Friday 17 June to Sunday 19 June 2016
Happy Birthday Sian for the 17th!
Another Belgium morning – grey, drizzle and a big muddy river flowing fast…but we are committed to leaving.
A load of washing done, a last vacuum of the leftover electricity and it’s lines aweigh and off we go, through the first lock, a wave farewell to Neeltje whose owners we will meet somewhere I’m sure, rained through the next lock and nearly blown onto the bank on exit,
and the GPS speed drops from 9.5kph at 1,800rpm to 3.5rpm. Eeish but I’m having visions of the current catching our bow and Elle spinning top-like back to Namur. But we plod on and eventually after 20 kilometers, four locks and five hours we slide into the delightful Port de Plaisance Yvoir, sodden green lawns and many Spurwing geese and their monkey sized poo. And the sun comes out and everything starts steaming – gotta love Belgium!
One condolence was that after lock #2 it stopped raining and we can now understand why this is called one of the most beautiful waterways in Europe – for us, and despite the iffy weather, it is definitely the most beautiful we have navigated.
The quay at Yvoir is small and populated mostly by half a dozen small motor boats, a smallish cruiser and ourselves.
The harbour master comes to take our money and then continues with sweeping the goose poo into a scooper. A walk around the delightful setting shows a clubhouse offering frites and other light meals and the coolest little chain ferry which, if you have paid your mooring fees and key deposit, you can use to cross to the town and back again (”Please return the ferry to the island side for security”).
|The chain ferry - Elle is moored extreme right.|
No turbulence from barrages or passing biggies gives us a great night’s sleep – we just need to figure out how to switch off the train-crossing alarm which rings intermittently right through the night; this is apparently quite a busy freight line between Brussels, Namur and Luxembourg.
The nearby town is pretty and sparklingly clean so we decide to spend two nights here.
One of the reasons we have for being in Yvoir is that there is a rarity here - a snail farm where they breed the 'petit-gris' snail; they are only open to individual visitors on Saturdays at 16h00 which is the day and time when Belgium heavens drop copious amounts of water on passing cyclists.
But the presentation was most informative (only buy processed snails with the description 'helix' on the container or you will likely be purchasing bits of the giant snail like those we get in Durban) and we departed with a selection of product including petit-gris soup which Lynn embellished and which was our supper.
|4 times more protein than meat and no cholesterol.|
|The breeding ground for adult snails.|
Sunday morning is dry but decidedly cool at 13C (did we mention that it is almost Midsummer’s Day) and we take a ride to Dinant to assess the mooring situation. Not much space available and the city looks a bit ‘gritty’ made more so by the bleak skies and the roadworks along the waterside, so we head back to our little port and will spend another night here, departing for Dinant tomorrow morning and, if there is no mooring available, we will keep going until we find something, even if it is in Givet (that’s in FRANCE!).
With bright sun outside it is time to find the Weber and prepare summer food for a late lunch - cuisse de poulet, pork and beef sausage, potatoes in garlic and butter, and a salad. Yum!
'Til next time.