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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Archive for June 23rd, 2017

Wallonie into Flanders

Posted by contentedsouls on 23/06/2017

We had planned on staying on the Meuse into Holland but, the previous night, we changed our plans (again) and hung a left onto the Albert canal which took us into Flanders and cost us an hour in paperwork and 80 euros for a waterways licence. Immediately, everybody spoke a foreign language and I had no idea what anyone was saying; I couldn’t read any menus or signposts. The self same bottle of dry white cooking wine which cost me 1.18 euros in France now cost 3.79 and asparagus rose in price from 5 euros a kilo to 8. Encouragingly I dropped a dress size but, strangely, my feet dropped a shoe size. Lunch no longer came with bread and the standard 3 courses for around 14 euros, rose to one course for 18 euros. No boulangeries anymore and no-one says, ‘bonjour madame’ (except me; who automatically continues in French for lack of anything else to speak). A shock to the system – you bet!!!!!

The Albert Canal was guarded by Albert and very, very choppy – I went and had a lay down! Jantina ploughed through the swell behind us before we entered the lock and life calmed down. Quite an impressive cill on that lock and, no, we’re not on fire!

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We moored at Rekem overnight (on adequate moorings) where I was delighted to find good walking for Muttley. Muttley doesn’t like ‘choppy’ and after a choppy day he needs to get off the boat for a good while, eat lots of grass and be sick before he will settle down again – perhaps I should feed him ginger biscuits. A small example of the words I was confronted with on signs

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We set off towards Bree the next morning, leaving Jantina taking a day off.

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I’m back–I think himself has sorted the internet problems

Posted by contentedsouls on 23/06/2017

A lot of catching up to do. We are now happily ensconced in Holland and actually very glad because many friends are stuck in Belgium and Northern France due to low water levels and, subsequent, restricted lock movements; a problem for boaters in Ireland too apparently. Being below sea level we are not having a problem; just a matter of keeping the snorkel and periscopes clear and clean. I’ll publish quite a lot of blogs in a row now now to catch up

Liege was to be our last stop before crossing into ‘foreign’ Belgium (i.e. Flanders), although we didn’t know it at the time.

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Big, big, River Meuse means big, big, ships and big, big locks which means quite a lot of concentration and, I find, quite tiring. Very grateful for the communication that the hands free, Bluetooth, headsets provide – certainly reduces my stress levels.

Arriving at Liege, we moored in front of Jantina to get away from the fountain that frequently showered you and your boat (whether you wanted it to or not) when the wind was in a certain direction. The quay led straight into acres of parkland with it’s own stately home providing Muttley with a vast private paddling pool – probably wasn’t allowed, but there were no signs telling you to keep out and  nobody seemed to care.

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I was feeling ridiculously tired and was more than happy playing with Muttley on our island parkland and, probably, for the first time ever since I became a continuous cruiser, I couldn’t summon the energy to drag my way into the city of Liege to explore. Maybe another time. So this is all I saw. Amazing watching the crane arm come out and swing around a cradle to allow window cleaners access – a bit like the exterminator arm on a giant Dalek.

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That evening we had a discussion with Lisa and Geoff regarding continuing down the Meuse and the scarcity of moorings and a change of plan was hatched. We decided to turn off The Meuse and cruise through Flanders.

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