Revisiting the Meuse

Namur is situated a the confluence of the Sambre and the Meuse. Although still in Belgium, having fort our way through the largely industrial regions of Belgium, I now could finally anticipate with excitement our up coming sojourn in France. But one mustn’t discount the the picturesque city of Namur.

The bridge at Namur with the citadel gracing the skyline
The view from the top

To the uninformed eye the citadel looks impenetrable, but if you delve into its history, over the centuries it has changed hands and been rebuilt several times. In recent history the citadel was captured by the Germans in 1914, after only 3 days of fighting and in WW2 it was on the front line during the battle of the Ardennes and the battle of the bulge.

Exploring the citadel. We took the cable car up, but elected to walk down
This modern sculpture is on one of the terraces of the citadel. Although impressive the artist who created it was jailed in 2022 for sexual abuse.

We are now wandering our way south. There has been quite a bit of rain, and the river is flowing a little faster than it was last year. We estimate that we are losing 2-3 kms of speed across the ground as we travel upstream.

Joie de Vivre on the move upstream
Our next stop was Dinant, where we were welcomed by an empty dock. The is very little traffic on the river, neither commercial and nor pleasure boats. We just don’t know where everyone has disappeared to. Is there something we don’t know?
From Dinant we dashed across the border into France. And now it was time to change the curtesy flag. Unlike our Belgium flag, which is quite faded our French flag has so far done very little work.

At the next lock after the border we pick up our telecommander, which will operate the locks for this part of the journey. The downside of the automatic locks is of course sometimes the system does not work, which means a call to the water authorities, who send someone to correct this situation. And yes at our first lock the gate was jammed with an oversize log stopping the operation. This also resulted in my first conversation in France being to a remote lock keeper on the phone who informed me he did not speak English. In my broken French I informed him that l’ecluse ne travail pas et il y a deux lumieres rouges or the lock is not working and there are 2 red lights (indicating that it is closed). I was unsure if he understood but shortly a van appeared with an expert to reify the situation. We have been lucky enough to breeze through all the locks to date.

Foot note, as I wrote this we were stuck at another lock for over 1 hour. On the upside my boat handling skills get a bit of a work out when you are forced to hold the boat steady in the middle of the river for an extended period. Peter achieves this operation effortlessly but I’m still a noice.

Through the tunnel to Vieux Wallerand
A two day stop, to ensure we could watch the BBC broadcast of the crowning of our king. Note, still no fellow boaters on the dock
With all the rain the river is now flowing at over 3kms and can be seen rushing over the weir as we enter the locks
A stop at Revin (lovely port with a supermarket nearby). Note, there is another boat in port!
And then to Charleville-Meziere before we exit the Meuse to the Canal de Ardenne. And yes the traffic has increased with anothe Piper boat owned by Australians in port.

Despite this being my third visit to this city, a 3 day stop allowed Julie and me to do a little exploring and shopping. The Charleville side features a lovely square surrounded by a number of shops and restaurants, whereas on the opposite bank of the river the Meziere side boasts both an old and new Hotel de Ville (the newest built in 1930) and a basilica with remarkable modern stain glass windows

Shopping for shoes
Meet super rabbit, an associate of street beggars

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