Well Antwerp should be on everyone’s bucket list. This town, with a population of only 500,00 is vibrant , multicultural with a fabulous history. Old monuments are being renovated, the riverside is being developed, it’s really a town going all out to attract the tourist dollar.
We left Temse with the ebbing tide and were in the port of Antwerp in about 1 1/2 hours. To enter the port you must have an FD number, which Peter applied for a few days before our arrival. The cruising guide advised to radio the port on entry with the number, however you only have to do this if you are entering from the sea. But you do need to radio through the number to enter the lock. To get into the haven there are 2 bridges after the lock. We were really playing with the big boys now, with lots of commercial traffic.
This is a video of 2 commercial barges crossing in front of us before we got to the first bridge.
Margaret and I were busy keeping our eyes looking out for traffic, but we couldn’t get the bridge opened until we came across the traffic and closer!
We were welcomed at Willemdoc with power, water and internet. Within a 10 minute walk to the old town and 5 minutes to a great supermarket we enjoyed our 4 nights and 3 days.
A visit to the cathedral to light candles and view the Rubens
Well we really did Antwerp, with a 2 hour Segway tour including a ride through the 3 streets of the red light district, a visit to the Rubens house, the Brugel museum and diamond museum. Margaret and I hired bikes, and spent 4 hours riding through the different ethic areas of the city, from the wealthy area with the magnificent houses, to the Jewish quarter, Chinatown, and then Tibetian and Mongolian festivals.
So to summarise Antwerp a great city to visit, a challenging habour, so be prepared.
Next trip was to Brussels. We exited the marina as advised by the haven master, at 12.45pm. Back up the Shelde, this time against tide. We were in a convoy so navigation was a breeze. We turned left onto the Zeekanal. Next was 2 very big locks plus a number of lifting bridges, that had us arriving at the Royal Brussels Yacht Club about 7.30pm. The journey on the canal was seemless. Even though we radioed each bridge as we approached, we were advised each time that yes they were busy opening the bridge for us. What great service!
Margaret leaves us on Friday so we plan to stay in Brussels for the week before travelling up (and I say up as there are a number of locks and an incline plane) to Charleroi.