Clear blue skies greeted me when I woke up this morning. I enjoyed the buffet breakfast at the hotel and checked out of the hotel just after 9.
I didn’t want to head straight off though, so after loading my stuff in to the car I walked to the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom). In a building 10 storeys high, the museum is about the history of Antwerp and its port.
Located on the 10th floor is the panoramic viewpoint where you can see all over the city from above. It’s a large museum and I could easily have spent a whole day there – but had to squeeze everything in to just a couple of hours before heading off.
Returning to the car I set my sat nav. My ultimate destination today was Duisburg in Germany – but I’d stop off (briefly) in several places along the way. First, to the Belgian/Dutch border a 30 minute drive away from Antwerp. A pub “Café in Holland” marked the border (10 guesses which side it lies on), so I stopped for a drink.
Then it was on to the town of Baarle-Hertog/Baarle-Nassau. The town has 2 names because it is in 2 countries: The border zig-zags round (it’s not simply a case of a line through the middle): Driving through the town centre you cross the border from one side to the other what seems like a hundred times. It’s actually 5km in to the Netherlands but the complicated border arrangements still remain.
The Discovering Belgium website has an interesting piece on the village. It discribes how, for many buildings, the border goes through the middle of the building and yes, this does mean some people move their front doors – tax dodging European style!
As you walk down the street the border is marked clearly – even on the road, you can tell where the border is! Besides the road markings, the house numbers make it obvious which country you are in.
A warm Sunday afternoon in Summer, it was quite busy. Not quite late enough for lunch, so I just had a quick drink in a café before moving on. I rejoined the motorway and made my way to the German border near Venlo, which I reached in about an hour.
From there, it was another 30 minutes to my overnight stop for today: The city of Duisburg. As I drove through the city centre and was stopped at a set of traffic lights, a motorcyclist who had been following me pulled up along side me to tell me how “cool” my car stickers are (I’ve got lots of interntional flags as well as regional flags of some German states on the back of my car). We had a whole conversation at the lights before they changed!
While in Duisburg I am staying very near the Hauptbahnhof and am parked right outside (plenty of space to park is one of the most important things I look for when travelling anywhere by car). I am within walking distance from the Innenhafen (the harbour) with a range of shops, bars and restaurants in the pedestrianised zone directly opposite the hotel.
Tonight I went out for dinner at a Greek retaurant where I enjoyed souvlaki meat cooked in a tomato sauce, topped with cheese – very nice!
I hear it’s been pouring with rain back at home. Here, it has been a little cloudy today with a nice amount of Sun, still very hot but not as hot as it was at home last week. Tomorrow’s forecast is pretty similar to today – partly cloudy, light wind, temperatures climbing to 32°c.
The evening news starts in a minute so I’m off to watch that, and then off to bed.
Today’s Mileage: 131.6
Accumulative Mileage: 500.9