(original date of this entry: Aug 22, 2017)
Now I'm in the Harmoniepark, next to the larger Konigalbert park where I'll try to find De Koninck brewery on host Etienne's recommendation. The Harmoniepark is simply a broad lawn now being mowed by a dude on a little tractor, a pavilion on one end fronted by graffiti-style panels. The tractor dude goes around and around.
I chose to spend a third night in Antwerp and Madinneke (actually Maria Danielle) and Etienne are cool about that. I appreciate that Etienne insists on making me a second cup of coffee. Today, over a good breakfast of cheeses, cold cuts and hard-boiled egg we chatted about his career as a photographer and he showed me a slideshow of a recent event he documented, the 99th birthday of the mother of a former colleague, when Etienne was working as a customs officer at the airport. He also showed me some of his Photoshop mashups. A bear of a man with a white beard, so far he has been clad only in his blue bathrobe, sometimes open to reveal his chest and Madinneke hastens to cover him up.
|Vrienden op de fiets hosts Etienne & Madinneke|
|Outside De Koninck brewery|
From Koning Albertpark I cycled to the center along Mechelsesteenweg, which runs into the Leopoldplaats with an equestrian statue of, I suppose, the savage ruler who murdered multitudes in Congo. Or was there another King Leopold? When I reached the historic core I parked the bike for a short walk down a shopping street. As in Amsterdam, the tourist zone seems tired, played out, especially on a hot day like today. I went as far as the grand plaza where tour groups were being led along.
|Bike/pedestrian ferry to central Antwerp|
From Maritiempark I headed for kp 46. The riverfront parklands stretch on and on, with a fair level of activity today. Then I came to a ferry with a crowd of fietsers and pedestrians waiting to cross the Schelde. Farther along is Sint-Annaplage, but this "beach" seemed to consist of a lawn on the riverbank and a big municipal pool. Back on Thonetlaan, the boulevard that skirts the river, I lose the knooppunt trail—for the first time—and turn right instead at a marker for the "Sint-Anna route." This takes me down a dirt path through a serene deserted green area with a bunch of ravens, then up on this riverbank perch.
|Industry on the Schelde|