AC/DC Tour Leaves Antwerp

Things are going from bad to worse: we’ve run out of gas for the stove. I blame Namibian; he blames me. A stalemate.

Would you believe we have a third back-up plan? One simply cannot tour without cups of tea so we are – and I hate to say this – rather over-prepared for any kettle eventuality. Yet, this is an inauspicious start to the AC/DC tour.

I must stress, by the way, that Antwerp shouldn’t be regarded as a pitstop between Brussels and Amsterdam. The local beer, ‘Koninck’, is alone worth stopping for. It’s an old man’s beer though. Excellent! The Grote Markt is not as impressive as its counterpart in Brussels, but Antwerp has a beach…of sorts.

And the city, much closer to the UK than Amsterdam, hosts the Villa Tinto, “a mega-brothel with 51 sex suites where more than 100 prostitutes alternately work around the clock.” I whizz past on the bicycle. Slowly.

Prowling men in puffer jackets, normal-looking outside a shoe shop, here take on a sinister edge. It’s all very well-organised, with a police station in the middle and signs requesting “do not pee” in the alley.

The quarters for seafaring men, presumably an appreciable percentage of the clientele, are next door.

Elderly and chubby harlots vie for attention with the younger prostitutes; there must be bargains to be had here. I’m glad Namibian is safely ensconced elsewhere; the excitement could have finished him off. Ever the stickler, however, I’m distracted by  another blatant misuse of the apostrophe in a video shop across the road: the store advertises “DVD’S”.

Back at the warehouse, there’s a frenzy of revving diesel engines. Trailer doors are opened ready for the onslaught. The AC/DC containers are here; flightcases are unloaded. Reloading into cavernous, black trailers – “Black Death” trailers – begins.

Ah, the camaraderie at the start of another rock n roll tour. Oslo, here we come. Well, an acceptable stab into Germany, here we come, would be more accurate. Norway is miles from here..