Our Barge, Odysseus

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Namur, August 3-11

Because of its strategic location of the Meuse and Sambre Rivers, Namur's history goes way back, even for these parts. It was originally setteled by the Celts then by the Romans. The Counts of Namur built a castle overlooking the confluence that was taken over by the French. Later the Dutch moved in and razed and rebult the fort. In WWI the theoretically impregnable fortress was taken in three days by the Germans and the town suffered major damage during WWII. Now, even though it's not Wallonia's largest city, it is home to the regional government.

This is the junction of the Sambre and Meuse Rivers,
the Sambre sort of hidden by the trees in the lower left.
This was shot from the citadel.

This is looking up the Meuse (south; just a little confusing. It flows south to north) toward France. We're tied up among those boats on the river.

And this is the famous citadel with the Sambre off to the right.

Since Namur is a major town, we decided to spend some time here because we really needed to make arrangements for winter storage of the boat. Also, there are really good train connections and our son, Cory, was going to have to be heading back to Amsterdam to catch his plane home later in the week. We rented a car for a couple of days and headed up the Meuse.
When we began the trip in June we had thought we could get over to Alsace for winter storage but that was just too far; we didn't want to rush the trip. We had heard about a small spot just off the Meuse on the Canal des Ardennes called Pont a Bar. It seemed a likely spot, highly recommended, although pretty isolated. It turned out there was plenty of room for us, the people were very friendly and the price was right.
That decision made, we turned to exploring the Ardennes, home of dense forests, beautiful river valleys and all thinks processed pork.

This was the result of our visit to La Roche; some of the most delectable ham you've ever eaten!
We also visited the Grottes de Hotten, a network of underground caves similar to Oregon Caves. Not as spectacular as Carlsbad or Mitchell but worth the trip.
On Friday we used the car for shopping; loading up on groceries, replacing an empty propane bottle and running all those errands made easier with a car. We also dropped Cory at the train station as he had to head for Holland; his plane left Saturday morning.
Saturday was market day in Namur and it was one of the most extensive we've seen. It seemed like every street in the old section of town was lined with booths. Just about anything could be bought on the streets.

This guy was selling onions.

They'd even filled up one of the smaller squares with sand and had a "beach" volleyball tournament underway.

Sunday was a day of rest and Monday morning we filled the diesel tank (ouch!) and headed off up the river to our next destination, Dinant.

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