Friday, July 31, 2009

Near the Belgium/Netherlands border, canalside at Dessel, is this delightful sculpture. In the background is the 120ft Sas tower. When we reached the top an elderly gent had set up a telescope (which he must have lugged up all those stairs, no wonder he had a rosy coloured face!)and pointed out the sights to us. We were amazed how much of Flanders was forested.

That night we ascended the tower, now spotlit, again. A storm was gathering with thunder and lightening rolling round the tower. A dramatic goodbye to lovely Belgium. Tomorrow, the Netherlands.

This ship moored in Antwerp,painted battleship grey,came straight out of a James Bond film. It has a helicopter and a sleek speedboat onboard. Not sure if we were supposed to photograph it!
On our way to the Netherlands, we stay overnight on the only free mooring in Antwerp, arranged for us by our dredger friend there, Hendrick. There were some scary moments waiting on the main canal for the lift bridge to let us in here. Ships were coming at us from all directions and a galeforce wind was not helpful with manouvreing out of their way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

We have a new crew member,pictured here making himself at home. Rescued from the canal at Gent and talking in Flemish, he (perhaps, how can you tell?)showed his gratitude by biting my finger then settling on my head so what can you do but love it?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seen on the Moervaart on our way back to Lokeren for a few days before we begin exploring the waterways of the Netherlands. Don't know what else to say......

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The approach to Brugge. The city feels to us like a living museum piece. There are beautiful buildings and intriguing narrow alleyways. We are severely over charged in a cafe. Time to move on.

The canal and river from Ieper formed a frontline for the Belgian troops. One of the many trenches has been preserved. It was called the Dodengang, the trench of death. The many clumps of poppies growing out of the walls add to the poignancy.

Still today, farmers are killed as they plough their land and hit unexploded bombs from WW1. Every year, thousands of tons are still discovered in Belgium by specialist teams.

The Menin Gate stands high above the town of Ieper. Thousands of names are carved into the walls. So many killed in the First World War whose remains could not be found that, even with such a huge memorial, there is barely enough space for them all.