Road Scholar : Home
Belgian Cities and Waterways by Barge

Program Number: 20370RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/5/2013 - 4/13/2013; 9/26/2014 - 10/4/2014; 10/3/2014 - 10/11/2014; 4/3/2015 - 4/11/2015; 6/5/2015 - 6/13/2015; 8/14/2015 - 8/22/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Belgium
Price starting at: $2,615.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 14; 7 Breakfasts, 0 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

While barging the delightful canals and rivers of Flanders, discover the superb artistic heritage of Belgium, particularly in the famed "Flemish Primitives." Marvel at the works of Memling, van Eyck and Bruegel with art experts at some of Belgium's best museums. Taste sublime chocolates, Belgian brews and other local delicacies. In Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels, admire architectural grandeur that has transcended time.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day and standing for up to two hours a day; some uneven terrain and stairs without railings.



Program may operate in the reverse direction. The barge on the April 3 departure will be the Fleur.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Aboard Fiep, 7 nights.



Day 1:
Overnight flight from the U.S.A.


Day 2: Arrival Brussels (Belgium) / Motorcoach to Bruges / Embark Fiep:

Independently explore the historical heart of Bruges, then board the barge where you meet the crew and become acquainted with the safety rules on-board and have your welcome dinner.



Day 3: Ghent:

Begin your discovery of the Flemish Primitives with a visit to the former St. John’s Hospital in Bruges. After lunch, board a motorcoach to Ghent and discover this medieval city at the junction of the Leie and Scheldt Rivers and marvel at Jan van Eyck’s 12-panel altarpiece "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" at St. Bavo Cathedral.



Day 4: Motorcoach to Oudenaarde / Laarne / Sint-Amands:

Venture by motorcoach to the town of Oudenaarde to marvel at its Gothic town hall and learn about the history of the verdure tapestries at the Museum of Oudenaarde and St Walburga Church. Visit Castle Laarne, a fortress from the 12th century.



Days 5-6: Barge to Antwerp:

Relax on the barge in the morning as you barge to Antwerp. After lunch on board, explore the impressive Renaissance Grote Markt and Brabo Fountain. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady, the largest Gothic cathedral in Belgium and home to four early canvases by Rubens, including his "Assumption." Visit the Rockox House Museum, home to 16- and 17th-century artworks. Savor the local Flemish fare before exploring the Red Star Line Museum to follow in the footsteps of millions of emigrants embarking for the New World.



Day 7: Barge to Willebroek:

Walk in Rubens’ footsteps as you visit his former home and studio in Antwerp along the River Scheldt, then sail on for an afternoon exploration of Willebroek.



Days 8-9: Motorcoach to Breendonk / Motorcoach to Brussels / Brussels Independent Exploration / Disembark Fiep / Departure

Visit the former concentration camp, Breendonk. This imposing fortress housed 3,500 prisoners during World War II and is one of the best preserved camps in Europe. Independently explore Brussels and marvel at the medieval buildings on the Grand'Place.



Fleur

The Fleur was built as a cargo ship in 1964 and converted into a passenger ship in 2002. It features 10 cabins with private facilities, a sitting area, bar, day salon and sundeck.


Belgium

Throughout its long, storied history of monastic dynasties and conflicts, Belgium has always held a strong, centralized geographic and political position in the heart of Western Europe. In its modern role as headquarters of the European Commission, the Council, and many institutions linked to the EU, this small country continues to serve as a crucial political, commercial and cultural crossroads.



