Final leg of our 2009 journey - Belgium

 

Endellion Home Page

 

Our aim

To travel through the Ardennes to our winter mooring spot back at Nieuwpoort in Belgium. This section covers the Belgium leg from Dinant to Nieuwpoort. We will travel on several waterways:

1.     Currently on La Meuse River at Namur

2.     Turning off for the Sambre to Charleroi

3.     Canal Charleroi-Bruxelles to Seneff

4.     Canal du Centre to Peronnes

5.     Along the Escaut river to Bossuit

6.     Canal Bossuit-Kortrijk to Kortrijk

7.     River Leie to Gent

8.     Gent-Oostende canal to Plassendale

9.     Canal Plassendale-Nieuwpoort to Nieuwpoort (VVW Westhoek)

 

The Journey

This is one of the most exciting stretches coming up. Highlights include amazing scenery and

·         An open and working smelter which is also a lock.

·         A funicular lift that will take us down almost as many floors as our building in Sydney (27).

·         Being ‘run over’ by a huge commercial barge.

·         The deepest locks .. at 12.5 metres (drop in this case).

·         Heaps of great swing bridges, especially around Bruges and Gent, but luckily operated for us.

 

Dates: 23rd July to 21st August, 2009

 

Distance: 377 kilometres

 

Locks: 42

 

Swing Bridges and other ‘actions’: 23

Contents

Final leg of our 2009 journey - Belgium.. 1

From 23rd July at Givet to 28th July at Namur 1

From 29th July at Namur to 30th July near Seneff. 7

From 30th July at Seneff to 2nd August at Antoing. 11

From 5th August at Antoing to 11th August at Deinze. 14

From 11th August at Deinze to home at Nieuwpoort by 21st August 18

 

Previous waterway section: Attigny to Givet 2nd to 20th July

 

Route map Rethel to Nieuwpoort web.png

Map from PC Navigo

From 23rd July at Givet to 28th July at Namur

 

 

We entered into Belgium just around the bend from Givet, new flag flying, heading for Dinant which is only about 25 kilometres and four locks away. Not far from Givet, across into Belgium, we stop to fuel at a river-side service with small supermarket. This time we could pump the diesel straight into our two tanks .. no mess! Juggling 20 litre drums, as we had to do in Pont a Bar, is not nice.

 

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Coming in to Dinant .. the stunning rock faced hills. Belgium flag flying.

Rocher Bayard – that rocky needle is 40m/131ft high, rising steeply up from the river.

 

You certainly can’t miss Rocher Bayard (Rock Bayard) named after the horse of the legendary four sons of Haimon (mentioned in previous section at Monthermé). The legend says .. Fleeing from Charlemagne they all crossed the river in one mighty jump, thereby splitting the rocky needle with its hooves. In fact a thoroughfare was blown through the rocks in 1698!

 

We found a good mooring on the first bend coming in to Dinant by the casino. There was one gap in the railing that allowed us to place the ramp from stern deck to pavement, perfect!

 

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Looking down on Collegiale ‘onion’ domes and the telepherique which of course was not accessible having six or seven steps up to the base. So we took the very long walk/scoot all the way to the top via the road.

The town is squeezed along the banks of the river hedged in by the cliff. It’s not easy to get about and there are very few accessible restaurants, other than some in the open area of the river bank, either too hot, too wet or closed!

 

Onwards down river with beautiful sights all the way to our next stop not far away ..

 

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A wonderful potter down river .. Beautiful valley, lush green with grand houses peeping through and shining in the late sunshine. We find a delightful mooring place .. no-one around .. seems a great discovery, this is Riviere.

 

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Moored at Riviere

We didn’t know it but this peace and quiet will be transformed tomorrow!

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We feel a little anxious when we see a man with a ladder – installing speakers in the tree adjacent to our mooring.

And even more worried when someone delivers a porta-loo right outside too.

After a restless night due to a constant stream of passing vehicles and people talking, at 6.00am we see we are virtually surrounded.

 

It was just by chance we pulled up in Riviere  (on La Meuse still) and didn't know for some time that there is a big music festival in this town today, let alone it meant we'd be surrounded by junk (a huge flea market). Despite this it’s very beautiful here as there is a big mist flowing over the river and hiding the steep cliffs around us. It should be quite a hot day. We're looking forward to the day but not sure if Stewart can get access through the stalls.

 

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That’s Endellion in there behind the stalls .. not easy access now.

The crowds run for several kilometres along the river bank.

