so… yeah. i think i found a place to live in belgium.
i spent most of my wednesday in antwerp getting shown around different areas by housing agencies. i decided that (after dealing with that crazy lady) using an agency probably was:
a) easier and
b) more processed and organized.
both good since getting a place in such a short time, working with people overseas, etc. will require a lot of extra work and i want someone with experience.
the first agency showed me places in berchem. i grew really attached to one place almost immediately. first of all, it was HUGE. it had three bedrooms. it looked well kept. no parking, but parking at a grocery store which was fairly close by. it was close to the train station and a tram line ran almost right outside. i had three other places to look at in that area, but i was almost sold on that one.
…almost. until the taxi ride home where the taxi driver asked me why a young, single, beautiful (yeah, i didn’t have to throw the last one in there, but it made me feel good) woman would want to live in berchem? he said that the youngest man at the bar next to me would be a 70 year old. in talking with people from the area i found that berchem was really a sleepy, nice, suburb of antwerp. but if i wanted to go out… if i wanted to meet people… if i wanted to live my belgian life to the fullest… i needed to live in the south of antwerp.
so when i got back to my hotel i scheduled two more visits with a different agency. one of the places was in the city center area and one was in the south. i hopped in a taxi and made my way to the first.
first off, the agency lady was awesome. she was young, maybe late 20s or early 30s and i knew we would hit it off right away because she had a nose ring and she was wearing chucks. she didn’t have a car so we took public transportation to get to the places. she gave me some good tips and pros and cons of the areas as well.
the city center apartments were pretty awesome. the one i was looking at was very modern, very chic. very expensive. over $1500 for a 840 sq ft apartment (733 euro rent + 99 euro common costs + 70 euro provision for water, heating, electricity + 110 euro for the parking). and you definitely need a parking spot if you are living in the city center. the bedrooms were kind of small, but the bathroom was nice because it had a small standing shower and also a bathtub (which I didn’t need, but whatever). the kitchen kind of blended to the living room, and didn’t have a microwave. it had a dishwasher, but it was basically there by accident and if it broke it wouldn’t be replaced. but it had a nice view, it was in a good area of town, and it was connected directly to the train station and a lot of businesses, shopping places, etc.
but ultimately, i wanted to see the place in the south. admittedly, i wanted to see it because everyone had talked up the area so much… but also because it scared me not to because EVERYONE talked it up so much. and not just the “hip and trendy” people who lived in the south– the taxi drivers, my co-workers, random belgians i met *cough*tindered*cough* all agreed that the south was the best place to live, if you had the choice.
so eveline (the agency lady) and i took the tram, then we walked in the rain, then we cut across parking lots, and finally we arrived to a cute little street on the south side near a sort-of dead end road (apparently ideal for guest parking), across from a well-known “brown pub.” (by the way, i wasn’t sure what those were but everyone said it… apparently they are not dressy pubs. maybe a bit like a dive? i will have to test and see.)
before we went in to the actual apartment, she showed me the garage that i could rent for 100euro. i mean… it was literally a full garage. it already housed 3 other cars, and each had ample amount of room. driving/parking/getting around antwerp is a bit crazy, so i liked the idea of having a covered, enclosed space for my car. that was a big plus.
then we went into the 970 sq ft apartment. i will include photos (most photos taken from the Quares listing).
so you walk in and you can either go straight, into the living room area, or take a left to the bedrooms/bathrooms. let’s go straight.
okay, yeah i hate the floor paneling too. anyway…
from the living room you can get to the kitchen. also, if you look in the last photo above, you can see a combination microwave/oven? i’ve never heard of it, but apparently they are pretty common.
here’s the kitchen. it has a small (as in, ridiculously small, probably will get another) fridge, a small dishwasher, and an old kitchen sink and stove top. again, it’s not the most awesome kitchen in the world… but let’s be real. i’m not the most awesome cook either.
okay, so that part of the adventure book ends. let’s go back to page 1 where we enter the apartment. only this time, we are going to take a left.
first off, in that little hallway there are a few closets with a nice amount of storage space. there is also a toilet that is separate from the bathroom, one thing that i cannot seem to get used to, although it is very common over here.
after the closets there is the actual bathroom, which has a sink and a bathtub with a shower head and some weird partition thing. i actually would rather have a shower curtain and eveline thought that would be an easy fix for the owner since they usually cost less than the partition anyway.
then the two bedrooms. the smaller (guest) bedroom/my office is on the left hand side. then the bigger bedroom, with the door to small balcony, is on the right.
the smaller bedroom/office
from the bedroom there is just a really, REALLY small balcony. probably just enough to fit two chairs or so. but ideal for spying on people. 😉
so… yeah. that’s the grand ol’ tour! stop on by anytime. afterall, i have a guest bed for you.