Blogs from Antwerp Province, Belgium, Europe

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Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp September 20th 2019

We departed Leuven for the city of Antwerp (Antwerpen in Flemish or Anvers in French). Situated near the Dutch border, Antwerp is known for diamonds. We had booked in for a free walking tour the next day, so after checking in we walked downtown towards the Grote Markt to acquaint ourselves with the area and also have something to eat and drink! Belgium is famous for their beers, which is what the world outside Belgium would call craft beers. Belgium has over 200 active breweries and several different categories of beer such as red Flemish ales, lambic (sour), wit (white), ambers and trappist to name a few! After some lunch and beers we wandered around town and then I went for a quick bout of shopping before dinner. We saw a Greek restaurant on our walk ... read more
Grote Markt
Greek dinner!
St Anna's pedestrian tunnel

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp September 6th 2019

I left the Netherlands today and took the train into Belgium. My first stop was Antwerp and the first sight I saw was the central train station. It is truly magnificent. They have kept the grandeur of the old-style station while injecting modern improvements underneath the cast-iron arches. Antwerp is famous for being the home of Peter Paul Rubens and I visited his house and studio. I have never been a particular fan of his work, but I came away with a better appreciation of him after this visit. The other city I visited today is Ghent. It’s chief claim to fame is the Ghent Altarpiece in Saint Bavo Cathedral. This was painted by Jan van Eyck in the 1400s and is famous in art appreciation circles, apparently. I have to say that it is very ... read more
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Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp August 18th 2019

We feel great today - August 8th - Mimma (saved us again) was able to get us an extension on our car for another 7 days. To top it off we were able to drive to the Lille, France train station (car pick up and drop off site) on our way to Antwerp, Belgium and sign up the paperwork. We have a smooth ride (total about 230 km) into Antwerp today - M indicates that we are 600 m / 1 minute away from our hotel - we are looking forward to a 5 day stay in the city centre at a nice Hilton hotel. We will celebrate our 44th tonight and Danielle’s birthday on the 10th ( not allowed to tell you how old) in this beautiful city - we high five - smoothest travel ... read more
Fort Breendonk
Fort Breendonk entrance
Dan, Emma, Me and Danielle

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp August 7th 2019

After landing on Juno Beach June 6, 1944 the Canadian troops pushed up through to liberate Caen. In mid August they pushed on to Falaise and then pushed on and over the Seine River via Foret de la Londe and Rouen from the west. Fierce fighting was encountered. By the middle of June over 330,000 men and 45,000 vehicles had landed. To secure supply routes much needed to keep the troops and vehicles moving the British and Canadian troops were assigned the tasks of capturing major forts along the English Channel. The German forces knew this and fiercely defended these ports. In September the Canadian troops liberated Le Havre and Dieppe in France as well as the super port - Antwerp In Belgium. Antwerp was the largest deep-water port close to Germany and was connected to ... read more
Private Kelley
Why can’t I do this
Dieppe memorial museum

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp August 7th 2019

Danielle and I wake up early - as we always do on “moving day”. We have another great breakfast - I’ll never get tired of making myself perfectly boiled eggs in the Roller Grill Egg Boiler - holds up to 10 individual egg baskets - with individual egg timers (6 & 1/2 minutes makes the perfect soft boiled egg) and an egg shell cutter (scorer) for easy access. We pack, load up magpie and program “M” for Calais. The drive is beautiful up along the coastline with both stunning views of the English Channel to the east and rolling golden farmers’ fields to the west. Calais itself is anything but stunning. It overlooks the Straight of Dover - the narrowest point on the English Channel. It is a major port with endless ferries crossing back and ... read more
1940 Operation Dynamo
Soldier on a bike
Self explanatory

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp July 26th 2019

After a night spent alternately listening to thunder and hoiking a sleeping boy back into his holiday bed from the floor (until I realised that the reason he kept rolling out wasn't that he couldn't deal with the bed but that the duvet I'd put next to the bed as protection had got under the bed and effectively turned it into a ski slope) it was an early morning to get up and into the beach. This confused the b and b owner who came running after us as we left, presumably worried his keys would be taken by the crazy English folk. On the way to the beach, it dawned on me that I'd forgotten the bucket and spade bought especially for today from yesterday's trip to the supermarket. Rather than keep this in my ... read more

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Borsbeek April 21st 2019

I've fallen well behind. The day before yesterday we were in Antwerp, famous for, among other things, being the birthplace of Peter Paul Rubens, one of the great artists of Holland's Golden Age (16th-17th centuries). The formal tour that morning included a visit to the cathedral, to Rubens’ house and collection, and some other historical sites. We decided to forgo the formal tour and explore on our own. Every place, every museum, was within walking distance, except for one, a private gallery of a collector named Axel Vervoodt. Vervoodt is an international art dealer, a collector of antiques and contemporary art, an interior designer, and real estate developer who’s latest project is the development of a cultural and residential complex at the site of an old distillery just outside of town. We planned to save that ... read more
Portrait of Rubens' Wife, Helena Fourment
Beauty.
And Another

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp April 19th 2019

People I’ve been wanting to write about this since the first night. Who goes on these cruises? At the start it’s important to know that my experience and sampling is not even statistically significant; one National Geographic cruise and one river cruise, half over. But, actually I do have slightly more data. At every port there are several ships, all basically the same; 110-135 meters long and 3.5 meters wide. This is as big as they can be to navigate the curves and the bridges in the canals in Benelux. Often, like today, another ship is rafted up to ours (or we are rafted up to them) and the passengers pass over or through the other ship on the way to theirs. So we see the Viking, the Ama, the Seabourne and others close up. We ... read more
Sunset

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province October 6th 2018

Om 7u ging de wekker. De laatste ochtend. Het was een geweldige reis, maar natuurlijk is thuiskomen ook altijd fijn. Ik keek er oprecht heel erg naar uit om Karen terug te zien, dus ik was als eerste klaar met het opruimen van mijn gerief. Kathleen ging naar de bakker terwijl wij voor de laatste keer onze tent opbergen en een snel kattenwasje gaan doen. Toen we vertrokken, zagen we nog maar eens een prachtig beeld over het woud vanop een berg. Overal waar je kon zien, waren bomen. Kilometers ver met hier en daar een dorpje bijna letterlijk in het bos. Onwaarschijnlijk eigenlijk. Ik zocht op waar de naam vandaan kwam (toch nog een beetje cultuur) en die stamde al af vanuit de jaren 800. Ze noemden het dan al ‘Silva Nigra’ (het Zwarte Woud) ... read more

Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp April 11th 2018

The ship arrived in Antwerp (Belgium) quite early this morning. Again, we docked next to another ship, and there were three docked in front of us (must be a popular place). Antwerp is close to the ocean, so the river is tidal, and we have been warned that if we return to the ship, and can't see it, the ship hasn't gone anywhere, but the tide is out, and the ship is below the level of the dock! Yet another walking tour this morning, of Antwerp, but we took the "late starters" option (missed the inside of the cathedral). Had a great guide, with a fabulous sense of humour (makes all the difference), and a very interesting tour. Again, European history is so complicated, and most of it happened before Australia even existed. But Antwerp was ... read more
Antwerp Castle
Town Square
Town hall (which will apparently be completely covered in scaffolding by tomorrow)




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