20370
Belgium

Belgium: Art & Architecture Along the Waterways

Wind your way through the scenic canals and rivers of Flanders by barge and learn from experts about the artistic and architectural masterpieces of Belgium along the way.
Rating (4.5)
Program No. 20370RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
3,199
Flights start at
775
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9 days
8 nights
15 meals
7 B 1 L 7 D
DAY
1
In Transit
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Brussels, Bruges, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Bruges
D
Barge "Fleur"

Activity note: Transfer from the barge to the airport is approximately 1.5 hours (68 miles / 110 kilometers). Please note that the barge does not move at night and only motors during the day.

Morning: We proceed by motorcoach to our barge in Bruges. At the barge, we drop off participants' luggage as the barge cannot be boarded before 4:00 pm. We then take the motorcoach to the center of Bruges for the afternoon.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Bruges. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Free Time: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Bruges. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as "Free time" and "At leisure" offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. All routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather and canal/river conditions may affect the itinerary. Canal/river conditions could affect the progress of the barge, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Aboard the barge, enjoy a three-course set menu featuring tasty local cuisine with coffee, tea or water. Other beverages are available for purchase that can be charged to your tab and settled prior to departure with cash (in Euros only) on the last night on board. Dinner each night will follow this description.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
St. John's Hospital Museum, St. Bavo Cathedral, Ghent
Ghent
B,D
Barge "Fleur"

Activity note: Transfer time is approximately 1 hour (32 miles / 50 kilometers).

Breakfast: Aboard the barge, the breakfast buffet will offer a variable hot entrée each day as well as meats, cheeses, eggs, yogurt, cereals, breads, juices, and hot beverages. Breakfast each morning will follow this description.

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: On your own to enjoy what you like in Bruges.

Afternoon: After lunch, we board a motorcoach to Ghent, an attractive medieval city which sits on the junction of the Leie and Scheldt Rivers. During the 14th century, Ghent was one of Europe's largest cloth producers. Marvel at Jan van Eyck's 12-panel altarpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb during a visit to St. Bavo Cathedral.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: Learn more about your fellow travelers at Group Introductions after dinner.

DAY
4
Oudenaarde, Castle Laarne, Sint-Amands
Sint-Amands
B,D
Barge "Fleur"

Activity note: Transfer time is approximately 2 hours (75 miles / 120 kilometers).

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Motorcoach 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 Oudenaarde's verdures, green carpets with beautiful landscapes, during a guided introduction at the Museum of Oudenaarde (MOU) and Saint Walburga Church.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Oudenaarde.

Afternoon: After lunch continue by motorcoach 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 Sint-Amands by motorcoach.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Barge to Antwerp, Grote Markt, Belgium History Lecture
Antwerp
B,L,D
Barge "Fleur"

Activity note: Barging time is approximately 4 hours.

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: Aboard the barge, light lunches will typically be soup and salad or sandwich.

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. Upon returning to the barge in the late afternoon, attend a lecture in the salon about the history of Belgium.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Antwerp, Rockox House, Red Star Line
Antwerp
B,D
Barge "Fleur"

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Start the day with a field trip to 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: On your own to enjoy what you like in Antwerp.

Afternoon: Further your discovery of Belgium by visiting the Red Star Line Museum. The Museum's exhibition is based on the 3 million who emigrated to America using this historic shipping line.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Rubens House, Barge to Willebroek
Willebroek
B,D
Barge "Fleur"

Activity note: Barging time is approximately 2 hours.

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 to enjoy what you like in Antwerp.

Afternoon: After lunch, board the barge as we motor to Willebroek. There is even a song named after the town: Bridge of Willebroek.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Breendonk, Transfer to Brussels
Brussels
B,D
Barge "Fleur"

Activity note: Transfer time is approximately 30 minutes (6 miles / 10 kilometers).

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Start the day with a motorcoach 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. After our excursion, we board a motorcoach to Brussels.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Brussels.

Afternoon: Free Time: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Brussels. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. If you haven’t already been there, venture to the Musée des Beaux Arts, Parc of the Cinquantenaire or the Royal Palace and Brussels Park. Or, if you want to relax, seek out one of the popular local cafés to sip a glass of wine or cup of coffee while watching the locals.

Dinner: Aboard the barge. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes, Departures
In Flight
B

Activity note: Barge check-out time is 9:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. Transfer time is approximately 30 minutes (6 miles / 10 kilometers).

Breakfast: Aboard the barge. This concludes our program.

Morning: Morning transfer to Brussels Airport for departures. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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