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 (4.86)
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
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
International Flight
In Flight

Evening: Overnight flight from U.S.

DAY
2
Arrive in Brussels / Transfer to Barge in Brussels / Brussels Independent Exploration / Orientation / Welcome Dinner
Brussels
Fiep

Activity note: 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 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 the food and cuisine of your choice in Brussels. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader at your own cost if you like.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for independent exploration in Brussels to do what interests you most. 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. During free time, the Group Leader will often be available to guide informal excursions, activities, or meals not included in the program. You are welcome to join if you wish, with associated costs (if any) on your own, or explore independently. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date daily program schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that indicated times are approximate and that program activities and schedules could change due to local circumstances such as weather, traffic conditions, etc. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Evening: At leisure. The evening is free to continue becoming acquainted with your fellow participants or set out exploring Brussels on your own. Get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.

DAY
3
Transfer to Breendonk / Transfer to Lier / Béguinage / Zimmer Tower / Transfer to Willebroek
Willebroek
B,D
Fiep

Breakfast: Aboard the barge, the breakfast buffet will offer a changing hot item each day as well as meats, cheeses, eggs, yogurts, cereals, breads, juices, and hot beverages.

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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Lier. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader at your own cost if you like.

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: At leisure. Your evenings are free to spend time with new Road Scholar friends, relax, or go exploring on your own.

DAY
4
Barge to Antwerp / Antwerp Grote Markt / Antwerp Cathedral
Antwerp
B,L,D
Fiep

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."

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Rockox House / Red Star Line Museum
Antwerp
B,D
Fiep

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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Antwerp. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader at your own cost if you like.

Afternoon: Further your discovery of Belgium at the Red Star Line Museum where you will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of two million emigrants leaving Antwerp between 1873 and 1934 for a better life in the New World.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Rubens House / Transfer to Sint-Amands
Sint-Amands
B,D
Fiep

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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Antwerp. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader at your own cost if you like.

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

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Transfer to Oudenaarde / Museum of Oudenaarde / Saint Walburga Church / Transfer to Castle Laarne / Transfer for Ghent
Ghent
B,D
Fiep

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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Oudenaarde. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader at your own cost if you like.

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 / Transfer to Bruges / St. John's Hospital Museum / Farewell Dinner
Bruges
B,D
Fiep

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Ghent, an attractive medieval city which sits on the junction of the Leie and Scheldt Rivers and in 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. After our field trip, we board a motorcoach to Bruges.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Bruges. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader at your own cost if you like.

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: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants tonight at our farewell dinner aboard the barge. Get a good night's sleep and prepare for departure in the morning.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Program Concludes / Departures
In Flight
B

Breakfast: Aboard the barge. This concludes our program.

Morning: Transfers to Brussels International Airport for onward travel. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you return on more rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!