Canal Herentals- Bocholt

At the second lock into Belgium we received our new "Rego sticker” which shows that we are permitted to travel through the canals and the locks of Flanders, Belgium. A bargain at 40 Euros for 3 months!

To avoid the commercial traffic of the busy Alberts Canal we chose the smaller Herentals-Bocholt Canal. This canal runs through the "De Kempen" area which is known for its heath, pine forests and variety of wildlife.

If “wildlife” includes flies we surely saw a lot of them! The flies actually hitched a ride with us. Even when we turned into a small side canal they stuck with us! Must have been our sweaty socks! So together we cruised the 9km to the guest mooring of Boat Club “De Blauwe Reiger”(“The Blue Heron”). Blue herons are a very common sight along the canals, but on this canal we only saw lots of different kinds of ducks. Here is a photo for Jaxon: Opi on his boat feeding the duckies! 

The small Canal Beverlo is very pretty. Its water edge is lined with sea roses. To work up an appetite for dinner, we cycled through drizzling summer rain to the dead end of the canal and back.

The next day we rejoined the Herentals-Bocholt Canal and found that the Belgians have a love affair with lift bridges! There were about 4 or 5 of them on a relatively short stretch of canal, something you don’t see much of in France.

We had a really good run down the canal as most of the 10 locks were prepared for us. The lock keepers, each operating two locks plus bridges on this stretch, did this with such a 

speed and efficiency, that waiting times were kept to a minimum. 

The only hold-up on this trip was when Austin saw an ice-cream van near a lock and thought he could beat the lock keeper in time. He had to rush back with two dripping ice cream cones in hand. We both tried to speed-lick while hanging onto our ropes with one hand, the other hand getting stickier by the minute! 

We arrived at Jachthaven Herentals, some 40 kms from our starting point, in the mid afternoon. By then the rain clouds had disappeared and the terrace of the café bar was brimming full with boaters, cyclists and locals. It was the 21st July, National Belgian Day, and everyone was out and about enjoying the sun. Even the local geese made an appearance.

                                                                                                     The “Lakenhal” in Herentals where in former times weavers and cloth makers conducted their business.

We soon joined the crowds and the Belgian beer tasted especially good after a day’s busy cruising.

I finally got my “Moules en Frites” in Herentals - Yum!!!

© Austin Robinson 2019