contentedsouls

Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

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2 epic journeys from Verdun

Posted by contentedsouls on 18/08/2014

We planned to leave Belleville sur Meuse (Northern outskirts of Verdun) on Saturday. The fellers set off with the motor home, car and two electric bikes to do a vehicle re-distribution as public transport seems pretty non-existent round here. Meanwhile Debbie and I watered both boats, sorted out the rubbish disposal (far more difficult than it sounds) and exercised the dogs. Whilst we were being busy there were a lot of things happening in the park by our moorings.

The fellers returned having deposited the motor home about 45k away and the car 30k before cycling a l l  t h e  w a y  b a c k! Flushed with triumph they were (it’s very hilly) especially as Kevin’s battery went flat towards the end. Not bad for a pair of unfit blokes of a certain age. By then the happenings in the park had materialised into a ‘beer tent’ and stage with some rather nice traditional French music playing. It will come as no surprise to you that we stayed where we were for another night. Sadly the evening music was not to our taste!!! When Kevin took his dogs out at midnight he saw a chap sitting quietly on the roof of our boat – Kevin told him to get off and he did – no problems. We didn’t know he was there – nor did our dogs!

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We actually managed to get away just after 10 on Sunday morning (no point leaving together as the locks aren’t long enough for both of us) and we were soon cruising into Verdun. From the river it’s quite impressive although we were distinctly underwhelmed when we looked round it.

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Just through Verdun we met our first lock of the day with the lock all set and managed to pick up a load of weed round the prop – more or less cleared it but there was a lot of weed about. Passed some campers where the trampoline was bigger than the tents. Every lock was open and ready for us with G helping the (pretty female) student lockies open the top gates, so we made excellent time and I was rather enjoying myself – I think G and Kevin were amazed when I suggested carrying on passed our first potential mooring. In the end we covered 7 locks and 30k in 5 3/4 hours, mooring at Lacroix sur Meuse – that’s MR hiding to the left of the barges in the last pic. Avalon turned up about 40 mins behind us in the nick of time to bag the last mooring 3 minutes before a big Dutch barge turned up (they breasted up to the big New Zealand barge). Free water, electric and rubbish skips.

I really enjoyed the long cruise after all the short hops – especially as Avalon provided us with an excellent supper, G made pudding from scrumped apples and I didn’t have to cook anything. I was quite tired as I’m not used to concentrating for that long. Apart from meeting a big barge on a narrow bend and the wind getting up towards the end, it was a pleasant and uneventful trip down ‘Kingfisher alley’ (Marten Pescher en Francais) – we spotted at least 12 … perfik.

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