Our Barge, Odysseus

Sunday, June 29, 2008

If This Is Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium

After a quick stop at the fuel barge for some of that €1.40 a litre diesel it was back on the Zuidwilliamsvaart for our return to Belgium. This time we were leaving Holland for good. We've had some great times there but it is time to move on.
The book we're using for the Belgium portion of the trip, Jacqueline Jones "Inland Waterways of Belgium," describes the Ziudwilliamsvaart around Bocholt "...arable fields can be seen behind rows of chestnut and oak trees... double rows of copper beeches and poplars contrast with each other in shape and colour and give the waterway the majestic and peaceful air of a French avenue."
Both days through this section I just couldn't get the light right but this should give you the idea.

The book, published in 2005, contains a rapturous description of the barge San Remo entering a lock with them, "We were speechless. She was so long that the two bridges on either side of the lock had to remain open. Now I had time to admire her at my leisure. Her hatches were black, spotless. Her wheelhouse was sheer hi-tech, all steel and smoked glass... Only aerial photography could do her justice." This isn't aerial but it will have to do.

We met her twice on the canal and I was glad to get on the other side of a lock she couldn't fit through!

After a night along a dock in the town of Bree, it was on to our next stop, a quiet little side canal of the Bocholt-Herentals Canal called the Kanaal naar Beverlo, which doesn't go to Beverlo but to Leopoldsburg. We stopped right at the canal junction at a place called Blauwe Kei, or Blue Boulder. There were no services but it was a beautiful spot, just made for a bike ride day!

We bicycled down the canal to within 4k of Leopoldsburg in another parklike setting. All the way to this spot we had seen hundreds of bicyclists along the canal and heading off into the woods. After this day, we know why!

This is the Kanaal naar Beverlo

Cathy Jo leaves me in the dust.

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