Thursday, October 09, 2008
The boats lie down at Lillo
Last Monday, on the way back from Zeeland, Koos and I stopped for a cup of coffee. Nothing strange in this, but what was unusual was where we stopped.
Surrounded by industry and dockland, and tucked inside a tiny fortified oasis, there is Lillo. A lovely gem of a village, largely populated by artists and craftsmen, it exists in its own bubble of tranquillity within the massive complex of the port of Antwerp. It isn't easy to find, despite signposts off the highway, but once you enter its environs, you are struck by its remoteness, its green lushness and its quaint and historic charm.
Lillo also has a small harbour for pleasure craft. The interesting thing, though, is that because the harbour is on the River Scheldt (Schelde over here), it is completely tidal, so at low water, it is empty and all the boats simply sit on the mud flats - not handy if you happen to want to go out for a jolly and you haven't checked the tides! I must say I love tidal reaches like this. There is something wonderfully untamed about mud flats, and waders and great jetties standing sentry with only the rippled sands around them. Once again, the only camera I had with me was in my phone, but it served quite well on this occasion, don't you agree?