Saturday, 30 June 2007

27th June

Antwerp, Belgium.

I finally found the campsite. The GPS co-ordinates were a bit off; well about 2km off really, but I punched in the address and found it that way, and when I got there, I think I'd found the cheapest official campsite ever! The cost for the night was 3.75 euro, no lecky and it didn't seem too far from the city, although across the River Schelde. My main issue was going to be the fact that I was mapless, and there didn;t seem to be a bridge spanning the river anywhere near.

(View from campsite side of the river over to the city)

I cycled around for a bit (in a large circle!) finally spotting one of those town maps on an advertising hoarding type things, so was able to consult that and found out that there was a foot tunnel nearby to cross the river. Finding the tunnel proved to be slightly more troublesome, as i was expecting to see an entrance going downhill or whatever......
In the end, I found the entrance inside a large square building with double doors that led into a large lift. The lift travels down 31 metres below the river and opens out on the opposite pair of doors into the tunnel mouth. From there, it's about a 600 metre cycle across to the opposite side, where an identical lift awaits to take you up top again.

I got out at the other side and had soon found the main market square, 'Grotemarkt', and the buildings looked excellent; all very old and authentic 17th Century type stuff, little cobbled streets leading off the square, and lots of taverns and restaurants. It really is a pleasant old city to visit. Where the campsite is situated is in a nice neighbourhood on the opposite side of the river - mainly residential, with a mix of modern apartment blocks and individual houses, some with thatched roofs, but not that old. On the other side of town, there was a rougher, edgier feel to things, and I seemed to be in the red light district. It felt a little less safe to be in, and there seemed to be lots of people just 'hanging around'.

I ate dinner in the evening in a nice little cafe / bar, where the pasta was excellent and the beer cheap, so that was my carbohydrate requirements taken care of for the day! The bill came to less than 12 euro which was grand. I was in two minds at to whether to go out on the lash afterwards, but I felt a bit tired, so I made my way back to the campsite, read a few chapters of my book, before retiring to the bunk for the night. Antwerp is a city I'd like to come back to for a weekend on a cheap flight to explore for a bit and sample the nightlife.

Tomorrow I will leave for Calais, stock upon essentials, plus booze and fags for the family and bide my time until my Eurotunnel crossing is due...........

No comments: