Sunday, June 4, 2017

Barge Date: 04-06-2017

Playing Catch-up

OK.  I am way behind with this post so everything will be short so we can move to the present.

* Fly to Atlanta; find Marianne in baggage claim. Next morning we return to the airport to take train to downtown. Off at a stop almost next door to the Belgian Consulate. Get visa but told that when I register in the town of my brother-in-law that they could put a kabosh on everything. I am surprised.

* Fly to Belgium; rent a car and visit family for a day. Travel to Antoing for Marianne’s first look at the boat.

* Pick up needed batteries in Tournai; heavy. Barrie and Carole need a fan belt and buy two. With help from Barrie, the new batteries are installed. Fan belts do not fit. We see a bakery named Boulangerie d'Antan and stop to purchase a baguette that we will eat aboard Lionel d'Antan. How appropriate.

* Return fan belts and get another. Travel to Mons to visit the Ikea store. Do not find a suitable mattress for our single bed but buy some other items for the boat. Return the rental car in Tournai. Fan belt does not fit.

* Do chores on boat and Marianne gets to know her way around. Visit the castle in the town. Nice

tour by a good, informative guide (in French). Have dinner with the Grants at La Madonna, a very nice Italian place (only 2 restaurants in town). Good desserts.

* Marianne locates the correct fan belt by phone and I ride to Tournai to get them. They fit. Barrie is happy as they can again run their generator.

* Take train to Brussels to visit town hall to “register.” If you are new to a town, this is a formality. For me, a new adventure. Seems to be going well with Philippe taking the lead with the clerk (in French). Starts to go south when supervisor butts in. Discussion switches to Dutch but Philippe and Marianne can understand, and Philippe starts speaking with them in Dutch. After showing Marianne's Belgian ID card and Tim's passport with his visa, things settle down. Now we must wait for several days until police come to Philippe’s house to make sure it is as we say. Stay tuned. I think they are still not comfortable with this because Marianne and I leave on different dates that are weeks apart. In any case, I will have to come back at least once after the police inspection.

* We met a young lady during our train trip and invite her to the boat. She had been an exchange student in the US (in Olympia, WA) and now teaches English in an immersion class at two elementary schools in and near Tournai. She comes to the boat and we have a nice visit. Hope to see her again.

* For Marianne’s first trip we head west using 2 locks to tie up in the town of Peruwelz. Her first lock passing and did very well. Probably the same feeling I had the first time I did it. These locks were very big but everything worked. Tied up beautifully. Take on water and hook-up for electric. We spend 2 days here.

* Had very nice visits with several other boat people in Antoing and Peruwelz.  This is one of the nice things about this boat travel; always meeting new people or running into people you have already met.

* See next post for the continuation of story as this post quickly catches us up to the present time.

Note from Marianne: If you want to see a lot more pictures and are on Facebook, look for and "Like" my special page entitled "Barge Adventure". If you "like" it, you will get to see the pictures and receive reminders of when the blog is updated.

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