Antwerp · Tel Aviv · Tourism

Guestblog: Joy Anna Thielemans in Tel Aviv

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“Mommy mommy, I’m going to Tel Aviv for work!”‘ – “Isn’t that dangerous?” – she immediatly replied. Keep that conversation in mind when I tell you that it repeated itself in every other conversation I had the week before I left. Do replace “mommy” with any other name. Exactly. That. Conversation. Every time. Everyone.

I was extremely excited to go abroad for work. All I had to do was meet interesting, talented and sweet people. And smile, always for the camera but that’s not really hard when you have the best crew ever. With all my love I introduce to you: Dimi(tri) and Karolien. Without these two, I wouldn’t have been smiling all the time. They are the reason why I was able to make these amazing reports. They made them, I smiled and met talented people. I am one spoiled brat that can call smiling and meeting people my job.

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Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv. In every conversation I realized more that I knew so little about the city. Let me make you a list about everything I knew. The weather must be better than in Belgium (that’s not really hard) It is located in Israel. And that’s about it. So I left. Didn’t know what to expect. And I came back. Overwhelmed. Tel Aviv is an amazingly lively city filled with talented, happy and welcoming people. The first guy I met in the city…

– Wait let me tell you how I met him ’cause I do like the story: At around 8 am, on our first day we were sitting in a coffee bar on the ground floor of our apartment building. Enjoying the early sun, good coffee and cereal. He passed us by and walked towards me: ‘You are amazingly beautiful’ he said. I didn’t really know what to reply. Me, not knowing what to reply, that’s a first. I’ll blame the (non existing) jetlag. Couple of minutes later he came out of the bar, holding a cookie and coffee. He gave me the cookie, “cause” – and I quote – “you are worth it”. I loved Tel Aviv from then until forever. Dimi, my lovely cameraman joked around that guys would have all the attention for me the entire trip. Funny thing is, mister cookie guy was the only who saw me. Dimi, the pretty looking dude, got all the attention. –

So, this guy told me the city has this continuous party atmosphere 24/24h. Oh boy was he right. I went to several bars and restaurants, open 24h (almost all of them). I ate the best food ever (including grilled Kale, soooo yumm!) at Port Said, most of all loved Hotel Brown’s cozy bar, Café Europe’s excellent food and the diversity of music in the clubs. Cabs take you anywhere you want or you can choose to stay at Rothschild Boulevard. That includes restaurants, café’s, clubs, anything you need for a perfect night. At 2 am we left our last party and closed the night by eating ice-cream on Rothschild, next to a restaurant where people were mailing, drinking, working and laughing. No one ever has a bad mood in Tel Aviv.

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The full nightlife report 23/01 in Lust For Life on Belgiums public broadcasting net één, 22u30. Fun, laughter, pretty buildings (Bauhaus much, my favourite. A report about that 16/01 on één), flawless design, lovely people, party’s, good food (and drinks), amazing rooftop views, the perfect weather for nice outfits (no jackets needed), a city with a beach (that’s so perfect) sweet people and sun. That’s what Tel Aviv is. I loved every second of my (too short) trip. And I could tell you so much more. But what really explains are the video’s. 16/01 and 23/01 the last one’s will be online.

Things I want to do next time I go? The shopping area – be amazed, I didn’t go there -, Café nachmani, Baranowitz Kronenberg, and the Tel Aviv museum of Art and every single beach/street/corner I haven’t been to. We’ll meet soon sweet Tel Aviv. Very soon!

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Joy Anna Thielemans (August18 1992) is a Belgian actress/host for national television. She is mostly known for her role in the Flemish soapseries ‘Thuis’ She presents the new show Lust for Life in which the most vibrating cities of this time are visited. It’s a show about design, culture, fashion, travelling and everything in between & beyond. But most of all Joy Anna is a dear friend, always in for some coffee and a chat. Love you longtime, Joy!  Superspecial thanks to you and your crew.

x Sien Josephine x 

 

Antwerp · History

The Red Star Line Museum

It’s the 19th century. America’s industries are flourishing, promising Europeans, poor and rich alike, a new world and a better life. With their whole life packed in a few suitcases, millions of people sail to the United States and Canada. For many people, the trip to the New World begins in a warehouse in Antwerp. Red Star Line ocean steamers pave the way to a new life for about two million men, women and children between 1873 and 1934. It is in this warehouse that the Red Star Line Museum opened its doors only some days ago, telling the story of millions of Europeans who were courageous or desperate enough to leave their old life behind and look for a better existence.

