"What? We actually go under the river?"
This is what I asked my friend who lives in Antwerp. She assured me that under the Scheldt River would be a tunnel that we could walk or bike through to the other side. I was game for her to show me this tunnel.
What amazed me first were the two escalators descending at "slow-speed". As soon as I stepped onto the moving stairs I was immediately transported to the art deco period. It so happens that the escalators were designed in the 1930s and were made out of wood. As far as I can tell there have been no renovations, only restorations, to the original equipment.
Incredible. If you're in Antwerp this is must do. Bonus: It's totally free admission!
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This is Belgium: Pedestrian Tunnel in Antwerp
Strange how this hasn't made it to the list of "Things To Do in Antwerp". St. Anna Tunnel has been left preserved since 1931, with its original wooden escalators, subway tiles, warning signs, and frames for advertisement space. Amazingly, graffiti, litter or weird smells (i.e. urine) are absent in the tunnel that spans 1729 feet, just over a third of a mile. An original placard for no singing, shouting or pitting is at the bottom of the escalators; And people tend to obey it, so it's quite eerie to hear only footsteps and whizzing bicycles for the 10 minutes you're under a river.
Once on the other side of the tunnel on the left bank of the Scheldt River you come up to see the city line of Antwerp.
It's quite an incredible little walk and it's totally free!