Did you know that Antwerp has the second largest harbour in Europe after Rotterdam? No, nor did I.
I’m an animal lover again today after gorging on stallions so recently. In fact, I’ve even got a cat at home – he came free with the house.
The Saint Anna pedestrian tunnel is 572m long, leading to Antwerp’s beach that I hinted at a week or so ago. There are signs indicating dismounting from bicycles, and a 5km/h speed limit, but why would you have both? Is some helmeted policeman going to accost me for walking too swiftly? My Flemish is rusty so I’m not sure.
As it happens, very few cyclists dismount their steeds; a girl with yellow panniers thunders past at breakneck speed.
Some wag – a clever piece of graffito, this – has doctored the speed limit to read “115km/h”. Arriving at the much bragged about beach, I notice it is forbidden to swim – at any time of year. The view is of heavy industry – possibly an aluminium smelter – and the sand turns very quickly into a suspicious grey clay. Antwerp, you don’t really have a beach.
AC/DC’s show was cancelled last night due to band illness. No, it’s OK; luckily, dinner remained unaffected. So, we loaded up a few hours earlier than normal and set off, like the three musketeers, on the long journey to Leipzig, 660ish kilometres away.
But finding a place to stop at night during the week is a problem: all the parking areas and services are rammed to the gunwales with trucks – even Belgium, closed on weekdays.
There just isn’t room for all three of us. Namibian has motored off with Little Dick in tow. I nearly had you there, didn’t I? Namibian is, of course, the one in tow; he gets nervous if another truck is following him. Either way, I shall be livid if I find out he’s wasting our precious stove-gas on cups of tea for Little Dick.
Finally, we reach the Messehalle, Leipzig, one of those characterless monstrosities offering nothing to eat nearby. Namibian, resting in his cab – with windows partly open for safety reasons – asks to be brought ‘just two Big Macs when you come back from bicycling.’ As I say, there’s nothing to eat nearby.
The poor chap is feeling off-colour, and needs “food” to wash down whatever tablets he’s taking for man flu. Fear not, though, he won’t starve. His cab closely resembles a tuck shop..