Currently we are a little confused about which country we are in and which language to speak.

After asking for permission to enter a lock in a mixture of German, English and French, the Dutch lock keeper politely responded over the VHF radio: “Freshwater, are you speaking English???”

We just had come back from spending wonderful days with my family in Germany while our bow thruster was being repaired in the Netherlands. To drive to Germany and see my loved ones was a sudden decision taking advantage of being so close by.

In a comedy of errors we ended up taking my 96 yr old mum and her 88 yr old friend to a pub instead of a refined café,but both ladies seemed to enjoy the experience. 

On our last day we visited the historic  “Friedenssaal”(Hall of Peace) in Münster. From my sister-in-law, Vera, we learned that this room played a major role in the peace negotiations leading to a diplomatic end of the Thirty Year War in 1648. 

Unfortunately our time in Germany was way too short.

On our way back to the Netherlands we had a flying visit with our friends Mareike and Hartmut. Sitting on their sunny terrace we enjoyed catching up, and were spoilt with delicious food.

As promised by the Dutch shipyard owner Guido Willems, our boat was ready to go when we arrived on Friday afternoon, and we powered along to our next stop at the harbour of Maasbracht. A gated new marina for pleasure boats is located immediately on the right side past the lock. It didn’t take long for the harbourmaster to show his face and inform us of internet and gate access. 

Maasbracht is the biggest inland harbour of the Netherlands. Along the harbour side esplanade you’ll find some interesting sculptures, 3 chandleries and a few restaurants. The Greek restaurant, recommended by none else but our Greek harbourmaster, has tables on both sides of the road to the peril of the waiters dodging the traffic. The food was excellent, and after a warning of our friendly harbourmaster, I kept quiet about my German heritage. Apparently the Germans are to blame for Greece’s current predicament!?? Call me a coward but I didn’t want my food spat on! 

After the short break at Maasbracht and refuelling at "the cheapest Diesel barge in Holland", we turned into the smaller side canals Wessem Nederweert and Zuid-Willemsvaart and crossed the boarder back into Belgium. Tonight we are staying on a free tree-lined mooring at Sint Huibrechts-Lille, a small village in Flanders with its very own windmill.

© Austin Robinson 2019