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Report 1004: Cycling in Belgium and The Netherlands

By Linda Hagstrom from PA, Fall 2005

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Page 3 of 7: Antwerp to Willemstad

photo by Linda Hagstrom

At the lock

We started the day in Antwerp by cycling to the Palm Brewery, where we had a special tour with a guide. After viewing the brewery operations, we were treated to a beer tasting where we learned a lot about beer. There are almost 100 independent breweries in Belgium, so it is the place to go for beer!

We cycled back to the boat, an exciting journey with the Monday traffic, and the boat began the journey to Willemstadt. I believe this is the only time we did not cycle.

After we exited the Antwerp harbor, we had to wait at the border between Belgium and The Netherlands for the locks to be available. These were giant locks, and we waited two hours or so to go through. We were packed in with other boats, giant and small, waiting to go through the locks.

After the locks, we were in The Netherlands and on our way to Willemstad. I noticed many modern-looking windmills on the water. Later, we saw many historic windmills, which I believe aren't used anymore, but are kept as part of the cultural patrimony. Many are now used as houses, though.

Willemstad turned out to be the most delightful Dutch town with darling houses, beautiful landscaping and historic buildings. After our nightly town tour, we stopped at a bar, and - surprise - Jan's parents arrived to see him. They lived nearby, and were on their way to Australia the next day, so they had arranged to meet him here. It was great to meet them. By now we all liked Jan a lot, so it was fun to meet his family.

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