Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Belgium's Biggest New Year's Reception
Every year in January, the city of Antwerp invites its citizens – and any tourists that happen to pass by – to a giant, public New Year's celebration on the main market square. When we still lived in our appartment in the city centre, literally a stone's throw away, we never missed it. There are free drinks for everyone – hot chocolate, soup or glühwein (hot wine) – and everyone gets a small present. And there were even free fries for everyone (with ketchup or mayonaise)! At least if you were willing to stand in line for half an hour. We queued up twice.
If you look around a bit, you have the chance to rub shoulders with the mayor and other local celebrities. But the nice thing is that the atmosphere is so nice that you just start talking to anyone and get to meet people you'd otherwise never talk to.
For the little ones, there was an antique merry-go-round, with swings and beautiful wooden swans. I took Wolf for a round on my lap. I had the impression that he didn't quite know what to make of the experience. I did, because it was freezing cold and I was glad when the thing finally stopped. But it was also fun to wave to mummy every time we wizzed by, while she was eating her giant pink 'Barbapappa' (sugar spin).
We didn't stay too long, because it was still very cold despite the hot food and drinks, but again it was very nice. We missed last year, because Wolf was still too small, but I hope we can make it back next year.