[31 August 2021 update]
Cancelled due to insufficient number of participants
15 – 17 October 2021
In spite of the uncertainty concerning the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put together a programme for a three-day coach tour which will focus on three historical landmarks in Belgium : Antwerp, Ypres (Flanders Fields) and Ghent. Of course, this programme may have to be adapted to the prevailing circumstances.
The first day (Friday 15 October 2021) will focus on Antwerp, a major European port, an important diamond industry centre and home of the sixteenth century school of Flemish cartography.
A coach will take us from Brussels to Antwerp (50 km) for a guided visit to the sixteenth-century residence of the famous printer-publishers Christophe Plantin and Balthasar Moretus, where among many other books, Abraham Ortelius’ Atlas was printed from 1579 onwards (now an UNESCO World Heritage site).
After lunch in the historical centre of the city, we will leave for the small city of Sint-Niklaas for a guided tour of the museum dedicated to Mercator.
The coach will then take us to Ghent (50 km), where we will settle down in the hotel in the historical centre of the city and have dinner.
The second day (Saturday 16 October 2021) will bring us to Flanders Fields, near Ypres, the site of several battles of the First World War. We will start with a guided tour of the In Flanders Fields Museum; it gives a comprehensive presentation of the successive Battles of Ypres which took place in the vicinity between October 1914 and November 1918.
After a quick lunch in the museum Café, we will walk (a couple hundred metres) to the Menin Gate Memorial. The coach will then take us to the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 which has preserved some real WWI trenches; we will continue to the Tyne Cote Cemetery, which holds 12 000 Commonwealth graves.
We will return to Ghent (70 km) for dinner and accommodation in the same hotel.
The third day (Sunday 17 October 2021) will be dedicated to the visit of Ghent, one of the most beautiful historical cities in Europe, as former French president François Mitterrand once said.
We will have a guided boat tour of the historical centre of the city, built at the confluence of the rivers Scheldt and Lys, to admire its medieval castle, cathedral, belfry, main square, its eighteenth-century patrician palaces and nineteenth-century bourgeois houses.
Participants will then have some free time to walk around the city centre and have a quick lunch (on your own). From 13.00, we will be able to visit St Bavo’s Cathedral to see the world famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, painting by Hubert and Jan van Eyck (audio-guide supplied).
The coach will then take us to Brussels (50 km) for drop off at the airport (by 17.00), at the railway station and in the city centre (by 17.30).
Price and registration
This excursion is being organised by the travel agency Preference (www.preference.be) and is proposed, for a minimum of 20 persons, at the price of EUR 740.00 per person in a double room; single room supplement: EUR 190.00. This price includes:
- transport by air-conditioned motor coach
- two nights (bed and breakfast) in Ghent, at the Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof
- entrance to the museums and other sites mentioned in the programme
- English speaking guides during the visits and augmented reality (AR) technology in St Bavo’s Cathedral
- all meals except the lunch in Ghent (beverages excluded).
To register please contact Marie-Anne Dage by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), indicating the names of participants and your room preference (double/single).
The travel agency Preference will then confirm your reservation and send you an invoice.
Note – All illustrations from Wikimedia Commons or authorised origin.