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The Riviere fete under way beneath me – from the high ridge above Profondeville, just down river.

I read: the main event of the festival is the bike jump into the Meuse, a "sport" unique in Europe.

Punishment Park (cover band of Indochina) – the main act.

 

This was all more than we wanted... we thought we’d found the most supreme spot, so quiet the evening of our arrival and to wake to be surrounded by the biggest flea market I’ve ever seen and more entertainment in one place than we’ve experienced to date was quite a shock. Fun too!

 

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On now for Namur .. this will be the end of our fabulous journey on La Meuse river as it’s here we turn on to the Sambre. It’s only a few hours journey away and just three locks. We pottered past the citadel, heading past our turning onto the Sambre river and turned to moor at the foot of the citadel .. but could see this is not a good spot with signs pointing out limited spaces for bateau de plaisance (boats like ours) as mostly this space was for commercial boats. On the other side of the river is the marina that had several spaces available but looked too small for us. I cycled around and it was confirmed, yes, you can’t pull in here .. but the Capitaine contacted the marina we passed a little while ago, on the other side of the lock, and yes they had a place for us. The Plage de Amee marina is excellent – and has free wi-fi.

 

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The gorgeous Meuse river continues to delight us ..

We turn towards the Namur citadel and head back up to the river to the marina Plage de Amee.

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Provincial Government of Wallonia.

Cathedral St Aubain.

Mooring at Plage de Amee.

 

We love Namur .. full life, great street-side restaurants, fabulous buildings and museums – and the citadel we will visit next time. We now leave the Meuse and head along the Sambre .. the end of these short travel days with good moorings .. we now have quite long stretches in store because there are fewer facilities for a boat like ours (bigger than a cruiser the more common pleasure boat, but much smaller than the big commercial barges. And the Sambre is scenically very different from the Meuse ..

 

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From 29th July at Namur to 30th July near Seneff

 

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First we pass the Sambre, turn and go back up the Meuse towards the citadel where we turn off on the Sambre (to right).

Abbey of Floreffe – hereafter along the Sambre we have mostly factories and silos to look at!

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Curious plants – what do they make?

Saw a sign for ’Solvay’ a plastics and pharmaceutical company.

Perhaps this white material is caustic soda flakes or by-product?

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Long waits at locks as the commercial barges take precedence.

This lock, Salzinnes, is extremely slow to fill (we’re now rising again) and has an unusual ‘gate’ system which slides in from the side rolling or pulled by rigging hanging overhead.

We’re moored overnight (above) at a great pontoon at Auvelais but totally inaccessible given it’s down a very steep bank.

 

We left Namur just before 9.00am and planned to stop near Floreffe for our lunch break but couldn’t find the safe mooring matching the description in our guide. This has often been the case .. long stretches of canal or river with no safe mooring unless you are a massive commercial barge (huge bollards spaced very far apart) or a small cruiser. We settled for a mooring at a cliff edge in Floreffe under the Abbey. The bollards are so widely placed and were so high up that the ropes are stretched to their full length – not a good mooring but OK for lunch and loo break. And luckily by 3.45pm we found a solid pontoon with cleats and bollards sensibly spaced for a very safe overnight mooring at Auvelais .. not marked in our guide book. This seems to be a favourite spot for fishermen .. no other boats today.

 

This part of our journey is very ‘hard work’ as we just have to keep going through this very industrial area, no safe moorings (or next to none) and high banks which mean we can’t see much of the countryside. And even if we found a good mooring there is no way we could get a ramp up the steep banks to get the wheelchair off.

 

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High banks along the river and a lot of graffiti.

Busy loading .. sometimes grain, often recycled product.

Piles of silver bricks (recycled aluminium perhaps).

 

 

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Through the centre of Charleroi

Heading straight into the lock at Charleroi, called Marcinelle – it’s part of the steel works.

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This is the lock-side mooring.

As the water rises we watch the eerie workings beside us.

Not a sole to be seen but we hear machinery working around us.

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We didn’t see one person as we passed through here, but heard lots of clanking and hissing and were conscious of a strong acrid smell.

Rusting scrap iron in heaps everywhere .. behind the river there must be a nice town there somewhere – looking at the church spire. The banks are bit too high for us to see beyond the water.

 

This is the strangest lock we’ve come across, the ‘Marcinelle Lock‘, which is right in the centre of, or is in fact, the actual steel works. It’s hard to imagine this huge complex surviving many more years as most of the vast structures are rusting away. Apparently it is still a working business. For a wonderful photo essay of the steel works and slag heaps around Charleroi, visit the StahlArt (steel art) Cockerill Sambre steel works website. In the middle of this strange place we had to make a sharp, somewhat concealed turn, into the Charleroi-Bruxelles canal to Seneff.

