Monday, October 26, 2009

On To Antwerp and the M/S Harmony

Day 5 - We checked out of our hotel where I forgot to mention our breakfast was included each day, and boarded a bus to the ship. Along the way we were to explore Ghent, a site where two abbeys were founded in the 7th century at the confluence of the Schelde and Leie Rivers. It was here in 1814 that the Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the War of 1812 between the U.S. and Britain. The weather was threatening and we took a bus tour instead of a walking tour of Ghent but then the sun came out so we had a chance to walk around a bit.

We visited St. Bavo's Cathedral which houses the Van Eyck brothers painting Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.

I don't think I could have taken a decent picture because of the lighting but photos were not allowed anyway. They had individual receivers that told you in English what each panel represented and was very interesting. Two panels had been destroyed and copies were done and marked to keep the scenes complete. I've downloaded a picture off the internet for you to see. There are panels on the backs of the end panels but I didn't find a picture of those.

From there we proceeded to the ship docked in Antwerp. We arrived to find the other six people in our party already on board. They did not take the Brugge pre-cruise trip. We went to Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady and came back for our first dinner onboard. Everyone was raring to go and the six of us were ready for a little R&R! On Sunday we went to the Diamond Museum where of course you could not take pictures. There were some beautiful historical pieces on display but the numbering system didn't coordinate with the receivers and we were all confused. A lot of the ladies were disappointed the shops were closed and they couldn't shop for diamonds!

Next stop, Willemstad, the Netherlands. We have been to Willemstad, Curacao on a cruise and it is a lovely Dutch island with beautiful pastel painted buildings with the stairstep rooflines as seen in Belgium and the Netherlands.

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