Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bike and Barge: Day 3.

7/28 St. Amands to Antwerp, Belgium. 41km.

We started out in a cold, wet rain this morning. Our route took us along side the mighty Scheldt River and through a nature reserve. We were wet most of the morning, but happy, and I wouldn't consider it much of a bicycle tour if I didn't get wet at least once during the trip. 

The really cool thing about today was how we rode into the amazing and beautiful port city of Antwerp. To cross from the new city into the old, we all put our bicycles into a huge elevator and rode it down 31 meters underground to the St. Anna bicycle and pedestrian tunnel. Then we mounted our bikes and rode the 572 meters through the white tile tunnel and crossed under the Scheldt and, once again, took an elevator to the top. Pretty cool stuff!

As I said before, Antwerp is amazing and beautiful. The rain had let up before we arrived and we walked around the city center, looking at all the 16th century guild houses surrounding the giant sculpture of  Brabo and the giant's hand that dominated the center square. We spent a good hour or more in the Cathedral of Our Lady, studying the fine artwork by Rubens and other famous Antwerp artists. 

Piet led us back to the boat, through the red light district, where The Sailing Home was moored in the harbor. Markus fed us a delicious supper of lasagna and artichokes and finished it with a desert of tiramisu.

After supper, we headed back to the city center for more sight seeing.

We rode in cold rain in the morning.

Wet, but happy.

The woman at the Scheldt in Rupelmonde, Belgium. 

A nice little residence.

Antwerp street scene.

A painting by Rubens in the magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium.

Hanging in Antwerp.

Guild houses in Antwerp, Belgium.

Brabo Fountain in Antwerp

Beautiful Antwerp.