 

1. A brief history

The Red Star Line was created as a trade name in 1873, and was co-operation between the International Navigation Company (Philadelphia) and the Company Société Anonyme de Navigation Belgo-Américaine (Antwerp).  A complex of three brick-red buildings faces the Rijnkaai (Rhine landing stage), a section of the docks in the old Antwerp harbor district. For more than sixty years the Red Star Line ocean steamers docked right there.  They took on passengers by the hundreds from all over continental Europe, all pursuing the American Dream.

Belgians, too, were among those who sought a new future on the other side of the ocean. However, Belgians figured only as a small portion of the Red Star Line’s passengers. Belgian emigration to countries outside of Europe was relatively limited. Antwerp was however a particularly popular port of emigration among Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. These people constituted a sizeable proportion of the Red Star Line’s passengers. To take one statistic: of the 2.8 million people to exchange tsarist Russia for the United States between 1899 and 1914, 40% were Jewish. In many cases, these were people of very limited means who were assisted by several Jewish relief organisations in Antwerp. Many Eastern European Jews emigrated because of the socio-economic situation, but also because of the climate of discrimination against them and outbursts of anti-Semitism – the pogroms. One of the more famous passengers of the Red Star Line is the future prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir.

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2. The museum

The former warehouses of the Red Star Line were reopened as a museum on September 28, 2013. The main focus of the museum are the travel stories that could be retrieved through relatives of Red Star Line passengers. Visitors follow in the footsteps of the emigrants. The exhibition shows the different stages of the journey. Eight themes are presented over two floors: a travel agency in Warsaw, a train compartment, the city of Antwerp, the Red Star Line building, the deck of an ocean steamer, the interior of a ship, arrival at Ellis Island, and a new future in the US. The exhibition depicts how the average European emigrant would have experienced his or her journey at the beginning of the 20th century via attractive images, striking scenography and authentic objects. A strong focus is placed on the personal stories of Red Star Line passengers. Six star witnesses are central to the story. Some of them are still alive, for others the well-documented story is told by a descendant. The witnesses include Albert Einstein and Irving Berlin, two icons of the rich Red Star Line history.

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For more information on the Red Star Line Museum visit the website.

Red Star Line Museum

Montevideostraat 3
2000 Antwerp
Belgium
tel. +32 3 298 27 70
redstarline@stad.antwerpen.be

Antwerp · Tourism · Travel guide

Touring with Tanguy

I have been so incredibly busy these last few weeks that Antwerp wasn’t well represented on our blog. Thank you Marilyn for making up my lack of free time with some great articles about (her life in) Tel Aviv.

Being busy isn’t always that bad though. For example last weekend, i was booked as a photographer for the nice people of the Yelp Community. Yelp is a social local review website, founded in America, with a focus on the “Real Reviews” feature where users could write and publish unsolicited reviews. And the more reviews you write, the more Yelp gives back to you. So from time to time a group of selected Yelp Elite members can enjoy a good Yelp Event, and this time this event was no less than a tour through Antwerp with – according to CNN – “one of the 7 savviest guides in the world”: Tanguy Ottomer.

Tanguy is quite the know-it-all when it comes to Antwerp and he has an entire wall filled with books exclusively about Antwerp to prove it. Like music is to John Miles, Antwerp is to Tanguy: his first and last love. Touring with Tanguy through my favorite city has been on my wishlist for quite a long time. However, our agendas never seemed to match so I was quite thankful to be booked on the special Yelp Tour. Tanguy talks with such fun and passion about his beloved city, it’s hard not to fall in love with it yourself (or re-fall, since i had actually already fallen for Antwerp’s charms when I moved here 10 years ago). He unfolds Antwerp’s little secrets in such an interesting and fun way. Even I didn’t know half the things he told us about Antwerp. Next to a brilliant guide, Tanguy is also a fashion-fixer, a personal shopper or just a guy with the proverbial key to some of Antwerp’s coolest and most unreachable fashion walhalla’s. Of course I’m not gonna spoil the fun and share the secrets here. If you wanna know, you’ll have to book a tour yourself. Tanguy offers a whole lot of special tours on his website. Go check it out. Can’t wait and want a preview? Watch a little tour Tanguy did for the Flemish TV show ‘Fans of Flanders’ here. Typical Belgian weather included 😉

