From Mettlach we followed the big Saar loop up the river to the yacht harbour of Merzig. The weather wasn’t brilliant, but we arrived relatively dry and tied up at the large carpeted guest pontoon. Mooring fees at the harbour are quite steep, probably due to the multitude of nearby holiday activities like the indoor/outdoor pool with sauna, waterslides and health centre, a beach volleyball court, a Trampoline world, 2 restaurants and boat hire.

The 20 minute walk to the old city along a busy road I found quite unpleasant - or maybe it was the rain? Just before the old town centre, coming of the bridge crossing, is a shopping centre with the supermarket “Kaufland”. I had only been in one of these shops before, and this one is as confusing. There is absolutely no logic or even enticement to purchase “more than one absolutely needs” that I can see, which might be a good thing. The shop has a kind of oneway system, so you better don’t backtrack or you’ll get lost! Maybe its the Sydney IKEA model - ever got lost in IKEA???

The centre of town has a nice pedestrian area with a variety of restaurants, shops and cafes. There are a mixture of styles represented in the old buildings from Romanic, Baroque and Renaissance to Art Nouveau. Along a small stream crossed by many bridges is a historic water wheel. The town seemed almost abandoned until we reached the Church Square where a vintage car show took place. This was the second car show we visited in as many weeks! The first one was in Saarbrücken with John, and Austin found “his” car! It was the same Opel GT Austin misguidedly bought in 1978 in Munich to travel through Asia with, the gearbox of which sat in the room of my apartment in various stages of disassembly. I prefer the old VWs and Mercedes’.

Now, after the rain, “Kaufland” and the car show, nothing really cheered me up - that is -until we received two messages. No. 1 was from our favs Sue and Rob on the Beau Jolie, telling us that they would be in Merzig the next day. Yeah! We hadn’t seen them since Strassburg in 2014. And No.2 was a message from lovely Lucy and Max: “ Lets have a party! We are bored!” 

So the next day there was the usual warm hello from Rob and Sue and a short time later Max and Lucy arrived by car as their boat has a few “minor” problems, reminding me of one of those Russian dolls: you take one layer apart and there is another one, and another, etc. etc….

And a party we had! Starting on the Freshwater with welcome drinks, followed by more drinks and XL burgers in the “Brauhaus” ( Brewery), followed by a few drinks to cheer on the America’s Cup back on the Freshwater.

Understandably, the next day, we were a little late setting off towards Saarlouis where we had a dinner appointment with our friends Aileen and Grahame on “Le Jeanne Laurence”. 

The rain was really coming down hard again and the current grew stronger. 

We slalomed through a floating forest of branches, logs and whole tree trunks.

Arriving at Saarlouis we realised that the description in the towns brochure of ”Place for 6 boats” was slightly exaggerated.

The pontoon was more than 2/3s taken up by our friends boat and another smaller one. No sign of Aileen and Grahame, so we cheekily moored by piggy-backing alongside them.

Anyhow it all worked out when with our friends help we shuffled the boats around a bit and created space for the Freshwater.

Aileen cooked a beautiful Turkish Chicken Dish and we had a wonderful night exchanging experiences and ideas about boating and life in general.

Now all these friends, Lucy, Max, Sue, Rob, Aileen and Grahame come from New Zealand - there can’t be many left there! And as Austin says, we only hope the last one leaving turned the light off!

© Austin Robinson 2019