Antipole cruises

Brugge, Ghent & Middelburg

On Monday it rained most of the day and we were confined to the cabin.  But it cleared in the evening and we unpacked our folding bikes and peddled into the city.  This turned out to be an excellent way to explore lots without the constraints of a car.

Every corner we turned revealed yet more exquisite buildings or canals.  And all the time we were accompanied by a concert on the carillon in the bell tower.  Brugge has a full time carilloneur and the music was surprisingly expressive and carried all over the city.  On Tuesday we spent the day visiting the Gruuthuse and Groeninge museums.

On Wednesday we cycled to the station and took the train to Ghent, which rivals Brugge for its sights.  The bikes turned out to be an excellent way of getting around, especially as the sights are rather more spread out there.

After the usual vegetarian deprivations in France, Belgium turned out to be a welcome relief.  Ghent, in particular, lists fifteen vegetarian restaurants and lays claim to be the vegetarian capital of Europe.  We read that all restaurants have to include a vegetarian option by law, and on Thursdays all municipal catering (schools, offices, etc.) is entirely vegetarian.  We lunched royally at Restaurant Avalon, where we had beetroot soup followed by grilled seitan in red wine sauce, roast potatoes, braised asparagus and a rich salad medley – delicious.  We struggled to resume  our site-seeing, but really did enjoy the audio-visual tour of Gravensteen castle.

On Thursday, ahead of strong winds approaching, we left Brugge early to return to the sea.  This time we were directed to a (relatively) small lock, which we had to ourselves.  We were soon out to sea for the passage to Vliessingen [Flushing].  For a change we had clear blue skies and a nice force 3, albeit from the east, so it was a beat all the way, with lots of big ships in and out of the Westerschelde.

As we arrived in Vliessingen harbour we were directed straight into the lock through to the Kanaal door Walcheren, which we just managed to squeeze into with other boats.  From there we were the last of four yachts forming a convoy along the canal, so the lead boat had to get the five bridges opened and we just followed through.

After some four miles we stopped off at the historic town of Middelburg, the capital of Zeeland, which dates from the eighth century, and was once an important trading town. It is built in a concentric circular pattern, with waterways which were both for trade and defence.  You can see in the photo the little bridge we squeezed through to reach a quay close to the town centre.  We shall stay here for a couple of nights.

T & Y xx


3 thoughts on “Brugge, Ghent & Middelburg

  1. heleen

    Welcome in the Netherlands!

    Yah, it is really very busy on the dutch waterways and it is indeed the best way for sailingships to pass all those bridges by convoy.

    Tony, your parcel arrived, so Ine, cheque your mail for details.
    For now: liefs en groetjes uit het amsterdamse, heleen

  2. Alison

    Thanks for your latest news & pictures. What wonderful cities to visit.
    Have just rung Johnny, as it is his B/ Day today. On Sunday he carries the Olympic torch a short way. all the family are joining him for a celebration get together.

    Much love, Alison & David xx

  3. Nicky

    Lovely to read about your visits to these places. It is bringing back memories of my teenage holidays with my parents on a motor cruiser when we went on several summer holidays through the canals of Belgium and Holland and called in at the same places. I bet they have changed a bit since then. Nicky

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