A Travellerspoint blog

Belgium

Day 4

Strepy-Thieu Boat Lift and Waterloo

semi-overcast 19 °C

Our gracious hosts prepared a spectacular breakfast for us. We were offered various buns, homemade jams, a variety of Danish treats, sliced cheese, sliced ham and a plate of sliced fruit. In addition to all of that, freshly made omelette with herbs picked from their garden and juice and coffee. We were well fortified for our day.

The GPS in our car had trouble finding the places we put into it and as a result, we spent most of our morning driving in circles in the town of La Louviere (City of Wolves). Art finally dug around in our luggage and came up with the GPS we bought in 2016 for our first trip to Europe. We entered the name of the place we wanted to go and were there within a few minutes.

We arrived at Strepy-Thieu Boat Lift on the Canal du Centre in Belgium which Reta had seen on TV and wanted to see in person. This boat lift raises and lowers boats of up to 1,350 tons to a height of 73.15 metres. This boat lift was completed in 2016.

IMG_5108 Lift at top of lock

IMG_5108 Lift at top of lock

We had not been admiring the structure for very long before a lift began descending the building. You will notice the white concrete counter weights rising as the boat lift lowers.

IMG_5110 Photo 1 Here comes the lift down from higher level

IMG_5110 Photo 1 Here comes the lift down from higher level

IMG_5111 Photo 2 Here comes the lift down from the top

IMG_5111 Photo 2 Here comes the lift down from the top

When the lift reached the bottom and the concrete and steel gate rose and we were astounded to see the size of the boat in the lift.

IMG_5118 Here comes the large barge off of the lift

IMG_5118 Here comes the large barge off of the lift

IMG_5120 Large barge out of lift and onto canal

IMG_5120 Large barge out of lift and onto canal

We stood in awe as this monster barge floated out of the lift. But the surprises were not over, as it was followed by two leisure boats.

IMG_5121 We were surprised that this boat was also on the lift

IMG_5121 We were surprised that this boat was also on the lift

IMG_5122  And here comes another boat out of the lift

IMG_5122 And here comes another boat out of the lift

In a very few minutes a barge which we had spotted sitting on the canal began steaming into the lift. We thought it was a garbage scow as its contents did look like they should be headed for the dump or if you are in Britain, the tip.

IMG_5115  Garbage scow with pirate flag waiting to get on the lift

IMG_5115 Garbage scow with pirate flag waiting to get on the lift


IMG_5126 Garbage scow loaded on lift

IMG_5126 Garbage scow loaded on lift

We took a picture of this large barge inside the lift and then ascending to the higher level. This time the concrete counter weights are descending.

IMG_5128 Garbage scow going up on lift

IMG_5128 Garbage scow going up on lift


IMG_5129  Photo 2 The lift moving up with the garbage scow

IMG_5129 Photo 2 The lift moving up with the garbage scow

This last photo gives you an idea of how far the canal is diverted at the higher level to bring boats to the lift.

IMG_5131 View of lift showing how high the top level of the canal is

IMG_5131 View of lift showing how high the top level of the canal is

Reta is just fascinated with this boat lift. She must have been an engineer in an earlier life.

The museum at this boat lift is closed until 2019 when new displays will be available. Today, we could have boarded a boat that would go up the lift and provide a ride to the old boat locks that were used before this lift was built. It was to start at 2 PM and finish at 4:30 PM. The boat ride would have been a great thing to do if we had a whole day to spend at this site.

We ate our picnic lunch in the parking lot and then drove to the Memorial 1815 which is at the battle ground of "Waterloo".

IMG_5133  View of Waterloo Memorial from entrance

IMG_5133 View of Waterloo Memorial from entrance

IMG_5135 Welcome to Waterloo Memorial

IMG_5135 Welcome to Waterloo Memorial

We went through the museum and viewed the 4D presentation of the final battle held on June 18, 1815. We are under the impression that this museum and many of the displays were created in 2015 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of that battle.

IMG_5138 Lion Memorial at top of hill taken from the bottom

IMG_5138 Lion Memorial at top of hill taken from the bottom

IMG_5139  Lion Memorial at top of hill - 256 steps to top

IMG_5139 Lion Memorial at top of hill - 256 steps to top

This Waterloo Memorial is another stop that was very worthwhile but a day should be set aside to enjoy it all.

We left the Waterloo Memorial late in the afternoon and drove the 45 minutes or so to Brussels and our lodging for this evening. After we got checked in and got our car parked we walked to a local grocery for items for supper and breakfast. Along the way we noticed a delivery van making a delivery to a sixth-floor apartment (7th floor in Canada and the US). A window had been removed and this very large lift conveyed the items up the outside of the building to the apartment.

IMG_5143 How you move something into a top floor apartment

IMG_5143 How you move something into a top floor apartment

All in all - temperature of 19C (66 F ) with sunny and cloudy periods - another great day.

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:35 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Day 3

Huizen, Netherlands to Mons, Belgium

semi-overcast 14 °C

We left our comfortable cottage in Huizen this morning. This is the start of European Vacation 2, exploring more of Europe.

Our first stop was at Brugge, Belgium also spelled Bruges. Brugge literally means "Bridge City" because of all the bridges over canals in this city. We had heard of their spectacular tower called the Belfry of Brugge.

IMG_5097.jpg Brugge street scene

IMG_5099.jpg Tourists enjoying a horse and buggy ride

The Belfry of Bruges (Dutch: Belfort van Brugge) is a medieval bell tower in the centre of Bruges, Belgium. One of the city's most prominent symbols, this belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. A narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps, accessible by the public for an entry fee, leads to the top of the 83 m (272 feet) high building, which leans 87 centimeters to the east. No, we did not climb it.

As we were leaving Brugge we were stopped by a raised bridge over a canal. Eventually we saw a barge being pushed by a boat emerge on our side of the bridge.

Bridge rising

Bridge rising

Boat pushing barge on canal

Boat pushing barge on canal

We drove on to Tournai to see their Cathedral of Notre Dame. It is under construction or maybe refurbishment so we did not get to see the beautiful windows that it is famous for. We did see the Belfry of Tournai. The belfry of Tournai, Belgium, is a freestanding bell tower of medieval origin, 72 metres in height with a 256-step stairway.

Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai

Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai

Belfry to Tournai

Belfry to Tournai

We are staying at a Bed and Breakfast at Mons, Belgium. The owners suggested several local restaurants for our evening meal. We chose a spot called "Bravo" which serves Italian food. We had a delicious fresh pasta served with cubed zucchini and shrimp in a light white sauce. This restaurant was across the street from an art school. It was interesting watching the students coming and going.

So now it is evening. There are 15 channels on the TV here. They are all French, German and Italian. A very interesting mix but all we can do is watch the pictures.

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:49 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

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