As we sailed further north on the Belgian Meuse, the river widened. We saw the first decent sized barges and locks (100m long and 12m wide).

We had a lovely phone call from our Saint Jean de Losne friends, Jill and Frank. Jill warned us that another heatwave was approaching. 

So when the temperature started to rise above 30 degrees we were well prepared. Fortunately there are no low bridges on this stretch, so we could leave our sunroof up while cruising. We also planned to keep our next few travel segments short. So instead of cruising all the way to Namur we stopped at a place called Profondeville, and moored just behind a barge flying the Aussie flag. We were happy to hand our ropes to the helpful Aussie bargee, Peter. As we got talking, we were invited to join Peter and Ellen and their friend Greg on the ‘Vlinder" for 6pm drinks.

But first we had to go for a dip in the nice cool river! It sizzled when we got in. A few more barges passed  gradually being replaced by speedboats and water-skiers as evening approached. 

Later we sat in the shade of the Vlinders canopy and had an enjoyable evening with the Aussies. Its great meeting so lovely and interesting people along the way. Peter and Ellen were a fountain of knowledge, and gave us good tips for the Belgian waterways and ports.

Next morning we generously let them get away early. We were just not organised enough for an early morning start but followed their trail 2 hours later to the city of Namur.

If our previous tours were all about fairytale castles and churches (...and food and wine), this trip is more about citadels and warfare(..and food and wine). The major attraction of Namur is its massive citadel and the history of wars and sieges which happened there. 

The citadel was built in 3 stages and over as many centuries. Huge walls and tunnels were added to the original castle. In spite of its 5 meter thick, very high walls the citadel was attacked 22 times. Amazingly 18 of the attacks were successful. One of the conquerors was the Sun King, Louis XIV and immediately he had his architect Vauban build a few more tunnels under the 80 hectare grounds. 

As the noon day temperature was approaching 37 degrees we were glad to take a tour of the cool tunnel system with a mere temperature of 10 degrees. But by the time we walked back down to the quay, where our boat was moored, we were as hot as before. So we soon joined swimmers, paddle boarders and motorboats bopping in the “surf” of passing barges. 

The “Turtle rider” is a sculpture of a current Rops/Fabre exhibition in town. If interested go to:

© Austin Robinson 2019