Antwerp · Hotel

Sleeping Around

Next to pop-up stores, pop-up restaurants and pop-up windows, there is now a unique pop-up hotel called “Sleeping Around”. “These days, we are all in search of a lot more than just comfort and luxury,” says Ellen Wezenbeek, PR-manager of the Sleeping Around concept. “Authenticity, comfort, adventure, design and the unexpected, these are experiences we all seek. We are all carried away by the thought of a relaxing yet stimulating retreat whether it be in our vibrant cities or in the quiet countryside.”

The idea originated when the owner of the Sleeping Around hotel, Didier Opdebeeck, was renovating his house. Sleeping in a container, decorated as a living area, made Didier think about this new concept:  a compact yet luxurious hotel room, equipped with all the mod cons: a box-spring bed, rain shower, iPod docking station and air conditioning – all contained in a 20ft recycled sea container.

(c) sleeping around

(c) sien josephine

“We think green and employ only ecologically responsible materials. The containers themselves are produced in China, after which they are used for worldwide transport. As it is not always profitable to return the containers empty, they are often left behind in ports, including Antwerp’s. This unique concept offers the ideal mix of adventure and comfort at some of the most impressive locations in the city,” Ellen continues.

(c) sleeping around

(c) sien josephine

(c) sien josephine

Sleeping Around contains 4 hotel room containers, a breakfast/lounge container and a sauna container. The hotel rooms provide a superior and comfortable night’s stay.

The hotel containers are currently located at the Antwerp Waagnatie, close to the Scheldt river. Who knows where they ship of to next. Maybe Tel Aviv? “Presenting our concept in Tel Aviv would be amazing,” Ellen replies. “Bring on the proposals!”

(c) sleeping around

4517_web20121206_sleeping_around_2306 (c) sien josephineAbove: trying out the bed (much approved!)

(c) sleeping around DSC_7471

For more information about the current location and online booking visit www.sleepingaround.eu or visit their Facebook page

Judaism · Tel Aviv

Purim Parties

Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays of the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a clash of civilizations, a time where the Jews in the ancient Persian empire were saved from extermination. The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther (the Megillah, meaning the scroll containing the biblical narrative) in which Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasueros, planned to kill all Jews. Thanks to Esther and her step-dad Mordecai, the plans were foiled. The word “Purim” means “lots” and refers to the lottery that Haman used to chose the date for the massacre. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing.

During Purim, it is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations, to perform plays and parodies. Americans sometimes refer to Purim as the Jewish Mardi Gras. For Europe it’s Carnaval. According to the Talmud, a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordecai,” though opinions differ as to exactly how drunk that is. There are a few explanations to the origin of the tradition of disguise. One of them is Venahafoch Hu, meaning ‘the opposite happened’. The light atmosphere of Purim gave rise to an abundance of jokes, clowning and humor, based on the Megillah’s words Venahafoch Hu. Another explanation is God hiding his identity in the Megillah of Esther. Or it is a tribute to Mordecai dressing up as the King to save Esther. Also, since charity (Mishloach Manot) is a central feature during Purim, it allows the givers greater anonymity which preserves the dignity of the recipient. Or as Yoram Ettinger writes: “Purim is the holiday of contradictions as well as tenacity-driven-optimism: annihilation replaced by deliverance; Esther’s concealment of her Jewish identity replaced by the disclosure of her national/religious identity; Haman’s intended genocide of the Jews replaced by his own demise; Haman replaced by Mordecai as the chief adviser to the king; national and personal pessimism replaced by optimism.”

In Tel Aviv, Purim means 4 days of parties; and for everyone, including babies, pets and even statues. Here are just a few of the events of the last weekend:

“Crazy Purim Party” with YoYO deejays Mark RonsonSeb Chew, Leo G.@ HaOman17

markronsonphoto by N8n

“Superfly” party @Hangar11 Federation Hall

superflyphotos by Yaki Zimmerman

Morfium-Mendelimos-Rubi party @ Hangar11

morfiumphoto by Eyal Marilus

Purim weekend on Rothschild Street

blogrothschildblogrothschild2photos by Marilyn –  Canon EOS M

the annual Tel Aviv Purim Street Party

photobyAdiEzra2012photo by Adi Ezra 2012

Food, drinks & great vinyl – Friday afternoon @ Port Said

blogportsaidphotos by Marilyn –  Canon EOS M

Antwerp · Architecture · History

Antwerp from both sides.

