Thursday, 12 April 2018
Antwerp with Claire
On the last day of the month, I hopped on a train to Antwerp.
Originally Bert and I were going to go to Plantin-Moretus with Lora for an etching workshop and tea duelling later. But Bert had to work and I had busted the tendons in my wrist so etching was a BAD plan.
So instead, I had asked Claire if she wanted to hang out. I did still take the train Lora was already on, and we met Claire in the station.
Of course, we first walked to the museum with Lora, mostly because I knew the way and she didn't, but because it was just more fun to drop her off and hang out for a bit :).
I wish I hadn't forgotten to take an instax shot of the three of us!
Having dropped off Lora, Claire and I first popped into a shop selling taxidermy and such. I was quite surprised by just how expensive taxidermy animals can be.
Not finding what Claire was looking for, we decided to go to Starbucks to have lemon cake and drinks for lunch. I did seriously consider more matcha latte because I was in a TOTAL zombie state thanks to the NMBS induced misery from the day before (see this post for the full story) when Bert and I got back from Lille. In the end, I got Cool Lime instead. Which managed to defrazzle me at least somewhat.
We sat around for a while just hanging out and catching up, before we braved Grobet. I had to pick up a UV filter/lens protector for Bert. On Saturday Grobet is often utterly SWAMPED so we feared the worst. But miraculously, there were hardly any people there! We ended up spending quite a bit of time in there, looking at the store's test shots with instant cameras and such with Erik who works there. The people at that shop are always so nice and super helpful! UV filter acquired, we set out to find a spot to play with the instax square.
Attempt at photographing a mural we came across on the way. We went for the Conscience Square outside of Carolus Boromeus church :).
Claire's outfit was super classy and awesome. Lora and I both felt she looked like a modern day Vanessa Ives from Penny Dreadful, which she did not object to :).
Selfie, just because we can.
And a comparison between the digital copies the camera makes and the actual print. I put a strip of washi tape from HEMA on the print, the frames are just plain white.
Originally I would have been home at a decent time. In time for dinner in fact. But that was OF COURSE not going to happen because the NMBS decided to act up TWO DAYS IN A ROW. First the train didn't show up. And they claimed the track had changed (which they neglected to announce) but later we found out from other people that the train simply hadn't shown up.
So we waited for the next train. At that point, the beautiful weather had turned into a proper storm. The train didn't show.
But what did show, were messages saying there were issues due to the storm. Turns out there was a lightning strike on the way the train I was supposed to take was on. That wasn't the only lightning strike on the rails either, because obviously, protection against lightning, a pretty common occurance, is not something the NMBS feels like investing in.
At that point, it was getting quite late, and so we decided to go to Claire's place, and Bert could pick me up there. But once I was there, it turned out it wasn't that easy for Bert to come pick me up. So Arnout and Claire were kind enough to walk me back to Roosevelt Square, from which I know my way perfectly, so Bert could pick me up at the South.
Seriously guys, thank you so much!
So yeah, in the end I did get home. And by the time we were halfway home, the NMBS had sorted out it's crap (partially) because Lora had managed to grab a train. Which was great because we were worried she'd be stuck. I did warn her by text.
So yeah, I was home a whopping two and half hours later thanks to the NMBS fucking up AGAIN. Two days in a row. What the bloody fuck.
Again, no compensation nor proper apologies (the staff we asked for info in Antwerp did apologise, and they were super kind and really TRIED to do their best to give information, but sadly they hadn't been properly informed themselves, which made their job not only hard but also very unpleasant. I was nice to them, because it really wasn't their fault, but others were less so).
I would expect that the NMBS would have at least SOME contingency plans in place because it was the day of a big national cycling competition in Antwerp, so a day were a LOT more people were in town than usual, and the storm had been announced.
But no, they didn't, with that kind of disaster as result.
It is beyond me that they still get away with this kind of crap.
It comes to no surprise that more and more people go for the car the second they're old enough to get their licence. It's not like you can trust in the busses and trains.
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