Here are some of my pictures for the Yelp Community Event:

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Antwerp · Food · Restaurants · Travel guide

Josephine’s Treasure Map to Antwerp (2)

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” It was Luciano Pavarotti who once said these words, and he is a wise man. For most of you it might not come as a big surprise, but I love food. I love it so much, I’ve dedicated more than one blog post to it. That’s why the second part of my Antwerp Treasure map is all about: food.

FROM BRUNCH TO DINNER AND BACK AGAIN – Lately I enjoy waking up early on a Saturday morning (i still have to get used to saying that, as my former hobby was sleeping in) and assembling friends and family to go for breakfast in one of the many coffee bars Antwerp has to offer. I remember when I moved to Antwerp about 10 years ago, there weren’t many nice and cosy (and free WiFi-ed) coffee bars as there are now. Or maybe I didn’t know they existed, since I was mostly busy with my other hobby back then (sleeping in, followed by my anti-hobby: running to class). Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but it seems to me that going for breakfast (or brunch) is becoming a bigger thing than going out all night.

On a Saturday morning it’s always nice to visit the open air market. Since shopping for food on an empty stomach might hurt your wallet (as my mom says), get some breakfast first at Perruche (1). This small restaurant offers a very good breakfast and an even better service. Sweet Laura, that girl knows the drill of running a place! Adding up to the feeling of being at home: her mom occasionally pops in (actually she popped in once and never left) to provide happy customers with toast, special sandwiches, provincial spreads, spaghetti, soup and cake. Fun fact: Perruche, which is the French word for parakeet, used to be a small store which sold – you guessed it – parakeets (and other tiny, noisy birds). If you are a bagel lover I recommend Barnini (2),which is also in the same area (maybe you can try both, who cares about the market, right?!). No parakeets here, only owls. By the way, they have great coffee (in every size and color, with m&m’s on top or a good splash of chocolate sauce). I know because owner Annick used to train me in how to make the perfect coffee.

(c) Sien Josephine(1) Perruche – Oude Vaartplaats 60 – 2000 Antwerp (pope-approved)(c) Sien Josephine(2) Barnini – Oude Vaartplaats 10 – 2000 Antwerp

Time for lunch! Probably the most well-known place in Antwerp to go for lunch is Lombardia (3). Everybody knows this place, including Sting, Moby and Steve-O! Yes, big artists have fallen in love with Alain Indria’s gluten-free veggie health food love-temple. The interior looks like a huge container filled with pictures, colors, a giant golden bull, more color, graffiti and plants. You always feel sunny California in here and you would almost expect some half naked surfer dude walking in, straight from the beach, board still under his arm (if he ever does, ladies: I saw him first!). I love this place. Alain’s mom, Odette, opened Lombardia in 1972. Back then it was only a health-food shop. The most famous product Alain is serving is without doubt the Ginger Love tea (supposedly Alain came up with Ginger Love at table nr 18 in the back – so for any creative inspiration i suggest you take your lunch at table 18). It’s so good even Starbucks wanted to buy the recipe and the Wall Street Journal tipped Alain’s Ginger Love tea as a must when visiting Antwerp. Other good stuff I think you should try: Beasty Boy sandwich, Hot Mexican Tuna, the Magic Mushroom and Moby’s own Moby Juice.

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(3) Lombardia – Lombardenvest 78 – 2000 Antwerp

Check out what Sting has to say about Lombardia:

For the real treasure hunters there is RA Kitchen (4). Located right in between antique shops, you will find this very cool restaurant (which in fact is part of a whole concept fashion store). The dining area alone is worth a visit: a mix between vintage tables, an informal living room lounge area, a mezzanine daybed and (on sunny days) a summer terrace. Ra Kitchen is all about fresh ingredients, a seasonal and eclectic menu, traditional flavours, unconventional methods and a touch of the past. As the Word magazine describes it, it’s a “quiet culinary universe of coolness”. Fun fact: every month, Ra Kitchen invites a special friend or talented individual for an event open to all! Take a look at their Facebook page to stay updated on upcoming events.

