Howdy, friends and fans! Welcome, once again, to your favorite travel blog. I’m gonna start by saying I’ve got a few weekend trips planned (to Vienna, Holland, London and Prague to be more precise) in the near future. Not for my pleasure, of course, but for yours! That’s right: I travel, you enjoy it. That’s how a visit to the.ego.tripper works. No?
Anyway, the sun is shining on Antwerp at the moment, the city is waking up from its winter break, people are coming back to life, terrasses are starting to fill up these days and everyone is out and about. Finally, spring’s here and summer is coming. The perfect moment to do a story on this beautiful city, isn’t it? As you all know, I’m a former east-coaster who has moved to Antwerp some seven years ago. What struck me then – and still strikes me now – about Antwerp, is how different the city is in winter- and summer-mode. Ouch, I honestly dislike wintertime in this city. Sometimes I even forget why I moved here in the first place. But when the sun comes out and the thermometer hits 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, I remember: Antwerp is fucking awesome!
One of the things that makes Antwerp so interesting during the summer months, must be ‘Zomer van Antwerpen’ (Summer of Antwerp). This Summer of Antwerp is one big party that lasts for two months and offers cultural orgasms, an open air movie theatre, a superb summer bar and library, music performances all over the city, amazing pieces of theatre, concerts, festivals, parties, a circus, … You name it, Summer of Antwerp has got it (and if they don’t, you just drink a few of their 12 euro bottles of rosé wine or headache cava). The festivities start on the 20th of June and last until the first of September (Zomerbar will be open from the 6th of July). For most of these events you’ll have to buy tickets in advance. And you really should, because almost everything will sell out in no-time. So get your tickets on the 15th and 16th of June in the ‘Zomerfabriek’. More info here.
But because June is still far away, I should point you in the direction of Antwerp’s other sweet sweet summer bars. On the 16th of May both Bocadero and Strantwerpen open their doors. Check out bocadero.be and see how they claim to be Saint-Tropez at the Scheldt river. This is a slight exaggeration, I feel, but why not? Antwerpians are not really known to be modest anyway, so why not compare yourself with Europe’s finest? I like Bocadero anyway.
On the same day Strantwerpen opens up for a new season of high-end partying. The last three years Strantwerpen was held on the Eilandje, not too far from Bocadero. But now they’re moving back to where they started: het Zuid. Which I feel is a great move. The food will be served up by chefs from the newest and hippest Asian restaurant ‘Umami’. Should be interesting.
Anyway, if these summer bars are all a bit fancy for your taste, please go to Park Spoor Noord and Cargo zomerbar, which has already opened by the way. Take your barbecue meat, your kids, your neighbors, your neighbor’s dog to this park for a lovely day of eating and drinking (and spend half a day trying to locate your kid and dog when you leave). The atmosphere is relaxed, the cues at the bar are painfully long, but still well worth it!