Europe 2018

MS Freshwater

Welcome to our website. It has been created to update family, friends and those interested in how we are faring with our travels through Europe. This is our sixth year cruising the European Waterways. 

In 2012 we first trialled life on a boat by hiring a river cruiser on the Canal du Midi, with the plan that if things work out, to buy a good secondhand cruiser for a total change of life style. Well, we did the Canal du Midi and loved it. So we scoured the Dutch and French dockyards till we found and bought our perfect home away from home, a Dutch river cruiser we renamed "Freshwater", after our home in Sydney Australia.


In 2013 we completed our first year on the French waterways in our own boat and absolutely loved it. Originally we thought it would be like touring the French countryside by caravan, but it turned out to be much more than that. Travelling at just 8 km/h we really got to appreciate the scenery of many beautiful rivers and canals of the Bourgogne and central France, plus making lovely friends on the way.


In 2014, we picked up our boat from its winter mooring in Saint Jean de Losne. From there we cruised up the Canal du Rhoñe au Rhin to Germany (with a short train trip to Switzerland), then down the Rhine to Koblenz. There we change waterways to go up the Moselle River via Luxembourg back into France to our winter berth port of Toul. 

In 2015 we picked up our boat in Toul and travelled along along the Canal de la Meuse into Belgium and cruised into to Holland to get some work on the boat done. Then loop back again via Belgium into France and cruise through the Champagne region to again stay in Toul for next winter.

In 2016 from our winter mooring in Toul, we cruised up the Moselle river to Luxembourg to fill up with fuel. Then crossed the border into Germany and turn starboard up the Saar river for the loop back into France again. Being so close to the Arzviller boat lift we couldn’t help but detour along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and do the lift. After picking up my sister Marcia and her husband Peter in Reims, we cruised down the Marne River to Disneyland and on for a little sojourn in Paris. Then headed up again to Belgium along the Canal du Centre to be elevated 75 metres in the Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift (Europe's largest boat lift). We finished the season this year in Maasbracht Holland, the best place to ever get any work done on the boat.  We plan during the winter offseason to replace the curtains, carpets, stove, canvas, batteries and have the boat painted. Should be looking like new when we return.

In 2017 we have struck a bit of a snag, as Austin had to have shoulder reconstruction surgery after falling off his motorbike. Although the surgery went fine, the surgeon recommended we not cruise with the boat this year as this type of surgery can take up to 12 months to heal. Holding the ropes for our 14,000kg boat, in some turbulent lock can play havoc with the repair. So this year we’re going to take the caravan and do a loop up to Cape York, at Australia’s northern tip and down through the red centre. We should be starting this trip in around July 2017, and Susi has promised to do a blog of this trip instead.

In 2018 we head back to find our sea legs again from being away from our boat for over 18 months. Our trip this year begins with leaving our winter mooring in Maasbracht Holland and head north down the Maas River and into the heart of the dutch countryside between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. With 269 trafficable waterways totalling to over 3700 kms in this country, we have no idea yet how long this will take us. What I do know, is that it is going to be amazing. 

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© Austin Robinson 2018