July 24, 2003 GMT
Belgium

Netherlands to Belgium

Some observations:

Price of gas - about £1 per litre
Driver's manners - good, drive in the slow lane, pass in the fast lane
Coffee - EXCELLENT
Food - good
Beer - EXCELLENT
Budget - Over again.........
ATM access - tried 7 banks before we got money...was a little worried

The story.....

So off we went from our little B and B in Broeken in Waterhouse outside of Amsterdam and headed off to Belgium. As we are trying to get to Dublin by the 28th we really only had time for one city. Based on our map and our guide book (which we aren't to happy with and will be replacing) we headed out to Antrwerp. The weather was sunny and warm and the road signs out of the Netherlands were quite easy.

On our way to Belgium we stopped at Bergen Op Zoom. There is a Canadian War Cemetery there that we stopped in. It is beautifully kept with huge trees and flowers all around. There are about 987 buried there. It ended up being very emotional. We had started to go around and read the tombstones but after reading the additional inscriptions from the families - boy, did the tears start to flow. We ended up staying there for about 45 minutes. It was very peaceful and I have to thank the town’s people for keeping the site up.

We entered into Belgium with little problem. The signs are in Flemish but we are getting better at making our highway notes and made it to Antwerp on small back roads. Then the fun begins !!! All we wanted to do was get to the Tourist Information to get a map and some listings for accommodations. We followed the one sign we saw, then the next.......then nothing. The road signs suddenly stopped and in the end we were in the middle of a cobble stone pathway going where the f*** are we. It is now 30 degrees and we are in full gear lost. There are lots of people about so I go into a shop to get us out of the maze and back into the main streets. We re-read the guidebook and try again to find the Tourist Bureau. Luck we have seen the sign for the train station and the Tourist Bureau is supposed to be right beside it. We again had only that one sign.....lost again....30 degrees...we are melting.

So after shouting at each other while driving down the streets of Antwerp of which way should we go, we see a sign for the main Motorway and decide to just get out of there.

That was the best thing we could have done. We stopped at a rest stop off the highway and found a secondary road to a medium size town called Lokeren. My god it was beautiful and I highly recommend it. The hotel was expensive for our budget at €69.40 but we were able to wash some clothes and the bike was in a safe place. We had some internet access in the town and a wonderful dinner. After dinner we went into a small shop to buy some drinks for heading back to the hotel. The owner, Roy, has family in Toronto and gave us the drinks for free. LOVE LOKEREN. So for anyone passing through I would recommend stopping there. It's big enough to have everything you need but small enough to walk around the town centre and enjoy the sites.

The next morning we head for a cafe and had THE BEST COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS.

Posted by Danette Harkness at July 24, 2003 10:35 AM GMT
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