Existing for over 700 years the village of Doel is soon to be demolished, making way for the ever expanding port of Antwerp. But the residents haven’t gone quitely, or entirely.
First commisioned for demolition in the 70s, around 25 residents still live there; ignoring the instructions from the government to leave immediately.
Now the village is a hotspot for street artists, and when we were there; a destination for a sunday drive in your beloved ‘old-timer’.
Entering via a restricted road in which you require your national ID card (or on foot round the back if you’re not Belgian), you see a mix of abandoned homes, schools and businesses but also open galleries, a bar and a cafe; cashing in on inquizitive tourists.
It’s an interesting place to visit and worth seeing before it goes, whenever that will be?
After Doel we tried to visit Antwerp itself. I say tried because we never actually made it!
Advised by Jack & Anna, a couple we met whom are currently living in their self built camper, that the local marathon was on; we still tried to get to the free car park close to the centre.
We made it to the other side (wrong side) of the Scheldt river and found ourselves cycling against the flow of the marathon in search of a bridge.
Being unable to use the pedestrian tunnel with our bikes, we decided against cycling back on ourselves and through the Kennedy tunnel (as we were still sore from the previous day), we headed back to camp, which due to road closures took 2 hours instead of 25 minutes!
Back at camp Jack & Anna informed us they had another great day in Antwerp and weren’t effected by the marathon at all! They also informed us of the Low Emmission Zone rules, which state all foreign vehicles must register to enter designated areas. Fortunately, you can register 24 hours after entering which we promptly did so.
A big thank you to Jack & Anna and safe travels.