We’re Not in Kansas Anymore


When I was in Antwerp last February, it was hovering around freezing point and my hands were shaking every time I took them out of my gloves to take a picture. I’d blogged about viewing the museums and main sights then, so this time it’s just about hanging out in one of my favorite cities on a very helter skelter day weatherwise. The day starts out chilly yet sunny, then rainy, then hot and cloudy, then clear and breezy, all in the span of some 6 hours. I put on and remove my jacket so many times I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

The picture above is taken outside out Antwerp’s Gare Centrale.  To the immediate right of the train station’s front entrance is the main gate to the zoo which I introduced you to yesterday. You can barely see that winged copper statute in both the picture above and below:


That large red carousel you see in front of the train station is a really cool merry-go-around called the Manège Carré Sénart, created by François Delarozière.


The moving parts (the seats) on the ride are all custom built in magical shapes of insects, buffalos, and fish…


The more I look, the more charming the ride becomes. It’s a lot like looking up at stars in a night sky; the longer you look the more you see.  It’s theatrical and whimsical…stuff of childhood fantasies re-interpreted by adult minds and hands. This installation has traveled through Europe and will be in Antwerp through the end of August.  If you are not lucky enough to see it in person, check out the fabulous website for Manège Carré.


Because the zoo runs along the side of this magnificent train station–in my opinion it’s one of the most brilliantly designed stations in the whole world–I am able to capture pictures like these:


And just when, after viewing a few animal exhibits, I start to tell myself that I could be standing in the middle of any zoo anywhere in the US, I look up to see this view beyond the picnic area and am reminded of Dorothy’s wide-eyed comment to Toto: We’re not in Kansas anymore:


And also, appropriately enough, lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!

By the way, I’d be remiss to not mention the baby elephant that’s been all the rage at the zoo:


She was born on May 17 in captivity after a 22-months gestation period…and here you thought 9 months were bad!  This picture reminds me of how all first-time mothers look to me when you go near their newborns:


Tomorrow we observe the 2-legged wildlife in Antwerp.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *