Mons to Namur

Austin and I arrived safely back in Mons which, having seen 4 major accidents on the Belgian highways, we didn’t take for granted. The Freshwater was dirty but fine. However we learned that our friends Aileen and Grahame had run into trouble again. This time it was their starter motor and they were stuck in Péronnes. So we hopped back in the car the next day and were taken out for lunch at the Péronnes yacht club.

There is not much to talk about the onwards journey from Mons. The Canal du Centre and Canal Brussel-Charleroi didn't impress, neither did the Bass Sambre. We were prepared for long days of cruising as there are very few halts for pleasure boats. The first night we stopped at Sneffe Yacht Club a nice harbour with services and then the next at Auvelais, a pontoon without services and a noisy train overhead. 

Charleroi might have more than the mills, recycle plants and factories to offer, but there are absolutely no moorings suitable for pleasure boats. 

From Auvelais, I would have liked to visit the “Espace de L’homme de Spy”, one of many a caves in the area. There the bones of a Neanderthal man were found. But since it was raining and miserable, and no transport available, I had to deal with the so called "l’Homme Moderne” who milked the fact that it was Fathers Day with no daughters around to spoil him. Luckily just above the mooring was a Lidl so I could hunt for some cave man food for a Fathers Day breakfast. 

After a day’s delay due to lock repairs the sun reappeared and together with the “Hilda" we left in the morning and arrived at Namur, at the confluence of Sambre and Meuse, by lunchtime.

It was nice to be back in this beautiful city with a great view of the citadel from our moorings.

We had a get together with Shirley-Ann and Roger on the Hilda, and shortly after they left the next day Aileen and Grahame on the St.-Jean- Laurent arrived.

The weather turned out perfectly warm and sunny during the day and cool enough at night and in the early mornings to allow a good night’s sleep.

We climbed the many steps to the citadel and explored parts of the old fortress we had missed last year. The citadel museum is fantastic. Photos and Videos in several languages document the geological changes of the area through centuries, from the shift of teutonic plates and receding seas, creating the triangular outcrop, a perfect place for the fortress chosen by the Romans, to the latest additions to the citadel by the Dutch around the 1800s, called the “Terra Nova”.

The city centre has its own charm with a 16th century Belfry, the old opera, townhall and the squares with its restaurants and cafes.

A happy get-together with Aileen and Grahame over a few drinks and dinner concluded our stay.

The next morning we were seen off by the lovely New Zealanders who will be turning up the Meuse while we are heading down river towards the Netherlands. 

© Austin Robinson 2019