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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Into Belgium and moored at Hastiere

Posted by contentedsouls on 24/05/2017

I was deeply disappointed to miss out on Givet again. We can’t be the only boaters who are discouraged from stopping there and boosting the town’s coffers but, with elderly crew, it was not for us. As France ends and Belgium begins there is no train between Givet in France and Dinant in Belgium – I find it extraordinary that there is no ‘through country’ train link – so it’ll be a bus to recover the car. There is a railway line but it’s freight only.

Paperwork and new flag at the ready, we left France through the last lock and headed through the first lock into Belgium. Despite it being listed as a mandatory check-in point and douane, no one paid us the slightest bit of attention.

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This might seem a bit strange for a Brit abroad; but I could feel quite a big lump in my throat. I entered France just over three years ago and have never left. I love France with all it’s foibles and I understand, basically, how it works – I am heading now for new and unknown territories, languages, customs and waterway operations and feeling very unprepared.

Southern Belgium, or Wallonie isn’t a great deal different as they still speak French and eat their main meal at 12 with lots of bread. The border crossing, therefore, was a bit of a non event but these holiday chalets are able to play ‘hop the border’, as some are in France and some in Belgium. Yet again our intended mooring at Hastiere had enormously tall quays.

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All was not lost as we found this little pontoon at the opposite end of the town, with the added benefit of a small friterie less than 20 metres away and quite a nice view from our windows across the river. The town was pleasant enough (once you had diced with death to get across it’s busy by-pass), but I’m not sure what this dirty great hole in the middle of the town was about – the photo gives no idea of scale but it must be 40 feet across and sat there a bit randomly.

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Following a change to our route, following advice from my friend Veronica, we now have 640 kms to go.

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4 Responses to “Into Belgium and moored at Hastiere”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Well would you look at that… the first business inside the Belgium border is a BAR… LOL
    But having to walk 20 metres to the ‘chippy van’ is such a hardship, n’est-ce pas?

    Looks a bit overcast unfortunately, I guess you’ll wait for the sun to shine before you try out that concrete jacuzzi 😉

    Like

  2. Veronica said

    Not long now! 😊🥂🍷🥂

    Like

    • Going to have to slow down a bit or we’ll get to you before you do – you know what I mean! Although I’m sure as we get further North that the new delights will slow us down. We’ve still left you some Champagne …. not a lot

      Like

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