Travels

Triple A – Atomium, ADAM, Antwerp, almost.

Monday 23 July. I had pre-booked my ticket for Atomium so skipped the long queue. Now, as they say, here’s the thing. I consider myself a well read, worldly guy, reasonably well travelled and with an interest in world culture, but, until a few months ago when I saw it in a background shot of the Belgian detective series Salamander, I was ignorant of Atomium.

Now, whilst it is only sixty years old, it is not unreasonable to compare it to the Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, and who hasn’t grown up with knowledge of the Eiffel Tower in their psyche. So why has Atomium, built for the world expo in 1958, not registered, or is it just me? I suspect not, given the number of people who’ve asked, “What’s that?”

I digress. It was every bit as good as I hoped and a must see as far as I’m concerned.

Nearby is the ADAM, a museum of modern design and included in the Atomium ticket.

The fifties were so optimistic in their hopes for the future, a lot of iconic, space age, design, colourful and fun.

Left Brussels and pitched up in the small town of Bazel, half an hour’s cycle from Antwerp. I intended to use it as a base to visit the city but it is so f’in hot.

Bazel is a lovely small town, you could cover it with a hand towel, yet, like every town I’ve dropped into, it has a beautiful park, quirky art, and it even has its own moated castle, which I’m sitting across from as I write this.

After the revolution that follows the hard Brexit, and if Rees-Mogg wins and becomes queen and exiles pro-Europe supporters to the continent, I hope Belgium would offer me and my family asylum. Every day offers more to admire about the country and its people.

P.S. On the way back to the van I followed an interesting path sthat, it turned out, led up a dike.

The area had been flooded in the seventies, if I understood the text correctly, and so the dike was built, along with some artwork. Cycle paths run either side of it, along the top, and away into the woods. Might be worth exploring tomorrow as, given the heat, cycling into Antwerp is losing its appeal. I’ll see if I can drive in a park somewhere on Wednesday.

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