Meals and Lodgings
   Fleur
  Bruges, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Dendermonde, Belgium
Antwerp, Belgium
Willebroek, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium
7 nights
 Fleur
Type: Barge
  Ship Information: Fleur: Classic deluxe river barge, she measures 127’ long and 17’ wide, the Fleur was put into service in 2002. She offers 10 cabins for a total of 20 participants.
  Contact info: No street address available as
the barge continually moves, NA  Belgium
phone: +31 (0) 651552268
  Facility amenities: There are two decks: the upper deck has a saloon where meals are taken, a spacious sitting area, and a bar. There is also a sundeck. All cabins are on the lower deck with air-conditioning and private bathrooms.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
10:30 AM Group transfer from Brussels Airport by coach to the barge in Bruges. You will be staying at Fleur that night.
  End of Program:
9:00 AM Group transfer from the barge in Brussels to airport for scheduled flights. You will be staying at Fleur the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Release and Assumption of Risk Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking not available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: From Brussels Airport take a train or bus to Bruges, and then a taxi to the barge.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Bruges
  Transportation to site: If you miss the 10:30 AM meeting time, take a train from Brussels Zaventem Airport (BRU) to the main train station in Brussels (Gare du Midi). On arrival at the main train station, take a train to Bruges. There are direct train departures three times an hour and travel time to Bruges is one hour. Review timetables and fares at www.b-rail.be. On arrival at the Bruges train station, take a taxi to Bargeweg, where our barge, the Fleur will be moored until 3:30 PM. Note that the barge then sails to Moerbrugge. Therefore, if you arrive in Bruges after 3:30 PM, you will need to take a taxi to the bridge of Moerbrugge to meet the group.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Brussels
  Transportation from site: Transfer from the barge in Brussels via taxi to the Brussels Airport.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight Flight to Brussels, Belgium
(Friday, April 5)
   
 Evening: Board an overnight flight to Brussels.

Day 2: Arrival Brussels/ Transfer to Bruges/ Free Time/ Board Barge/ Welcome Dinner
(Saturday, April 6)
   
 Morning: Arrival Brussels Airport. Transfer to the historical heart of Bruges.
 Lunch: Sample the local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free for independent exploration of Bruges, Belgium's most popular destination. Picturesque market squares, medieval architecture and meandering canals evoke a world long since gone. Board the barge late afternoon for a safety orientation and introduction to the crew.
 Dinner: Meet your fellow travelers tonight at the welcome dinner aboard the barge.
   
Accommodations: Fleur
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: St. John's Hospital Museum/ Coach to Ghent/ St. Bavo Cathedral
(Sunday, April 7)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Begin your discovery of the Flemish Primitives with a visit to the St John’s Hospital Museum in Bruges. View the six exquisite paintings by artist Hans Memling, as you immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a former medieval hospital.
 Lunch: Free to explore local fare in Bruges.
 Afternoon: Board a coach to Ghent, an attractive medieval city which sits on the junction of the Leie and Scheldt Rivers. In the 14th century, Ghent was one of Europe's largest cloth producers. Marvel at Jan van Eyck's 24-panel altarpiece "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" during a visit to St. Bavo Cathedral.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers aboard the barge.
   
Accommodations: Fleur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Coach to Oudenaarde/ Tapestry Restoration/ Castle Laarne
(Monday, April 8)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Coach to the delightful Flemish town of Oudenaarde, known for its magnificent wall tapestry industry in the mid-16th century. Marvel at the Gothic town hall, home to an impressive collection of genuine tapestries. Further your knowledge of their history and restoration at a lecture during a visit to Atelier de Lalaing.
 Lunch: Free to explore local fare in Oudenaarde.
 Afternoon: After lunch continue to Castle Laarne, a pentagonal fortress built to defend Ghent in the 12th century. View the Flemish tapestries depicting hunting scenes of Emperor Maximilian before returning to our barge moored in Dendermonde.
 Dinner: Aboard the barge.
   
Accommodations: Fleur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Barging to Antwerp/ Antwerp Cathedral/ Rubens' Assumption
(Tuesday, April 9)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Our destination today is the city known as Europe's place to be. Antwerp (Antwerpen in Flemish and Anvers in French) is a cultural hub for lovers of art, diamonds, chocolate, and architecture. Sit back and relax on the sun deck as we barge leisurely to Antwerp. Take this opportunity to survey the towns and villages along the waterways.
 Lunch: Will be served aboard the barge en route to Antwerp.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a walk to explore the impressive Renaissance Grote Markt and Brabo Fountain. Visit the Cathedral of our Lady, the largest Gothic cathedral in Belgium, which is home to four early canvases by Rubens, including his "Assumption."
 Dinner: Aboard the barge.
   
