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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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