Cruising the river Maas is easy! There are very few locks to manage and travelling downstream the current was pushing us along nicely. Again we chose to stay at the city marina of Venlo to be in the midst of things, and with the theatre, bars and restaurants along the quay, a footbridge overhead and picnic areas on a small, grassy peninsula separating the marina from the river, we certainly are in the middle of things here!

As a matter of fact, we are like on a stage with plenty of observers watching our every move. Last night, being a Saturday, the youth of town was gathered all around and pretty vocal.

Venlo sits right at the border and we heard as many German voices as Dutch ones. We are just wondering how the noise will be tonight when Germany plays Mexico in the world cup.

No matter what, we should sleep like "the princesses minus the pea” as we acquired a layer of foam to soften our hard mattress, an endeavour which took us right across town and back again - all by foot! 

Much more interesting was walking through the old town centre with facades and buildings from the 16th century, like the Joris Kerk, the impressive Town Hall and the patrician “Romer” house.

The Romans themselves were here in 15 BC. Diggings found evidence of a Roman village, called Sablones, in this very location.

I am sure this casual male "relief- column” on the left is not a relic of those times.

We loved the quaint area around the Keizerstraat, named after none other than Napoleon of course! He visited Venlo in 1804 after he had crowned himself as “Kaiser” (Emperor). The wrought iron fences in the adjoining lane are topped with funny little heads from local folklore stories and characters and enclose a cosy beer garden.

It would be worthwhile touring the Netherlands just to see the thousands of fantastic metal works and statues found in almost every town we have visited.

Then of course there are the delights of softer nature, like the melt in the mouth Gouda, the delicious Dutch apple cakes and the addictive salty/sweet salmiak liquorice. 

The Romer Haus on the left. 

The plaque below could be Napoleon or - anybody. I couldn’t quite translate the embossed words…. something like 'he has bed sheets in his socks'???

Maybe it is Napoleon and refers to his need to heighten his stature with bedsheets???

Any other suggestions??

© Austin Robinson 2019