 

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Now off the River Sambre and onto the Canal Charleroi-Bruxelles.

Ėcluse de Gosselies behind us, another 7 metre drop.

Finally we find some lovely stretches of water and countryside.

 

Seven meter locks no problem as there are floating bollards .. well, if you are able to be in the middle. We traveled all three locks with a péniche – the first lock being shorter by 2.5 meters (at 85 meters) left very little room at bow and stern, we had to stay firmly in place. Central rope and stern rope seemed to work although the water transfer was very gentle, thankfully. As our péniche neighbour said, in very good English, these are old locks and for ‘us’ they are not good. I think by that he’s saying he can understand how I felt.

 

Arrived by 7.00pm at ADEPS Yacht Haven, near Seneff - very narrow entrance , no place for us, kids in their kayaks playing water netball or similar. Moored by the slipway on a short piece of pontoon and a piece of jetty where the geese spend heaps of time (judging by the mess). Not ideal at all but all we could find. The fingers, several being free, are only six or seven meters long. No-one comes to help although a man is sitting on the stern of his boat nearby – and another on his cruiser looks on and doesn’t move.

 

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Finally moored just after 7.00pm – not a good spot although a charming marina.

Geese are put out with our position on their wobbly pontoon – keeping us alert all night!

 

Finally and with some difficulty we are moored safely enough to visit the Capitainerie – I note I am five minutes after their closing time (7.05pm) but two men sit adjacent to the Capitaine who is behind a desk and greets me brightly: “Welcome” I asked if the way we have moored (on a completely inappropriate section of pontoon but the only space we could find) is OK and his answer .. “if you’re happy, I’m happy”. He was a delight!

 

Our mooring seems very clearly to be the nesting spot for the geese and they made it very clear we were not wanted! Staring us down (through the windows) and hissing at us, stretching their necks and pointing their beaks in a menacing manner! Unfortunately it is such a small space in here it isn’t very good for us .. but thank goodness we could find somewhere off the canal where the huge péniches are constantly running and there are no moorings out there.

 

We can just turn in this small space to avoid having to reverse back out on to the canal (Charleroi-Bruxelles) – we have with only a kilometre or so to go to our turn off for the Canal du Centre. 

 

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From 30th July at Seneff to 2nd August at Antoing

 

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Long stretches of well maintained canal.

Porte de garde du Blanc Pain – flood control gate.

500 meter long aqueduct just before the funicular lift.

 

More long straight stretches of well-maintained canal, under the very impressive looking Porte de garde du Blanc Pain, across the 500 metre long aqueduct and we can now see the massive structure of the Ascenseur Funiculaire de Strépy ahead of us.  It was quite strange trying to work out what we do here .. never done anything like this before and our guide doesn’t help at all. We radio and at least are given advice to wait for around 30 minutes, and then we saw the lights change and presumed it’s time to enter.

 

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Ascenseur Funiculaire de Strepy dark inside.jpg

Ascenseur Funiculaire de Strépy .. 73 meters drop (in our case, ie, descending) .. coming up.

Inside the lock.. dark  – only one other boat with us, a classic steam tug.

 

View from the top (below middle photo) helps appreciate just how far down we have to go. Once we pull inside the right lock (on this occasion) and tie off we have plenty of time to wander around as we wait for something to happen. We’re joined by one other charming classic steam tug and after fifteen minutes or more there is a noise like being in a hanger with a jet starting its engines! Huge noise and it’s very clear we’re under way .. you can see the hills behind us moving.. and the big ‘window’ (seen in photo above right and middle below) is widening lengthways. This is the most fantastic way of getting down a big hill! No effort on my side .. we tie off on the bollards and the whole ‘bucket’ drops down with us in it so nothing more to do until we get to the bottom. I found a YouTube video on the whole process of this lift and the neighbouring one, ie, the hydraulic lift on the Canal de Historique.

 

The PC Navigo screen shot to left below shows our amazing trip from Nieuwpoort from way back in May and now heading back to Nieuwpoort, almost 1,000 kilometres and in particular it is showing the heights and drops of locks. The sheer vertical line on right is this  funicular lift, and the line before it, in middle of screen, is the rise via the 27 locks from Le Chesne.  This one, Ascenseur Funiculaire de Strépy .. 73 meters drop (in our case, ie, descending) .. that’s huge. I had to think about how many locks it would have taken at the fairly standard 2.5 meters, almost 30 locks (like the manual section Le Chesne)! The rise, for example, on the Ardennes (the flight of 27 locks, was 80 meters and over a distance of 15 kilometres). It is a stunning structure .. approached via the recently completed aqueduct.