They say “the river Scheldt (Dutch: Schelde) owes its existence to God, and Antwerp owes its existence to the river Scheldt”. Thanks to this river Antwerp is the 2nd largest harbour in Europe and the 4th in the world. Both the Right (the historical city) as the Left Bank of the Scheldt are unique places to visit. There’s the vivid historical city center, with tons of shops, restaurants and tourist attractions on one side, and there is nature and 20th century nostalgia on the other side. With its Casino’s, the restaurants and even a small beach the Left Bank was indeed a popular place for entertainment.  There’s not much left of those glory days now, but you can still feel the swing of the 60ies and the 70ies when you go for some delicious moules-frites (mussels with fries) on the terrace at Sint Anneke beach, while enjoying the view on the historical city across the river. The Sint-Anna pedestrian tunnel, build in 1932-1933, is a true beauty (if a tunnel can ever be called beautiful) which is definitely worth a visit. Let me just tell you with some pictures I took today what I can’t express with words:

(c) sien josephineAbove: The statue of Pieter Paul Rubens, Antwerp’s most famous painter, keeping an eye on the Groenplaats (historical city)

(c) sien josephine

Above: view on the guild halls on the Grote Markt (16th Century) (c) sien josephine

Above: detail of the wrought iron gates which used to indicate the line between the docks and the public street (late 19th century) (c) sien josephine

Above: easy Antwerp transportation: these city bikes take you everywhere as long as you dock them in another station within 30 minutes.(c) sien josephine

Above and under: enjoying a nice stroll on the boardwalk along the Scheldt between Antwerp’s North and South side

(c) sien josephine

(c) sien josephine

(c) sien josephine

Above: time for some nice Belgian fries, while enjoying the view on the Cathedral (under)(c) sien josephine

Under: view on the Left Bank from the boardwalk.(c) sien josephineUnder: the entrance of the Sint Anna pedestrian tunnel (build in 1933)   (c) sien josephine (c) sien josephine  Above &under: inside the pedestrian tunnel (the wooden escalators also date back to 1933)(c) sien josephine

Under: inside the pedestrian tunnel: 572 meters long and 31,57 meters underground.(c) sien josephine

Under: the Left Bank in the windows of the Sint Anna pedestrian tunnel exit

(c) sien josephine  (c) sien josephine

Above & under: view on historical Antwerp from the Left Bank(c) sien josephineUnder: Sint Anneke beach (by (c) Jens Mollenvanger)

(c) Jens Mollenvanger

All pictures are copyright protected 

(c) 2013 Sien Josephine

Music · Tel Aviv

theAngelcy – cry on our shoulders

Time for a musical discovery. While recently watching “Not in Tel Aviv” by Nony Geffen (full post about the film following soon) I fell in love with a song called Giant Heart by Rotem Bar Or. Rotem is a musical emperor leading a 6-headed band called theAngelcy. He started playing guitar to impress girls, so did Leonard Cohen. The band is in the starting-blocks of a promising international career. Their first single Dreamer was an unscheduled-overnight-radio-hit and with barely two years of performances throughout Israel, they have conquered our souls and acquired a devoted following.

On Tuesday, 12-02-2012, they performed at the Tel Aviv Barby for over 700 people. It was the last show before their maternity leave, the recording of their first album. On stage, Rotem knows how to interact with his audience and keep them hooked. His songs are mostly about love but his lyrics can be violent, cruel and even sadistic. Despite prophetic loneliness and emptiness, the audience feels comforted by the music. What would Freud say about the ambiguity of those figures he sings about: the motherlover, the baby boy, the fighter, the rebel angels, the big bad wolf… It was a delight to see this eclectic-folk band live on stage, they have sweet stage dynamics and a good instrumental balance. The show ended with Rotem’s solo version of a new song called ‘Secret Room’…which just left us all yearning for more…

For optimal listening experience: 1. start with Giant Heart if you feel hooked, it’s ok, you may use the repeat1 button 2. then listen to Dreamer (also on repeat1 if needed) 3. by then you’ll probably have bought the EP “Beginner’s love” and will subscribe to all their channels to stay tuned for more: Facebook Bandcamp YouTube MySpace

13 Feb 2013 2013-02-132013-02-136theAngelcyblog 2013-02-134 2013-02-132

all photos © Marilyn Ambach – thanks to Canon EOS M

Antwerp · Music · Travel guide

Josephine’s Treasure Map to Antwerp (3)

Turn up the music, fill your cup and drink it down! Part 3 is all about Antwerp nightlife. Antwerp has a lot to offer when it comes to clubbing. Here are a few of my favorite dance floors:

PETROL – Deep down an abandoned road on the South part of Antwerp lies an old industrial warehouse which is rebuild to a club with an underground vibe. Its minimal and dark interior make it a perfect location for techno parties as well as rock concerts. When i dance i “just can’t get enough”, so Petrol offers two dance floors. Usually the club is used for concerts. I once saw an excellent YACHT concert here, somewhere in 2010 – shame we don’t hear anything from these guys anymore. (Petrol – d’Herbouvillekaai 25 – 2020 Antwerp)

MAGIC – One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal: it’s a kind of magic. Freddy Mercury himself would twist and turn on this magical dance floor. Entering this club, literally under ground, feels like being warped back to the decadence of the 70ies. Electro Pop music and Eighties Kitsch in the mix with modern dance tunes, the music in Magic is as divers as its crowd: from underground artist to fashion diva. The only thing that happens in this place is dancing. On my agenda: the Filles a Papa party this Thursday! Important note: you can only get in when you’re on the guest list. Check the website for more information. (Magic – Desguinlei 94- 2018 Antwerp)

