Beerdrinkers around the globe,
Sports has often been associated with beer. The crowd standing outside the lines even more than the team playing for the gold. At the upcoming world football championship in South Africa our national beerstar Joe – Piler (Jupiler) will be cheering on our orange upstair neighbor the Netherlands.
But if your in need of some exercise yourself, as from this summer you can try out the other famous sport – cycling – among the Belgians guided by some of our finest beers.
You don’t need to be Lance Armstrong or Tom Boonen to take your bicycle out for a good ride in the Belgian landscape.
A lot of “occasionally sporty” Belgians like to combine those tours with a good beer and make it a “kappelekestocht” – freely translated it means a much as “chapels tour”. By stopping in a few bars, some true chapels for beerlovers, along the road to quench their thirst.
Done by bicycle, or the shorter ones by foot, you can easily follow the similar looking numbered signs of the “Fietsknooppunten Netwerk” http://www.fietsnet.be/routeplanner/default.aspx .
As a big fan myself of these trails – all you do is just number out your trail – I was very amused to find myself at the press conference at Brewery De Koninck on May 11th. Four main breweries out of the Antwerp Province, together with the Antwerp Province Tourist Office combined some of those dots for us. Resulting in a walk around the city of Mechelen by “Het Anker” and 3 bicycle circles by the Trappists of Westmalle, the famous Duvel and the city brewery of De Koninck. www.beersofantwerp.be
If you want to give Belgium a visit on your next holiday, rent yourself a bike and follow at least one of these trails. If you like the countryside the Westmalle Beerroute is a 48km loop around the Trappist Abbey in West-Malle a must do. You can shorten the route to 28km by doing the upper or lower loop of the 8 that takes around abbey . In the upper loop you can find the female Trappist Abbey of Brecht. Unfortunately the sisters don’t brew beer as their brother monks in West-Malle do.
Duvel – “the Knight” – has a true marathon set out in the idyllic surroundings of rivers and grasslands. By bike you can explore this route easily as it from now on follows the “Fietsknooppunten Netwerk “. Just checking your list with numbers allows you to follow the route smoothly. But make sure the Duvels you drink along the road cloud the lessons learned along at the big boards you meet on your expedition.
“The King” – De Koninck has set out his “Bollekesroute”. A 34km cycling circle throughout urban and rural sites of Antwerp. You can start either at the brewery itself – www.dekoninck.be – or at the Provincal Park Rivierenhof – www.kasteel-rivierenhof.be – for a lovely daytrip. A stop for a visit in the historical center or a view at it from “the” Leftbank can easily be made. It passes at both sides of the riverbank and takes you for a walk underneath the river Schelde. Let the acoustic sound of the “pedestrian tunnel” as the Antwerp people love to call their Sint Anna Tunnel impress you in this refreshing break of your trail.
In Antwerp bikes can easily be rented in the city centre or at the basements of the train station Antwerp Central. Don’t let not being able to carry your own bike be an excuse for staying at home.
Come over to Belgium and enjoy a sportive and yet refreshing holiday!