 

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Ascenseur Funiculaire de Strepy .jpg

PC Navigo screen shot: Nieuwpoort to Nieuwpoort

View from the top from the end of the ‘lock’.

View of the structure from the bottom, behind us now.

 

On again and soon we are into one of the huge locks .. ten meters, but all should have been fine as they had floating bollards. However, we had to go through with a péniche and this meant no floating bollards available as we had to squeeze into the very front of the lock. Awful time trying to get stern rope onto floating bollard, central rope on same and bow rope on bollard right up by the gate. Had to put bow rope on first to stop us dropping back onto the péniche. Then stern to stop us floating into gate, central rope to stop us swing out at stern – a huge juggle of ropes. Then hold the bow and readjust it to a lower bollard as we dropped 10 meters, with boats only a few meters away. Phew!

 

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The monster Pro Veritate – a rare idiot péniche captain (tried to run us over), leaving écluse d’Havre behind us.

Looking back at the bridges, on the bend, where he overtook us.

 

The monster Pro Veritate fully loaded who follows us out of the huge (10 metre drop)  écluse d'Havre.. little did we know what was ahead..

 

There’s only a short run to the next lock but there are a few bridges soon after we exit the above lock and with the péniche well back behind us we agree it’s best to get through the bridge (where it narrows and it would be dangerous for overtaking) before pulling aside to let it pass.

 

However, this very slow-moving fully laden péniche picked up speed and just before the bridge, at the narrowest part, started overtaking us. As he increased speed he created a huge bow wave which hit us just as he was overtaking us under the bridge (the narrowest point) which funneled all the water into the narrow gap making an even bigger bow wave which sucked us in towards the péniche and then left us surfing down the wash and surging towards to bank with rudder out of control (probably out of the water). We first thought we were going to crash into the barge as it sucked us into it, and saw the faces of the wife and daughter on board with expressions of total shock and panic. They could see what was happening, dad at controls couldn’t give a hoot .. or didn’t realise. Mum with her head out of the wheelhouse looking down at us .. daughter looking out from room below deck through the curtain.. they could see what has been created. The péniche surged on by and we almost did a 180 degrees into the canal bank, on the wash, until Stewart finally got Endellion under control and facing the right way ..  we decided to pull up for lunch immediately after – all too much.

 

This is the first time we have experience bad behaviour (actually dangerous) from a commercial vessel .. every other péniche captain has been extremely helpful (like the double péniche who towed us off the mud at Wambrechies) and considerate. So watch out for Pro Veritate! Keep well away if you can. Over lunch we recover and make the short run into Mons by 4.40pm in time for a beautiful evening with full moon.

 

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Clubhouse at Mons

Mons marina is a manmade basin in the middle of a long stretch of canal.

Harbourmasters Office overlooking marina.

 

Finally arriving at Mons – the marina big and way off from the canal in a basin, we navigated around the yellow markers to the clear sign ‘Bazoekers’ or ‘Visiteurs’ pontoon and spotted a place probably long enough, for us. But then we spotted a woman (just as we had pulled in) shouting at us .. no (in French) and on asking where can we moor, she saying she couldn't speak English.. we trying some French .. we decided we had therefore to travel on again into the canal and perhaps find a commercial barge mooring noted in the guide. However, just as we are leaving we are called in to a residential mooring space, thankfully we can overnight here. In fact we didn’t enjoy this marina at all .. it was accessible (when we finally found a pontoon we were allowed to moor on) but the staff at the clubhouse and the harbourmaster office were very miserable people (a rare experience). There are few choices along the Canal du Central .. next is Peronnes which we make for one night.

 

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Finally, a floating bollard (on port side) which I can tie off to my central cleat and drop the 12.5 metres with no hassle.

Peronnes harbour – another interesting water section at the junction of the Canal du Centre and the Escaut which we join tomorrow.

Restaurant and Harbourmasters Office at Peronnes

 

In the morning we head off for a very short run to Antoing, just one lock only 5.6m deep. A great town .. definitely one to return to .. and excellent mooring. From here we made a day trip to Tournai although not easy to get there (trains not accessible and few buses are so a very long wait to return) – some great buildings in Tournai but many not accessible and the cathedral was closed for renovation.

