We said ‘adieu’ to Charleville-Mézières on Monday the 17th of August, 09:32AM. This picture was taken somewhere between C-M and our next overnight mooring (this is stating the obvious, we know). It just shows how pretty the river Meuse in the Ardennes-region is.
A special feature are the rocks ‘Les Dames de Meuse’ between Laifour and Revin. The wives Berthe, Hodierne and Ige, having been unfaithful when their husbands Héribrand, Vauthier et Geoffroy were away on the First Crusade, were turned into rocks here by ‘the divine anger’.
A road and a railroad are situated next to the river – a common feature, especially when the area is rocky, like here. Falling stones are always a hazard. A way to protect both cars and trains is installing nets which catch falling pieces of rock. The people installing the nets look like being true alpinists.
That day we ended up in a place called Fumay, after over 52 kilometers (32,5 miles), 10 locks included. It took us 8,5 hours. Yes, it does look like we are dealing with a screw loose! Reason: we have appointments later on but we want to do the scenic route… It was that late that we forgot to make a picture when the sun was still shining. So here’s one made later on that evening – night if you like.
On Tuesday the 18th we started cruising at 09:25AM. Our engine again gave us trouble to such an extent that we did not dare to continue after having done three locks and only 13 kilometers (8 miles). We moored at Vireux-Wallerand and felt lucky about the Belgian Perkins-dealer from Antwerp being prepared to visit us the next day – as V-W is only a few kilometers from the French-Belgian border. The engineer duly showed up on Wednesday as agreed. Something completely different now: the frites made at Vireux-Wallerend (next to the capitainerie) are the best we had for years. We went there on Tuesday and, irresistible as the frites were, on Wednesday too.
Thursday the 20th of August we left Vireux-Wallerand in good spirit at 09:52AM. Everything would be fine again - an expert had visited us after all, isn’t it? The last French (Freycinet-)lock, ‘Les 4 Cheminées, a few hundred meters from the border, was reached at 1:01PM. Bye for now, France!
Immediately after passing the border we changed the French courtesy-flag for the Belgian one. It’s an almost new one, as shown by its bright colours.
Another pretty picture, as one can randomly take them when cruising the river Meuse in the Ardennes. It’s a real joy to cruise there. We’ll do it again, all the more because we are pretty stressed with of the engine-problems who seem not to be solved completely…
Our first overnight stop in Belgium was Dinant – not that bad, wouldn’t you say? We reached the town later on in the afternoon and moored at 4:30PM. Here’s the postcard picture of the spot we have been for two nights.
A famous son of Dinant is Adolphe Sax (1814 – 1894), the inventor of the saxophone. For more about him, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolphe_Sax. The town honours him extensively by putting saxophones in all kinds of coloured designs, wherever one looks. The Dutch flag is there too – among others. On top of the wall on the right the funicular-cabin is visible, making it possible for us people who do not want to negotiate the 500 steps going up to…
…have a look onto the town and its surroundings from the high citadel. It’s admittedly all very touristic but absolutely pretty at the same time.
Dinant was reluctantly left on Saturday the 22th of August at 09:50AM. Reluctantly for two reasons, being the vibrant town as well as the still unreliable engine. And there it happened: after just two locks and having progressed only 5,5 kilometers (less than 3,5 miles) the engine stalled in the middle of the river. We were able to restart and, with the help of the bow-thruster, moored at Anhée at 10:50AM. Now what?? We gave the Belgian engineer a call again –he is really helpful and caring- and he promised to re-visit us on Monday.
A genuine miracle happened on Sunday the 23rd of August. The female half of the two of us stated that she had mustered up all her courage and that she was prepared to give it a go again – trying to moor at a more hospitable place than the one at Anhée. So we left a bit shaky at 8:50AM, hoping for the best. We progressed 10,5 kilometers (somewhat over 6,5 miles), descending two locks on the way. Then, at Profondeville, the engine stalled again! Without claiming that we get used to it –far from it- we could restart and, lucky us, were next to an attractive overnight mooring place where we found peace again at 10:47AM and solemnly promised each other to wait for the engineer. All the confusion prevented us from making a picture of where we were moored. Instead a picture of la capitaine. She was still capable of producing a smile! How about that? That’s it for today – tomorrow week 35.