Picasa TM3-001

Click the video to see a recap of some magnificent parties going on at Magic Antwerp:

SCHELD’APEN – On the same road as Club Petrol lies an even more abandoned house, also rebuild to a (smaller) club called Scheld’apen. This place has played an important role to a lot of experimental and underground artists. The primary goal of this club is to create a platform for Antwerp artists. From time to time however, you can party hard here. I’m personally looking forward to the Mykki Blanco concert this Wednesday! (Scheld’Apen – d’Herbouvillekaai 36 – 2020 Antwerp)

ULTIMATUM – Another personal favorite are the monthly parties held in bar Ultimatum. Located in the heart of the city Ultimatum is in fact a restaurant/bar, but once a month owner Olivier turns the place upside down (and round and round) to host some of the best parties in Antwerp (and the one’s with the biggest crowd on a Sunday night – don’t these people have work on Monday?!). With names as Thirsty Thurdays and Sunday Funday – let’s be honest – you get what you came for: great music, great drinks (damn those 6 EUR gin&tonics) and great vibes. Definitely on my calendar: another Thirsty Thursday on February 28th. (Ultimatum – Grote Markt 8 – 2000 Antwerp)

(c) Scheld Apen

(c) Ultimatum

After all this dancing our feet hurt and our legs are all tired. So why not indulge yourself for a moment and sleep in one of the comfortable beds of Hotel The Black. This hotel, located in a mansion on the Antwerp Leien, feels like an old Hollywood film, not only ’cause of the colors (black and white) but also because of the glamorous yet mysterious atmosphere. Kim Soeffers, interior architect and personal friend, decorated each room as if she would live in it herself. Every room is provided with a a classic bathtub in which I for one can soak for hours. Another glass of champagne to close the night and then I lay myself to rest in a heavenly set of pillows. Aah.. this is the good life indeed. (Hotel The Black – Amerikalei 113 – 2000 Antwerp)

(c) Sien Josephine

GIVE AWAY TIME:

Because you all have been so good and sweet to us it’s time we do something back.

We offer you a one night stay in the Hotel The Black (according to availability).

Want to dream away just like I did? This is what you have to do:

  1. Like the Marilyn & Josephine Facebook page
  2. Like the Hotel The Black Facebook page
  3. Send us an e-mail with your name and address

The lucky winner will be contacted by the end of March!

Well, this concludes the treasure map (for now). I hope you enjoy your stay in Antwerp as much as I enjoy living here!

xoxo

Josephine

Antwerp · Photography · Tel Aviv

Best of both worlds

One of my favorite things about morning errands in Tel Aviv is what one sees along the way. With my music* and my camera** I walk around town and I observe, think, compare and analyze. I often look in contrasts. Antwerp vs Tel Aviv. Europe vs the Middle East. But, what is the Middle East and what defines it? I could write a full post about Israel’s geography: which continent are we? Asia. Then why do we participate in the Eurovision? Oh here I’m deviating from my subject, let’s just call it Mediterranean for now and let’s go back to comparing the two cities I know best.

Israel has always been technologically advanced – they had cellphones here before we even knew about them, remember those dinosaurs – and was already a free-WiFi-friendly place. The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality Finance Committee has recently approved a 1,5 million $ budget for a city WiFi Network that will be spread in parks, city shores, main streets and commercial centers (on top of cafes, restaurants and bars and my favorite: the airport).

Another great thing is the 75% discount the city’s residents get on various well-located parking lots. The city also makes sure to keep the city green and often involves citizens in their opinion about the design for certain parks, sidewalks and fountains. And how about getting around town in the monit Sherut? And all those 24/7 restaurants, going from breakfast at Benedict till burgers at Moses at any given time of the day. And the delicious cappuccino (hafuch). And if you like dogs, it’s a dog friendly city too. Between gay beach and the orthodox beach there is a dog beach. Also, besides having the ugly usual graffiti, there are some incredibly talented anonymous artists doing street art.

So let’s teach and learn from each other. Tel Aviv should urgently start separating trash, fining honking vehicles, french shower the smelly street cats, improve the supermarkets, get decent bike lanes and what not. Bekitsur, (in short) best of both worlds (and one of Robert Palmer’s best songs)

*currently listening to an Israeli band called theAngelcy –photo remember their name, it will live forever **yes I have just replaced my broken iPod touch with a Canon EOS M, Generation M(arilyn). Yes it was named after me. Aren’t you wondering how I took this picture then ->

 IMG_0056IMG_0039IMG_0091IMG_0030IMG_0107  IMG_0041    IMG_0034  IMG_0026IMG_0068IMG_0073 IMG_0077IMG_0037  IMG_0080 IMG_0084

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