Gennep & Ravenstein

Currently the Freshwater is being tossed around by extremely strong winds, and as we are also “parked in” by a brand-new boat we think it is safer to stay put. There is a surf going on the Maas - waves with whitecaps! The massive commercial barges of course glide by unperturbed but we haven’t seen any sport boats on the water today.This gives us the chance for a little “house keeping”.

Yesterday in Gennep we stayed in one of those side lakes of the river and it was very calm and peaceful. The small water- sport club provided electricity and bikes for trips to town. 

Gennep was the site of fierce battles at the end of WWII and from the former gothic Martins Church only the tower remained. Interesting is that in the 16th century Catholics and Protestants celebrated combined church services in Gennep.

The most impressive building is the renaissance town hall. Nearby people were virtually spread out on chairs. That’s exactly how we felt when we finally sat down for our Koffie Verkeerd after walking all around the old town wall and surrounds. "Koffie verkeerd", for the uninitiated, means "wrong coffee", and is basically a weak flat white.

The following morning we powered on to Ravenstein. Again we were greeted by a very friendly volunteer havenmeester, a former professor of linguistic who speaks 15 languages. So no problems with communication!

Walking through the quaint cobblestone streets we noticed a backpack dangling from a flagpole on one of the residential houses. We had seen the same a couple of times in Venlo. Apparently it’s not a Lost & Found thing but proudly displays that a person in the house has just graduated from school or university. The town scape is dominated by a large windmill, called De Nijverheid (“Industry"). It runs a powerful woodfire oven and bakes rustic bread as well as brewing beer.

Day two of super strong winds, and the boat moored behind has been deserted by their crew. Therefor we are still stuck; we haven’t got enough space to turn around and to manoeuvre backwards past the other boat going through the narrow harbour exit would be too dangerous. This morning while watching the wind we even had to put our heater on to keep warm.

Eventually, just before lunchtime the wind calmed down. We took our chances and with heart in hand backed out into the choppy river. Well done  Captain Aussie!!

Our trials were not over yet. When trying to move away from a holding pier at a lock, the wind was so strong again that it took 3 attempts to get clear of the pontoon. Even controlling the Freshwater inside the lock needed both of us hanging onto the ropes for dear life.

Feeling better now after some chicken soup on the run, we are heading towards Heusden hoping for a windbreak there. We now know why windmills work so well in The Netherlands!

© Austin Robinson 2019