It’s been 10 weeks since I last posted – wow that’s bad. Truth is it has been full on, no particular fault of Antwerp, but a disproportionate number of things coming to a head, and in some cases fizzing out completely.
And to keep it simple I’m going to stick with my running theme – as 10 weeks later I am still running.
Truth is I found a way around my dilemma of the local park – I started running a different route – more urban, fewer drunks/ dropouts. It hasn’t solved anything of the real problem but it has allowed me to keep running.
So here’s what I observed when I headed out for a 15km run on Sunday morning at 0615 hrs.
- Several groups of slightly weary ‘gents’ heading home or back to their hotel / home.
- One person asleep (almost on a park bench)
- Before entering the lift to take me through the Sint Anna pedestrian tunnel under the Schelde the guy on his push bike sculled his can of Jupiter (beer) and threw it to the ground. I got in with him – just a little anxious.
- At the other end (578 metres long) – he had waited for me – keeping the lift door open (the world is full of suprises), and gave me a cheery smile.
- The cavernous lift (made for bicycles) had a dubious wet patch on the floor (I don’t think it was his).
- On the other side (Linkerover) I ran to the John F Kennedy tunnel (and checked the air pollution as a possibility of running later) – the answer is no.
- Passed one illegal camper fast asleep with his tent flap up and his hairy bum showing (worse is yet to come)
- Passed a strange man in full waterproof garb fishing who knows what out of the reeds with a little net (I hope that was his job, otherwise he must get a life)
- Saw the most rabbits I have ever seen in a short space of time– probably 3 or 4 hundred over the next 30 minutes of running.
- Passed the 8 or 10 sailing clubs hunched around a lake the size Westpac Stadium, looking rather like a bad sideshow. (Why couldn’t they all agree to share one decent facility)?
- At about 0700 I reached a carpark where two male joggers had just driven in – I thought they looked ‘suspect’ in their white shorts and matching backpacks – the pre-jog kiss confirmed it. I ran faster.
- On reaching the Schelde again I encountered another strange clubhouse thingy – and disturbed someone relieving himself in the Schelde (OK downstream from Antwerp – but only confirms my intention never to set a toe in its waters).
- Finally a lady walking her dogs.
- Another lady, another dog (her dog I mean)
- As I headed towards the bend which leads the river back to Antwerp a flash of white caught my eye – yes another bottom – this time female – doing the wild thing. (I must learn how to cough politely or run more noisily, I slipped off down the other side of the bank so as not to disrupt their rhythm)
- I then encountered a bunch of crazy taverns, a camp ground, and an outdoor swimming pool. All looking rather tired, like some closed down amusement park that had run out of cash and patrons (whilst knowing that on a nice day many Belgians would think this the lap of luxury).
- I weaved my way near and far from the river due to restricted acces in many parts with more yacht clubs, more strange clubs I couldn’t understand, and sometimes for no reason I could understand.
- A group of Englishmen/ Scotsmen (one with his countries flag wrapped around him) – heading for the aforementioned Campground – after a BIG night out.
- Another illegal camper – strangely within walking distance of the camp facilities.
- Two more people – sleeping next to the river – not active to my relief.
- Back through the tunnel – again with an accompanying cyclist – looking totally confused as to why anyone would run at all! (Yet again the lift was ‘held’ for me – not that i was far behind this languid cyclist)
- And then finally back through the Meir – where I saw to my amazement – in the last 200 metres of my run – another runner. I waved to her, she back.
Hope you enjoyed the trip.
I plan on running from home to the Nederland’s this weekend.
This is particularly amusing for a Kiwi – we can’t run to any country – so there is some unusual lure and anticipation about it.
Hopefully the local authorities don’t find out I may get locked up, i certainly won’t have my Belgian residents card on me.