2015 European waterway cruise – Belgium – Antwerp

Antwerp – Town Hall

At the end of the last post we’d just crossed the border into Belgium at the Port of Antwerp.

My first impressions of Belgium were somewhat marred by continuing communication problems

I tried to contact the port as required using the VHF to announce our arrival, to no avail.

Steen – Castle at Antwerp on the River Schelde

I also tried without success to radio ahead as required to Siberiabrug and Londonbrug to arrange opening times and access to the marina at Willemdok.

Eventually I did all this by mobile phone.
(Fortunately my UK T-Mobile
phone works here).

While in Antwerp I did some checking and found the VHF antenna cable was old and perished. I located a marine shop, bought a new aerial and cable and fitted it, but it still has not solved the problem which appears to be to do with Duplex Channels.

Willemdok Harbour Master in a speedboat

Antwerp is a huge port, covering some 13000 Hectares.

It took us about 2 hours to travel along about 16 kilometres of docks, quays and berths till we arrived at Willemdok, one of several marinas in Antwerp.

A couple of other boats arrived at the same time and we were met just outside Londonbrug by the harbour master in an inflatable speed-boat who directed us to the berth he allocated.

A somewhat novel way but effective.

Floating swimming pool

Another rather unusual sight – a floating swimming pool moored in the harbour just outside the marina!

It was a very good marina even though slightly more expensive – Euro 23 per night including electricity, water, showers and wifi.

And the wifi did work, provided you were
close to the harbour master office and ablution block.

Willemdok – Shangri La somewhere in the middle

Antwerp, our first Belgian town, felt a bit strange at first.

We had become used to our Afrikaans being sort of understood in Netherlands, but this was not the case here.

But after walking around the town the first day, it rather grew on us and we eventually stayed 4 days.

Antwerp – Cathedral of our Lady

Rather like the Dutch towns there were loads of beautiful old buildings, though the trains and trams appeared old and even a bit run down.

The Centraal Station however had been revamped and upgrade and was most impressive with a new fancy cafe/restaurant.

Belgian beer shop

Belgium doesn’t seem to be noted for many things, except for beers, chocolates and the artist Reubens.

There is a museum devoted entirely to Reubens, and a statue or two of him
around the city.

But the beers are definitely the most noteworthy.

Belgian beer with glass

There are nearly 400 different beers produced here, and each one has its own glass

We managed to sample several of them, including some with rather a high alcohol content (11.3%)!

Port of Antwerp building

Overlooking the marina is the very impressive ‘Port of Antwerp’ building – a 10 story tower.

It houses the MAS museum which tells the storey of Antwerp in the war years.

There is a fee to go into the main museum, but one can freely take the escalators up the 10 levels to the top from where one has a panoramic view of Antwerp and the River Schelde.

The way up is lined with wall sized photographs depicting Antwerp during the war.

View from the top of Port of Antwerp

As usual we visited the VVV (Tourist info) and bought the self-guided walking tour booklet and wandered around all the sights.

People seem rather keen on decorating the buildings with small statues of the Madonna and child, and the town is well supplied with bronze statues.

View across the River Schelde

We happened to be there at the time of the Gay Pride Festival which included a parade by the Gay Classic Car Club.

Being (or attemting to be) vegan, we were somewhat disappointed in that there were no vegan restaurants to be found, and as usual we ate on board every day.

Classic Car Parade

Statue of Reubens

Next – brief sojourn to Ghent, and on towards Liege via inland canals.

One of many Madonna and Child

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This