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(4) RA Kitchen – Kloosterstraat 13 – 2000 Antwerp

Other great places to get your food-groove on:

  • ULTIMATUM, Grote Markt 8: food, drinks and an occasional GREAT party
  • CHEZ FRED, Kloosterstraat 83: the best “stoofvlees met frietjes” in town
  • POTTEKIJKER, Kaasrui 5: for the romantic and nostalgic hearted people
  • FISKEBAR, Marnixplaats 12: it’s all Fish and all Scandinavian

Special thanks to

Alain Indria (just for being you), Steven Neuman (for countless breakfasts), Romain Brau (for inspiration) and Laura (for two eggs instead of one).

Next episode:

Dance the night away in Antwerp’s nightlife + SPECIAL SURPRISE FOR OUR READERS!

All pictures are under copyright protection

(c) Sien Josephine 2013

Antwerp · Travel guide

Josephine’s Treasure Map to Antwerp (1)

When you travel and you don’t really have a clue what to expect or where to go (or you only have a copy of just another typical travel guide), you can easily get stuck in tourist traps and mainstream shops. But all we really want is to get to know and experience a city like a local. That’s why i thought it was a good idea to share my Treasure Map: some of the shops and bars/restaurants in Antwerp i like to spend time at. Since there are a lot of these places and so little space to write about them in one article, I’ve decided to go all Peter Jackson on my script and turn it into a Travel Trilogy. This is the first part.

A SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN ANTWERPNo one ever started a successful treasure hunt on an empty stomach!” (I’m pretty sure some pirate somewhere must have said this a long time ago), so let’s start with brunch. I must admit I like to eat a lot of junk and take-away, but my Saturday/Sunday-brunch has to be healthy. That’s why I prefer going to De Biologisch-Dynamische Bakkerij (1). The menu offers organic and vegetarian (sorry meat-freaks) salads, burgers, granola, walnut cake, speculoos, homemade lasagna and everyday another fresh homemade soup. These are but a few things the Biologische Bakkerij has to offer. Want more? Take home one the many sorts of bread (made of sunflower seeds, Tibetan barley, whole-wheat bread, …) or one of the many varieties of artisan cakes.

(c) Sien Josephine(1) De Biologisch Dynamische Bakkerij – Volkstraat 17 – 2000 Antwerp

Onward to the shopping streets, even though winter sales are still on display. When I was in University i used to work in a store for years; I must have created an aversion for anything that has to do with the word “Sale”. Still, there are some boutiques in Antwerp that don’t attract sales-crazy people and in which I can look around and try on things without putting my life in danger. At Fresh15 (2) for example, you can find the beautiful brands of Sessun, IRO, Humanoid and on some Saturdays you can also find the beautiful Merrymaker Ruth van Soom in this store. (By the way Fresh15 has another store Fresh34 which you can find across the street from De Biologisch Dynamische Bakkerij.) Another store I like a lot is Step by Step (3). The window filled with barbie-dolls is a real attention grabber, even more so is the range of brands they sell here: Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, Band of Outsiders, Current Eliott, Joseph and (yes thank you Lord) my personal favorite: GGDB sneakers (Golden Goose Deluxe Brand). If you’re looking for something more different, exclusive and most of all graphic, you really should consider visiting concept store The Public Image (4 & 5). Get Glam Rock and Roll on a Skateboard (I can’t find a better way to describe the collection): Your Eyes Lie, Kid Vanilla, MinkPink, Staff By Maff, Actual Pain, Andrea Crews, Pantheone, Blood is the New Black, Jeffrey Campbell shoes and jewelry by Melody Ehsani (to name a few), TPI introduces brands as if it was presenting breakfast. Yes, TPI owner Nele Moens is on a (rock ‘n) roll (or as they say in Antwerp: ‘goe bezig’).