 

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Coming into Antoing along the Escaut.

Excellent port de Plaisance at Antoing.

Fantastic Chateau des Princes de Ligne – the current generation prince still uses this as one of his residences. A fabulous tour.

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From 5th August at Antoing to 11th August at Deinze

 

 

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Looking down on the Port de Plaisance at Antoing, on the right bank  there is a fuel barge and chandlery.

Passing through Tournai – the very efficient lift bridge is right in the centre of town so we travel in convoy to reduce disruption to traffic.

.. going under the ancient Pont des Trous, built in 1281, 1290 or 1329 (take your pick – it’s old!).

 

A very pleasant run on this stretch of river (L’Escaut or Scheldt) all the way to Bossuit where we read in the Belgium Waterways book “Bossuit yacht haven .. mooring on fingers and alongside.. electricity and water” and thought this a good place to moor overnight. However, there was nothing except a concrete bank with cleats fitted.. an overgrown bank (not accessible) and slipway. What is the story? Never mind ..we found a good mooring above the Bossuit lock and had a very pleasant meal at the VVV Westvlaamse tourist office cafe/restaurant.

 

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The phantom mooring at Bossuit on the Escaut side described in our guide as having electricity and water and an excellent mooring. There are a couple of cleats here but that’s all and not accessible.

Our mooring above the lock at Bossuit (from Escaut) ahead of this Tjalk. A fantastic pontoon, no water or electricity but easy access. However .. water skiing school right beside us!

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Water skiing right beside us on our very good pontoon.

Water skiing club house.

Very pleasant canal-side restaurant and

 

We had a very pleasant run through this canal (Bossuit-Kortrijk) in stunning sunshine and not too hot. Two huge automated locks a breeze and then three manual locks,  we haven’t seen this type for a very long time.

 

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Perfect weather on the Bossuit-Kortrijk canal

Two locals operate the first of the flight of three manual locks.

Finally – three hours later, we get the last kilometre into Kortrijk.

 

It took us the best part of three hours to get through these three locks which were very close together. Extremely hard work for the lock keepers so I can imagine these are the least-popular locks with travelers and keepers! Our keeper (David we think) was very helpful although somewhat put out that two local old timers decided to operate the first manual lock for us. This did put us in the middle of the set which put other boats out of sync. We should, apparently, have waited but there were no bollards to moor off to and holding Endellion in the narrow windy canal wasn’t easy (the sides of the canal are not a good place to be as there is either mud, rocks or rubbish which isn’t very friendly). We think our locals saw our dilemma and decided to help out (they could well be ex-lock-keepers)!

 

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These classic lock gates are similar to those on most of the waterways in the UK. They’re at the end/beginning of the Bossuit-Kortrijk canal from the Leie river in Kortrijk and where we moored for one night as this also gave us good access to get off to explore the city.

Moored at Town Quays right in the centre of Kortrijk but this is not accessible – neither is the other Port de Plaisance where we stayed on our trip through here in June.

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Our second mooring on the outskirts of Kortrijk .. no water or electricity but accessible and with lovely neighbours who keep this bank so nicely mown.

Google map of Kortrijk shows the two marinas in the town and the Bossuit-Kortrijk canal entrance on the right just under the main bridge. We moored (left photo) on the outskirts of town by the traffic lights for the most accessible place.

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From 11th August at Deinze to home at Nieuwpoort by 21st August

 

 

From Deinze to Gent along the River Leie we had a fantastic trip, incredibly bendy, narrow, bushy and delightful.

 

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Through the Deinze lift bridge continuing on the river Leie, not the canal section into Gent.

Moored just through the lift bridge at Deinze .. we couldn’t find a better place – no access.

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The river Leie starts out nice and wide and straight .. soon it is anything but!

Through the lift bridge at Astene – our lock-keeper arrived soon after 10.00am.

 

The lift bridge and open lock-keeper seems to fit with this old world experience .. a chap who arrived wearing a waistcoat (below), slow and methodical, at 10.00am (well, soon after) as promised, ie, we arrived to see it closed and no-one around. Had to call the lock keeper number and were told, yes, someone should be there at 10.00am when it is manually opened. But we didn’t know we had to be there at a certain time.. lucky for us we arrived exactly at this time.

 

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Lift bridge at Astene is manually operated and opens on the hour.

Rather rickety pontoons at the Astene marina.

Very pleasant riverside restaurants here and there.