Accommodations: Fleur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Antwerp/ Rockox House/ Museum Mayer van den Bergh
(Wednesday, April 10)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Start the day with a lecture at the Rockox House Museum, the former home of Nicholaas Rockox, a 17th-century burgomaster and patron of Pieter Paul Rubens. Rockox was an avid collector of art and was instrumental in the success achieved by Rubens by commissioning major works. View the fascinating collection of 16th and 17th century Flemish artists.
 Lunch: Free to sample local fare in Antwerp.
 Afternoon: Further your discovery of the Flemish primitives at the Museum Mayer van den Bergh. Examine a prized collection of sculptures and paintings which include the famous "Mad Meg" painting by Pieter Bruegel. Fritz Mayer van den Bergh was also a collector of textiles, coins, earthenware and exquisitely hand-carved furniture which are predominantly displayed in this extraordinary museum.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the barge.
   
Accommodations: Fleur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Rubens' House/ Barge to Willebroek
(Thursday, April 11)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Walk in the footsteps of Rubens as you visit his former home and studio in Antwerp. Marvel at this stately house with its palazzo on the River Scheldt. Visit the Italian baroque studio where Rubens indulged his passion for collecting.
 Lunch: On your own in Antwerp.
 Afternoon: Board the barge and motor to Willebroek where the locals are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
 Dinner: Aboard the barge.
   
Accommodations: Fleur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Breendonk/ Brussels/ Independent Exploration
(Friday, April 12)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Start the day with a coach excursion to the former concentration camp, Breendonk. This well-preserved World War II camp housed many Belgian Jews before being deported to extermination camps in the East. Continue by coach to Brussels where the street signs are both in Dutch and French.
 Lunch: Free to explore local fare in Brussels.
 Afternoon: Take the balance of the day for independent exploration of this magnificent city: explore the chocolate shops, relax at a street-side cafe, or seek out the historical enclaves of Brussels.
 Dinner: Enjoy your farewell dinner aboard the barge.
   
Accommodations: Fleur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Departure
(Saturday, April 13)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Group transfer to the airport for departure.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Tall Man in a Low Land


Author: Harry Pearson


Description: Pearson, a British travel writer, journalist and comic is an entertaining guide to Belgium and its traditions, culture, beer and chocolate.



A Time for Trumpets, The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge


Author: Charles B. MacDonald


Description: A massive, authoritative history of the Battle of the Bulge.



Belgium/Luxembourg Map


Author: HEMA Maps


Description: A colorful map of Belgium and Luxembourg at a scale of 1:250,000.



Benelux Map


Author: Michelin Travel Publications


Description: Covering the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg at a scale of 1:400,000.



Culture Smart! Belgium


Author: Mandy Macdonald


Description: A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.



Eyewitness Guide Belgium and Luxembourg


Author: Inc. Dorling Kindersley


Description: Another gem in the Eyewitness series, this superb guide is handsome, convenient and up-to-date; it's the guide to carry. Featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.



Eyewitness Guide Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp


Author: Rebecca Miles


Description: This superbly illustrated guide features color photos and maps of city neighborhoods, with information on history, culture and sightseeing.



Flemish Art and Architecture 1585-1700


Author: Hans Vlieghe


Description: A lavishly illustrated overview of the art of the southern Netherlands from 1585-1700.



Good Beer Guide Belgium


Author: Tim Webb


Description: The sixth edition of Webb's invaluable guide to breweries, beers and bars.



King Leopold's Ghost, A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa


Author: Adam Hochschild


Description: An enthralling narrative of the 19th-century colonization of the Belgian Congo, written by an award-winning journalist. The focus of the book is Belgian King Leopold, who oversaw the colonization.



Making of the Middle Ages


Author: Richard W. Southern


Description: A classic history of 10th to 13th century Europe, covering culture, politics and major personalites.



Neither Here Nor There, Travels in Europe


Author: Bill Bryson


Description: Bryson deploys his famously cranky humor in this romp through European capitals. He's great fun to read and insightful on quirks of character.



Niccolo Rising


Author: Dorothy Dunnett


Description: From the reigning queen of historical fiction comes this fast-paced, thoroughly-researched novel of ambition and worldly goods in 15th-century Bruges. This is the first volume in her House of Niccolo series.



Painting and the Market in Early Modern Antwerp


Author: Elizabeth Honig


Description: An insightful, illustrated study of the transformation of Flemish society.



Villette


Author: Charlotte Bronte


Description: Bronte's last published work, also known as the Brussels novel, is an emotionally complex, somber tale that draws on the author's schoolteacher days. Villette is also a realistic portrait of the cosmopolitan city.





You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768