Sunday, May 13, 2018

Barge Date:  04-30-2018

From Maastricht to Dinant

Wim, the engine mechanic, returned with all the parts needed to make my oil filter change easier. I will now be
able to use a spin-on/spin-off filter which should eliminate the possibility of big spills  The extra days of waiting have been worth the time.

I say goodbye to Sandra and Rob as I turn the engine on and head south for Liège. It is a short run up the river and the engine sounds good. I want to make the mooring close to the address where Marianne lived. As I come into town I see a lot of live-on barges on the port side and just one space so I quickly take it. 

I am to meet up with an old friend of Marianne’s from her college time here in Liège. I thought to take my bike but the wall that I tie up to is just too high to get it off. So I take off on foot passing through the neighborhoods that I knew well back in 1972. Her apartment building which is right on the river has not changed.

I visit Beatrice at her home and she has not changed much at all other than we are all older. She graduated with the same degree as Marianne and spent nearly 40 years teaching English and Dutch. Now retired, she has a number of activities and she does travel with friends. She prepares a simple lunch and afterwards we begin a tour of the town. Also from her I receive my radio which has been programmed with my boat identification numbers.

Sunday is market day in Liège and it is directly across the river from Marianne's old home. I am off on foot early in the morning while everything is being set up, but I quickly judge that there is nothing that I need. I return to the boat and decide to move it to the south edge of town where there is mooring space.  It is here that I make the acquaintance of a younger man from the UK who has been building his live-on barge for two years and an older couple who have had their boat for 25 years. It originally started out as a fishing boat but has been expertly converted to a two-berth travel boat.

I am able to travel on the bike in town to complete some small tasks but spend the rest of the time on the boat doing work.  On Sunday evening, Beatrice and I have a farewell dinner at the newly renovated Liège train station. It looks exciting but the one negative comment from Beatrice is that in the winter it is still outside and not so pleasant to wait for a train.

I continue to hear rumblings about problems in France on the Meuse River, just as there were last August. The Dutch couple wants to enter France as well and we attempt to put our heads together to see what might be possible. We can read the notices from the French canal office but we just don’t know how much weight to give these pronouncements.  At one point we elicit the help of Marianne to call France. In the end we still don’t know what to do. There are two options: one, to wait on this river and try to work our way into France with the possibility that we could be stuck for some weeks. Is this where we want to be? The second option is to do what was done last year, that is to make a big detour and enter France on another canal. This will add many hours to the boat and fuel consumption and will leave me still some distance from the area we want to explore this summer. At some point I must decide and then hope for the best

From Liège I travel up river to Namur where I stayed several weeks last year. It is an ideal mooring location and I know where all the stores are. We continue to listen for new news from the French  I am now traveling with the Dutch couple so we can share our concerns. There are several more encounters with the French and we still do not know what to do, so in order not to do nothing I continue upstream to the town of Dinant. The Dutch hold short of the town to do painting.

Huy, BE

I was also in Dinant last year with my Australian travelers and noted in the blog that there was a lot of construction going on at the riverfront downtown. As luck would have it, I have returned to Dinant on the weekend where they are dedicating the completed project. On Sunday there are speeches, a special concert in the cathedral featuring a nearly all-saxophone orchestra and choral group. Attendance is by invitation so I stand outside in front of a large TV screen to see and hear what is going on inside.

Lionel...d'Antan on the Meuse.

Dinant s the hometown of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax. The concert centers around the various types of saxophones with the orchestra being led by a Hungarian, Vladimir Cosma, who has written a number of movie scores, some featuring the saxophone.

Along the quai there are old military groups in full costume as well as 4 or 5 Saxophone groups. They all have

a rag tag look to them which I think must be their costume for this event. For a small town, Dinant has a good crowd in attendance. The weather was very nice until 5 o’clock when we had some showers but gave hope that the sound and light show scheduled for later in the evening would go forward. But at about 8 o’clock, a very strong storm came through the city with high winds and rain and served to wash out the remaining evening activities.

It is now April 30 and I hope to make a decision today about the road to take to France.

Picture below of Dinant along the river.

1 comment:

  1. Nice report, hope the canal opens up for safe
    GG from Scipio