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(2) Fresh15 – Lombardenvest 15 – 2000 Antwerp

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TPI2(4 & 5) The Public Image – Wijngaardstraat 16 – 2000 Antwerp

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Legs all tired from shopping? Need some caffeine? Wanna listen to some records while enjoying your coffee? Go to Coffee & Vinyl (6). What’s in a name? Owner Lars Cosemans, never shy for a joke, moved his old record-store (called Vinyl) and added a little coffee bar, so people could sit down, relax and listen to their favorite records. It doesn’t stop there though: the bar is also a gallery. Now on display is art by Frederik Schnieders. Free WiFi, great coffee, cool art and good music. What else?

(c) Sien Josephine(6) Coffee & Vinyl – Volkstraat 45 – 2000 Antwerp

For something decorative or something to read i recommend two places! (Studio) Helder (7) offers the most original and practical design. The shop oozes creativity. That’s probably because the team behind this store (an accessories designer and an interior architect who both worked with renowned fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester) use their talent as a platform for presenting their own creations. You can buy a Crying Candle here, which cries tears as the wax burns, or Y-shaped tabletops as a multi-employable base for a coffee table, cabinet legs or even a book shelf. There’s so much to explore in this shop, it’s like a little adventure. If you want to feed your intellectuality some more go to ‘t Stad Leest (8). It’s a huge bookstore which offers you a look inside the favorite books from the owners themselves! Nice personal touch. And open on a Sunday.

helder(7) Studio Helder – Vrijdagmarkt 13 – 2000 Antwerptstad leest(8) t Stad Leest – Steenhouwersvest 16 – 2000 Antwerp

Upcoming things to do in Antwerp:

  • January 22nd – January 27th: FOMU BOOKSALE – the Antwerp Museum of Photography is selling it’s stock for ridiculous prices (Waalsekaai 47 – 2000 Antwerp).
  • January 24th: N8N PRESENTS THE RUS NERWICH QUARTET at (the bar/restaurant with the most beautiful name) Josephine’s – this is one live show you don’t want to miss. They’ll bring their new live show ‘The Wondering Who’, followed with an aftershow DJ set by N8N remixed. Reserve your tables now or just join in for good music and drinks (Gentplaats 1 – 2000 Antwerp).
  • January 26th: DOUBLE TROUBLE X GUS & SENSE X MAGIC at Magic Club – dance the night away on the best dance-classics, brought to you by Gus & Sense (Desguinlei 94 – 2018 Antwerp).

Special thanks to

Ruth Van Soom (just for being you), Brecht Baert (for coffee in golden cups), Nele Moens (also for coffee but most of all for being an inspiration), Lars Cosemans (great apple-pie) and Bart Deweer (for holding his pose while choking on a cookie).

Next episode:

about Food & Drinks. A BYOB-free invitation to Antwerp’s bars and restaurants.

All pictures are under copyright protection

(c) Sien Josephine 2013

General · Tel Aviv

When Antwerp meets Tel Aviv…

… it’s love at first sight. I arrived in Tel Aviv late last Sunday night. After waiting for an hour at the passport control area, I finally taxied my way to Rothschild Blvd, home of Marilyn. Our other friend Marie France arrived earlier that day from Brussels. I walked in, heavily packed (apparently very light for Marilyn’s standards).  Although you would think that with 3 girls and only 2 bathrooms it would take us ages to get ready, we’re actually doing quite a good job. We have breakfast every morning at Delicatessen (you can read all about Delicatessen in Marilyn’s blog post here). After breakfast we visit all the places this city has to offer us: Yaffo, the beach, the neighborhoods, … It’s refreshing how friendly people are over here! Maybe it has something to do with the sunlight, or maybe it’s just a cultural thing. Whatever it is, it’s a nice break from greyish gloomy wintery Belgium. After one day I already feel like I want to stay here forever. It’s difficult to explain the effect this city has on me. It’s historical and modern at the same time, you can really feel the international vibe but the atmosphere is not stressful or fast paced. I feel free and safe here. You see Israeli Arabs living in the same neighborhood as Israeli Jews, having their morning coffee together. Israeli people are nothing like the world describes them to be. Most of all they give me a warm feeling and every morning I go outside with a smile on my face, meeting new people whom I’m sure I will carry in my heart for a very long time.

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