We didn’t realise that as soon as we went through the lock just a few kms from Lier that we would be into a tidal section. Big mistake. At first it just looked as if the water level was a tad low; we spotted Lapwings & other wading birds along the muddy banks; most interesting!; but it soon became obvious that the tide was going out, as more of the muddy bank became visible. We sped along with the tide but had some difficulty when it came to turning off into the channel to join the Leuven Canal. The junction was not marked so we went past and then had difficulty turning around and fighting our way against the tide to get into the channel. Waiting for the sea lock to empty seemed to take a very long time but, luckily because of our shallow water draught we were able to get through the lock and into the canal. We were very pleased to moor up for a few nights on a quiet pontoon outside of the town.
Mechelen is another very pleasant old town with a lovely Grote Markt in the centre of the old town.
There is also a Béguinage area where there was a ‘flea market’ every Sunday & a brewery. Yep! those ladies of long ago even started a brewery to earn their keep. So we visited and tried the Carolus beers of the Het Anker Brewery – alledgedly the oldest brewery in Belgium!
We walked a lot around Mechelen, visited Sint Rombouts-Kathedraal (seat of the Catholic archbishop of Belgium)
and admired the architecture around the Grote Markt with the Stadhuis.
We were considering which museum we might visit s it was national open day for museums (free entry) when the square came alive with music. A group of musicians in ? medieval dress, with an assortment of brass instruments and steel drums made its way around the square playing and dancing together. One woman playing a trumpet had a baby on her back and a toddler hanging onto her skirt! Daddy seemed to be one of the drummers!
Then came a trio dressed in 80s style …..
A couple of bikers stopped in front of us – disabled lady on a recumbent bike, her daughter behind on usual bike with lots of gear and signs ‘Roses for Children’ ‘Wheels for Children’. Of course I had to find out more …… Dutch they are cycling down to Brussels to raise awareness of children’s rights – be it regarding abuse, refugee status, gender or poverty.