In some of the streets and squares of Antwerp I have spotted what I thought were brass cockle shells fixed to the cobbles.
A colleague explained what they meant and I have since found out more about them. The scallop shell is the emblem of Compostela pilgrims. Scallop shells on the ground guide them on the various routes that take them to the Way of St James, which leads to Compostela in Spain where the remains of apostle Saint James are supposedly buried.
Pilgrims whose route to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela takes them through Antwerp can visit the main sights in this city by following the Scallop Shell Trail, which runs from Saint Jacob’s Church to Saint Julian’s Inn (Sint-Julianusherberg) where they can find overnight accommodation.
The University of Antwerp, where I have been taking part in a summer school is scattered over a number of buildings, new and old, in the narrow cobbled streets near the centre of Antwerp. It just so happens that the building where most of the classes were held is directly opposite Saint Jacob’s Church.
In my next blog post I will reveal another footpath trail in Antwerp.