Saturday, 31 May 2014

Bike and Barge Day 4 - Tholen to Antwerp

So last evening Garrie went with the others into Tholen and took a couple of pictures of the dock area. You can see Fiep in about the middle right of the second photo.
He also found an interesting back street.
And a very old church, he took the church and the sign.
We've had beautiful weather. This morning dawned grey but dry.  Just 35km today through forest "the Wouwse Plantage". Just beautiful with excellent bike paths.
We came upon two Commonwealth War Grave sites.
At the bed of a dam we rejoin the Fiep and cruise towards the centre of Antwerp. There are wind farms everywhere.
We crossed into Belgium about 12noon. Funnily enough the weather was pretty much the same as it was in The Netherlands.  We are riding without helmets which I wanted to try but am amazed how comfortable I am with just a cap in. At one point today we did get up some speed and it was the first time I thought about it.  Riding on the right hand side seems fine but going around roundabouts is very weird.

Today lunch is on board as we cruise towards Antwerp or Antwerpen as it's known locally.  We pass through the port area and are dwarfed by container ships.
Once we dock our guide, Arie, walks us into town, starting with the red light district which is very like Amsterdam with girls in windows in underwear, amazingly everyone is still with when we reach St Paul's Church. It's amazing.
Antwerp is the birthplace of Reuben's and there are several examples of his work in the church.
Arie also took us to a medieval street which has been saved by a benefactor.   You can see Bonnie and Dan here with Garrie.
Flowers are also a feature in Antwerp.
So Arie left us to our own devices in the town square. This is the town hall.
This statue has a story. Apparently a young man splayed a giant who was menacing the port. The man cut off the giant's hand and threw it in the river and this led to the naming of Antwerp - which means "hand thrown in river".
After walking around a taking a few shots it was time for afternoon tea with Bonnie and Dan
They took a photo of us.
Yes we were being bad again. Belgian waffle with chocolate and I also had a hot chocolate.
We think Dan was worse with his banana split.
The Cathedral of our Lady, is the main cathedral in the city and has a tower that is 123m tall.
The market square is surrounded by beautiful houses from the city's rich past.
We also went to one of the newest buildings and headed to the top for a view if the city.  The Museum Aan de stroom.
You can see our barge on the left hand side the right one of two.
This shows the Cathedral of our Lady at the back and Stat Paul's at the front.
This is a building on the river.
So afterwards we found a restaurant and had dinner. Traditional Begian food. A Flemish beef stew for Garrie and a meatball in tomato sauce with cooked celery for me. Getting tired by then and didn't take photos.  Think I may have to have a day off from cycling tomorrow to help get rid of this lurgy. Until I can next get connected. Xx