Groenplaats) is reopening this weekend. It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays (and during school holidays) from 10am- 6pm and on Wednesdays from 1pm -6pm.

If you use public transport a lot in Antwerp, you may be interested in the City Pass Antwerp from De Lijn.

Good news if you want to fly from Antwerp – London

Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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Instagram

Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter

&

Pinterest

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This weekend in Antwerp: 13th, 14th & 15th October (mini-post!)

Well, this is a very short post as I am away in London for most of the week prior to this weekend. If possible I will edit with updates during the day on Thursday and Friday, so do check back …

Friday

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Mercado

On Friday night, Mercado on Groenplaats celebrates its first birthday. There will be live music at 9, also on Saturday and Sunday

Art lovers should head to Borgerhout for Borger#12 from 6pm: a selection of galleries open their doors for an evening of vernissages, nocturnes and finissages until 9pm. Take a bike from gallery to gallery.

Saturday

There’s “Geefplein” at Sint Andriesplaats (coStA) from 11- 6pm under the Hangar, so you can stay dry whatever the weather. Bring unwanted items in good condition to donate.

It’s the Antwerp Art Academy book fair from 10- 6pm.

Sunday

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Bib Permeke

There’s a Revive Market Closet Sale at Plein Publiek from 11am-4pm, and Boekenplein on De Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library (10am -4pm)

The weather outlook is pretty good: mild to warm, and predicted to be dry.

Miscellaneous

It’s Fair Trade Week from the 4th- 14th October. Search the Fair Trade Week Belgium site for events in Antwerp.

If you use public transport a lot in Antwerp, you may be interested in the City Pass Antwerp from De Lijn.

Good news if you want to fly from Antwerp – London

For London pics, see the #nessascitybloglondon hashtag on Instagram.

Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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Instagram

Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter

&

Pinterest

This weekend in Antwerp: 6th, 7th & 8th October

AS EVER, HERE’S YOUR TRUSTY MAP FOR THIS WEEKEND IN ANTWERP!

Friday

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Kunstwerk 5 at Plein Publiek

A rather special exhibition at Plein Publiek from 6pm: the fifth and final Kunst/Werk expo to take place at this special location will feature work in a variety of media from a group of local artists, displayed not only in the old apartments of the ‘Fierensblokken’ but also in other parts of the venue. It’s a unique location in which to view artwork (closing for refurb in January, so not so many more chances to see it in its original form) and when you are done admiring the artwork, Plein Publiek itself is a cool place to linger on for a while and have a drink or some food. Table bookings: reserveren@pleinpubliek.be / 0474 07 48 92 or online via: https://goo.gl/Dmol84 

The featured image for this post is a work by Sacha Eckes (“Untitled (Thumb)”) who will be exhibiting at Kunstwerk 5

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BATS Theatre Society hold their monthly Open Evening at the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt 111 from 8.30pm. A good chance to find about joining in with some local English- speaking theatre, and also to get tickets for their upcoming production of Dracula -in time for Hallowe’en (I’ve already got mine!)

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Dracula -pic courtesy of BATS Antwerp VZW

Saturday

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Sint Jansplein

There’s one of the regular enormous ‘rommelmarkts’ on Sint Jansplein between 10am and 6pm. There’s also a regular market every Wednesday on Sint Jansplein, with food, clothing and household goods.

Or take a wander into Berchem for a food market –the Berchem Bazar -on Driekoningenstraat and Statiestraat. Many local shops, café and food producers are taking part, including Nellie’s Café/ House of Sweets & Things which I finally had the pleasure of visiting this week, for a delicious scone with real clotted cream and jam.

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Corner Boy

For your Saturday night entertainment, you could head to An Sibhin Irish pub on Nationalestraat for some live music at 9pm. An Sibhin will shortly be celebrating their 20th birthday (more info soon) in the meantime, warm up for the celebrations with Irish band Corner Boy

Sunday

What’s not to like about a stroll along Kloosterstraat? This Sunday with the addition of Kloosterfest! From 11am -6pm.

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Colour Collective

Or if you enjoyed Colour Collective’s concerts at Bar Paniek, you might want to make your way to Deurne for their Cava Concert & Dance at La Luna. It’s a combined chamber music concert with contemporary dance performance. Included in the ticket price (10 euros) is a glass of Cava (or orange juice).

Over at Rivierenhof, it’s the annual Ecodroom event: stall and stands offering environmentally-friendly  and local products and food, a repair café (including bike-repair atelier), a second-hand market, vegetarian and vegan snacks, and a green café for kids (as well as the usual wide green spaces and petting farm that children can enjoy). Ecodroom takes place from 1-6pm around the Kasteel Rivierenhof  and Parkweg Rivierenhof.

Temperatures around 14 -15 degrees this weekend, with the chance of some showers. Take a brolly!

Miscellaneous

It’s Fair Trade Week from the 4th- 14th October. Search the Fair Trade Week Belgium site for events in Antwerp.

If you use public transport a lot in Antwerp, you may be interested in the City Pass Antwerp from De Lijn.

Next week’s post will be a brief round-up as I am away in London. For London pics, follow the #nessascitybloglondon hashtag on Instagram.

Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

socialmediaFbPTw

Instagram

Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter

&

Pinterest

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