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Cattle grazing and across the field is the meandering river, boat roof visible.

It becomes narrower, bushier and windier as we get closer to Gent.

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Very bendy Leie Google satellite shot of a section.

Mooring possibility at St Martens.

Moored at St Martens-Latem for lunch break.

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Church at St Martens-Latem

Grand houses, gardens and people with a sense of humour.

Crossing the Ringvaart.

 

While "Latem" used to be known as an artists' colony before World War II, nowadays St Martens-Latem is one of the most residential municipalities in Belgium. We are now only 10km south-west of Ghent .. by road anyway. If we come this way again, and we’d like to, it may be possible to moor at St Martens-Latem pontoon .. although there is a sign stating a large space has to be reserved for a tourist boat .. we didn’t see it but read that this stretch of water, the Leie, is very busy in the summer months.

 

Crossing the Ringvaart was daunting, coming so serenely along the Leie until around the bend we see the bridge and the Ringvaart and at that moment a huge péniche goes roaring past. Wow, I think, we need to get this right as we have to shoot across this major junction and could get run over, literally. I go to the bow just as another péniche, coming the other way, roars by and two big cruisers come in behind it and turn under the bridge towards Gent where we are heading. Luckily, all is now clear and we shoot safely across.

 

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The canal winding its way into the heart of Gent.

Our first mooring (one night) at Gent Centrum .. accessible onto the pontoon but not from there to the bank – so it’s no good for us but a lovely marina.

 

We checked the other marina in the centre of the city, ie, Portus Ganda and yes they had a mooring for us which is accessible so we had a fabulous tour through the heart of the city along the old canals to our new mooring which will be ideal as we will be here several days.

 

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Canal-side restaurants .. we could probably moor and eat here.

Narrow but charming.

We think we’re heading in the right direction.

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Here we are moored at Portus Ganda .. excellent and lovely neighbours too.

I think Gent is our favourite city – full of life and vitality (a university city) and not just tourism.

 

We’re nearly at the end of our 2008/2009 journey – we meet my dear niece Jac and her friend Isobel who will travel with us for a week .. and cook us dinner one night! Soon we will be in Bruges (for the second time) and travel back to Nieuwpoort on familiar waters.

 

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Leaving Gent behind us .. well we travel around it then on to Bruges.

Niece Jac watching the world slip by .. on stern deck.

A beautiful sunny day as we glide along to Bruges.

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Stewart’s at the wheel (through the central window), Jac and Isobel with life jackets enjoy fresh air.

Coming into Bruges through a swing bridge.

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Moored at the Coupure in the heart of Bruges.

Further along the coupure – not boats, just swans. Jac and Isobel love it.

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Wandering around the great city of Bruges.

Culinary delights on offer.

Jac (left) doing the taste test. Yes.. mmm.

 

One of the delights of being a few days in Bruges, in the baking heat (around 30 degrees C) is exploring the gorgeous city .. and having a meal cooked for us by niece Jac and her friend Isobel: cooking .. onions making Isobel’s mascara run down her cheeks! “Do you have any garlic, I forgot to buy it”... always a good call. Yes we do. Jac chopping carrots, much easier than onions (on the eyes anyway).  A really delicious meal with curly pasta (perfectly al dente), freshly made tomato sauce with lots of onion and one clove of garlic, carrots (“they’re crunchy, they won’t cook”) and courgette with tuna.

 

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Busy bees.. and happy tanned people.

Delicious .. we had mussels and other meals around town but tonight eating in is a delight.

 

We say goodbye to our girls .. they’re off by train from Bruges to Brussels and then fly back to Cornwall via Exeter. It’s been a real treat to have their company and now it’s back to the two of us to make the trip over familiar waters into Nieuwpoort and our winter berth at VVW Westhoek.

 

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Leaving Coupure harbour the lift bridge rolls up to let us onto the Gent-Oostende canal.

Stunning day .. a few lift bridges..

A few windmills and we’re almost home.

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The impressive Jabbeke lift bridge in action.

Final run into Nieuwpoort along the Plassendale-Nieuwpoort canal at Leffingebrug, one of our favourite towns.

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Final sluice St Jorris for this year brings us into the broad water of Spaarbekken Basin

Endellion in her winter berth at VVW Westhoek marina at Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

 

A perfect place for Endellion to over-winter, snuggled in by De Spits who will leave soon and in comes Daan’s barge from the Gravensluis moorings. We have a lovely Capitaine (Guy) and great neighbours.

 

 

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