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
2,995
Flights start at
850
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9 days
8 nights
14 meals
7 B 1 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Brussels, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Brussels
Gandalf

Activity note: Transfer time is approximately 30 minutes (6 miles / 10 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 Brussels. At the barge, we drop off participants' luggage as the barge cannot be boarded before 3:00 pm. We then take the motorcoach to the center of Brussels for the afternoon.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Brussels. 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 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. 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. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Evening: 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.

DAY
3
Breendonk, Lier, Béguinage, Zimmer Tower, Willebroek
Willebroek
B,D
Gandalf

Activity note: Transfer time is approximately 1.45 hours (45 miles / 70 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: 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 Lier.

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

Afternoon: Our journey continues to Lier, a pretty village where we explore a béguinage. Béguines were members of a philanthropic community of women. Our last stop is the Zimmer Tower where we study the Wonder Clock which shows 12 clocks encircling a central one with 57 dials. The clocks show the times on all continents, phases of the moon, and times of tides. Our motorcoach will return to Willebroek where our barge is awaiting our arrival.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

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

DAY
4
Barge to Antwerp, Grote Markt, Belgium History Lecture
Antwerp
B,L,D
Gandalf

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
5
Mayer van den Bergh museum, Rockox House
Antwerp
B,D
Gandalf

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Further your discovery of Belgium art at the Mayer van den Bergh museum. Fritz Mayer van den Bergh was an avid collector of copper, earthenware, paintings and sculptures. Family portraits and religious triptychs by Flemish masters fill the rooms in this small but charming museum.

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

Afternoon: 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.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Rubens House, Sint-Amands
Sint-Amands
B,D
Gandalf

Activity note: Transfer time is approximately 45 minutes (20 miles / 31 kilometers).

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Enjoy 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: After lunch, board a motorcoach to Sint-Amands.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Oudenaarde, Saint Walburga Church, Castle Laarne, Ghent
Ghent
B,D
Gandalf

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 Ghent by motorcoach.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
St. Bavo Cathedral, Bruges, St. John's Hospital Museum
Bruges
B,D
Gandalf

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

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

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

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

Afternoon: Continue 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.

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 from the barge to the airport is approximately 1.5 hours (68 miles / 110 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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