We started our day wandering toward the Grote Markt, or Great Market Square, where we passed the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady). As the cathedral houses many of Peter Paul Rubens' pieces (Rubens is one of my favorite artists), I wanted to go in, but wasn't in the mood to spend a few euros just to go inside of a church--especially with what we had planned for later.
The market square itself is just enchanting. In addition to city hall, the square is filled with traditional Flemish architecture, and it surrounds you. It feels like you're in a fairy land!
One of the best decisions we made was going on the ferris wheel. As you can see, the views of the city were incredible!
The Office of Tourism recommended the Plantin-Moretus Museum (the printing museum) and admittedly, I was expecting to be bored out of my mind. But it was the last Wednesday of the month, so free-museum day, so what did I have to lose? However, it was fascinating to learn about the history of printing and see some important historical artifacts, such as an original 36-line Bible. The museum also showcases two of the world's oldest surviving printing presses (below)! I later learned that the Plantin-Moretus Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I see why.
Our final stop in Antwerp was Rubenshuis, formerly Peter Paul Rubens' home and studio. I. Freaked. Out. How exciting, to visit the home of one of my favorite artists, which included galleries of his works! It also highlighted the works of those he influenced (spoiler alert: a lot of artists). This was my favorite part of our trip, as I just love the grand masters.
Antwerp was so full of Flemish art, history, and culture, and I wish I had more time to spend there. Looks like I need to go back!