Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 4 Williamstaad to Antwerp

Our day yesterday saw us spend the morning on the boat as we breakfasted in The Netherlands and lunched in Belguim.  There were some technical issues with the blog yesterday.  It may have been caused by crossing into Belguim as the boat's wifi ended and we went onto our 3G international roaming.  Hopefully, all will be better today.
The weather is a little better this morning, although the clouds in the phot would suggest otherwise.
Wind power is a big source of energy in the Netherlands, with towers everywhere.  Not quite as many in Belguim.
We didn't berth in Antwerp until about 1.30.  The two way loch was only one way due to maintenance so we were in a holding pattern for a while.  The loch is huge and does fit many large barges.  It is a huge transport water way.  The boat next to us was carrying salt (many really have been cocaine!).  
The loch raised the water level by about 1.5m.  It was done in about 7 mins.  Incredible given the huge volume of water involved.
Look at the height of the wall in the above photo and compare it to the one below.
Antwerp has a huge industrial port area and took us a couple of hours to get through it.  
After berthing, we had a group walk around the city.  Antwerp was much more damaged during WW 1 than in the Netherlands, so many more modern buildings.  Some that remain are the Cathederal, (1500) and the Castle.
There is some story in the local history about a "baddie" having his hand hand chopped off (Ant means hand). Monuments/sculptures everywhere with reference to the hand!

The city has a blend of old and the new.  The above building is a museum which we went to the top of later after dinner.
Central Station has been refurbished in recent years, but it is a most spectacular building.
Like Melbourne, parking is at a premium.  Below shows economy of space at its best.
The evening views from the museum were quite spectacular.  High views of cities are always great.
Amsterdam is well known for its red light district.
After our guided walk around town, we all wandered about independently  and returned to the boat at leisure (with a map).  Most of us ended up accidently wandering back through the Antwerp red light district.  It is a flourishing business here, right next to the  busy port area!  Apparently there are several areas here to cater for the many sailors and port workers.
Dinner is served so bye for now.

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