After what one could barely called a decent nap, I woke up. I have to mention I don’t sleep much, but I’m also not as resilient as I was in my early twenties. Each time it gets progressively harder and takes progressively longer to spring back from the previous drunken night.
I went downstairs and jotted down the finishing touches to my Antwerpenian bucket list. I walked to the corner store, bought a classic backpacker’s breakfast (a pastry from the local offerings, a juice, and a bottle of water), and started walking to my destinations.
It was an eventful day. First accidental stop: Dries Van Noten, where I left my first few hundred euros and came out with an overpriced canvas and leather tote. Off I went to find a tattoo shop. The one on my list didn’t have time, but they instructed me to go around the corner to this other shop. The new shop told me to come back in two hours. I headed to MoMu (mode museum). They had a wonderful exhibition on the history of knits. At first I wasn’t as excited about it, but they did a superb job, and it turned out significantly better than I’d expected. My love for Antwerp grew.
Having 20 minutes to spare before my tattoo appointment, I went next door to a clothing store. I saw a few potential purchases, but this shopaholic is getting wiser, so I left with the intention to come back if the items were still on my mind after the tattoo. They were. Fail.
I got my tattoo. It was not executed to my steep expectations (as I assume anything permanent on your body should be), but also, I’ve learned to appreciate the slight nuances that come with getting a similar tattoo done repeatedly by different tattoo artist all over the world. Like most of my others, I’ve grown to love it.
I left the shop, shopped a bit more, and tried to find a famously good fish restaurant that, unbeknownst to me, had closed a year and a half ago. I walked back to my hostel hoping they could host me for the last night. They were completely booked. Being really exhausted and craving a place of my own where I could shit, shave, shower, sleep comfortably, and walk around with my damn balls hanging if I pleased to, I forked 150 USD for a night at a Radisson across Stadspark. Best. Fucking. Money. Spent. In. Antwerp.
I left the hostel and went to my haven. I bought a bottle of J&B and a coke, showered, grindrd, made plans to meet random strangers at random bars, made a road soda, headed out. The bar was nowhere to be found. The club sucked. My night was a fail.
The next morning, I went to MuKHA, the museum of modern art. Antwerp, I love you even more. I walked back to my hotel, picked up my bag, and stumbled to centra station. I say stumble because my bag was really heavy which hindered my walking. Off to Amsterdam I went.
Finding my way in Amsterdam was an easy task. I checked in at the hostel, and ‘climbed’ the steep stairs up to my room. No lockers again! note to self: leave iPads and Rick Owens at home next time. My roommates were friendly. I immediately started talking to a girl from Chicago and a Finnish man. “Chicago” and I went for dinner at a tapas place next door. She seemed hypnotised by my persona (which is always nice), and kept asking me about my life. It was entertaining.
Eighty euros later, we went back to the room and coerced “Finland” to join us for a beer. Grindr hadn’t proved to be too helpful this time, so we walked to a touristy spot around the corner. I drank whiskey, they drank beer. We left. They went home, I ventured to a nearby gay bar. Nothing special to report. I did, however, meet a lovely expat lesbian from New York with whom I conversed the whole night. The bar closed. I went home. I grindr’d, facebook’d, and lonely planet’d till I passed out.