TUESDAY - Antwerp
If it is Tuesday, then it must be Antwerp, the second largest port in Europe! When we wake up, we find we are already tied up at some old, commercial wharves that were built during the reign of Victoria, but are not far from the historic center of the city.
After breakfast, we meet our guide for our walking tour and set off down the main drag along the river Scheldt. There is some sort of workers strike going on and we watch a parade of sign carriers go past before checking out the Steen (Antwerp) Castle,
crossing the boulevard and heading up toward the old center of the city first walking through the old medieval part
and into the main square or Grote Markt with the large Brabo Fountain and the massive looking gray stone City Hall.
From there we stroll through some of the narrow alleyways
and come to a large square behind the Antwerp Cathedral, a World heritage Site. Once again our feet are hurting so we park on a park bench and tell the tour leader we will make our own way back to the boat.
After resting and people watching for a while we decide to visit the Cathedral. The Cathedral has a number of Peter Paul Rueben, the famous 17th century Flemish Baroque painter, works on display, the most famous paintings on display being, Elevation of the Cross and Decent from the Cross (humm...maybe copies of the originals). The Cathedral is under going a massive redo that is almost finished. One of the huge paintings looks to be restored, but the other is very dark from years of display. Since we have ditched our guide we are saved from the 20 minute lecture on each piece and can just study each on our own!
We are hungry and thirsty now and see a fries fast food shop as we exit the Cathedral.
We order a huge serving of the traditional fries with mayo, Belgium style, and eat with a number of local business men. Fortified we retrace our steps back to the ship.
The Scheldt has a huge tide here and our boat has fallen some 12 feet during the time we have been on tour. This afternoon there is tour to Brussels, but Dick plans to rest and read, and Carolyn decides to take a shuttle to one of the diamond factories for a tour. It is interesting and doesn't take to much time. She gets to see the cutting, grading and polishing processes plus some drop dead jewelry pieces...both in design and price!
We have cocktails on the balcony and head to the lounge for another short talk by Peter, the CD for going to dinner. The food is so much better on this cruise than in 2006, with good nightly choices plus the always available items. The wine selections are very good also. We have another great meal.
The entertainment to night is a violin group that we heard before in 2006. They are really good, but once again we head for bed. At 10:45 the ship sails for Ghent 61 miles away, but we are sound asleep!
The AMAVerde is a beautiful boat. built in 2011 in the new long boat style with spacious cabins/suites many which have a very nice balcony. The food and wine have been great so far. A really nice thing is offering a light breakfast early in the lounge and a nice lunch there at mid day. Also we are having no problem getting a table for two if we want which we do tonight as we are tired.