Home > Travel Blog > 2011 > June


Namur to Roermond

Having left Namur, the first stop on our downstream cruise was the lovely citadel town of Huy.



River Meuse between Namur and Huy              Fortress of Huy

On the way we passed through Liege and Maastricht, both lovely and interesting towns. In Maastricht, rather than be fleeced for €35 per nght in the marina, we opted for the free town quay alongside  an authorised graffiti wall where the smell of acrylic paint wafted through the air as several talented 'artists' applied their skills. Another sort of fragrance wafted from the 'coffee shop' nearby in an old barge where you can obtain various interesting substances. Hey, we're in Holland!


Liege mooring next to the fountainMaastricht a night on the graffiti wall

Liege mooring next to the fountain             Maastricht, a night on the graffiti wall

A week at the beautiful lakes at Roermond allowed us to meet with the family of the first skipper of our ship. See the history section for the complete story.


Roermond twilight summer solsticePonies at Roermond lakes

Roermond twilight summer solstice              Ponies at Roermond lakes

Family re-united with Elizabeth now EsmeNot much changed down there

Family re-united with the old ship             Not much has changed down there . . . .


Roermond to Muiden

Leaving the lakes at Roermond we took the quiet rural Zuidwillemsvaart Canal via Aarle Rixtel to s'-Hertogenbosch, usually called Den Bosch.  We found a super mooring right in town and spent a few days exploring and enjoying this "mini Amsterdam", the capital of the Brabant province.  Again, as in so many of the places we visited we saw evidence of  WW2 military history.  It was here that the Welsh Fusiliers stormed the lock gates to liberate the town in October 1944, commemorated now by a riverside memorial park.  We cycled into the country to visit a concentration camp nearby, Camp Vught;  the atrocities there reminded us of our own precious peace and freedom.  Apart from these serious matters, the town is a delight with a magnificent Gothic cathedral, lovely shops, restaurants and art galleries.  Den Bosch was  the home of the painter Jeroen Bosch.

Muiden fortSailing barges

The Muiderslot mediaeval fort at Muiden        Sailing barges at Muiden


One of many windmills near Weesp               Water lilies, centre of Weesp

Saying goodbye to Den Bosch on a perfect summer mooring, we cruised through tree lined canals, overlooked by lovely old houses, leading to a long rural canal with many bridges and very little traffic.  We joined the big river Maas, reminding us of the heavy commercial traffic on  these big waterways.  We turned into the Afgedamde Maas, a beautiful wide, winding river with exquisite sandy beaches, almost exclusively for leisure boating, a summer holiday paradise.  We stopped briefly at Woudrichem before a short stretch on the river Waal which turned out to be a bit bumpy!  I had to quickly make safe a few precious ornaments but we only destroyed one lampshade, easily replaceable.  We turned into Gorichem, another very picturesque ancient Dutch town and onto the Merwedekanaal, again quiet, rural and pretty with numerous lifting bridges along the way.  At Meerkerk we had a surprise reunion with barge friends Scott and Katinka, whom we hadn't seen for a year or two, so an unscheduled stop took place!  That evening we experienced the most incredible electric hailstorm;  a massive rush of wind, black sky then bullets of ice and torrential rain like a car wash. Luckily we were securely tied up and so just battened down the hatches and sat it out. We tried to take some photographs but zero visibility!


Summer house overlooking the Vecht             Vecht backwater, seen on our 35km bike ride


At Vianen we crossed the Lek, no problem but initially we approached a lock where maintenance was taking place.  We didn't know it (no reply on the VHF) until the lockkeeper came out and called out to us, we having been tied up on and off in a howling gale!  We took the other lock, enormous but easy now and headed on the Amsterdam Rijn Canal towards Utrecht.  Our PC Navigo (electronic chart) working well now and a great asset.  Again heavy commercial traffic dwarfed us.  At the bunker barge near Utrecht we called in for some retail therapy (new ropes).  Later a massive commercial ship closed on our tail just moments before we identified the tiny low bridge entrance to the Vecht and, once through, the contrast was quite an adjustment!  This river is rightly said to be the prettiest river in the Netherlands, exquisite picture book villages greeted us and we took our time, stopping at some lovely spots including Maarssen and Breukelen.  At the lifting bridges a clog is dangled on a fishing line to collect a small fee!  On arrival at Weesp  we were met by barge friends who had saved us a nice mooring in town!  We stayed here for a long weekend, again exploring on the bikes and a picnic day out visiting the local forts including Muiden.


Waterside gardens, river Vecht                 Waterside gardens, river Vecht

Fortress of Huy
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