September 11th, 2012 browsing by day


Tuesday Sept 11 Dinant Belgium

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

This makes the 48th country that “Fleetwood” has called at. I passed the Belgian border at 1 p.m. and arrived in Dinant at 16.30 hours. It was a mild cloudy morning. But when I was just entering one of the first Belgian locks the rain came down hard and I did not get a chance to put my rain gear on till after I had tied up in the lock. I was soaked. The Belgian locks are 4 times slower than the automated French locks. This morning I went through one of the last French locks within 8 minutes from the time that I had to decelerate for the lock and get back up to speed after clearing the lock. I was shivering by the time I got to tie the boat up in Dinant. I use a cheap hunters camouflage rain slicker. At least it is water proof which my expensive 1978 foul weather gear is not. As you can see from the pictures the sun came through at the end of the evening to shine on the top of the Dinant citadel.

The very first time I came to Dinant was in 1952, I was barely 15 years. I hitchhiked from Amsterdam on my spring break. Alone. That’s where it all started, this solo business. Later that summer I hitchhiked to Italy, alone. For a 15 year old to see this magnificent site of steep rock cliffs, coming from a country where the highest hill is about 50 feet. By then I had three years of French and I was unable to come up with the French for “left”. Something very basic when visiting a French country. I figured I had slept through this part but when I came back to school I asked all my class mates and we found out that it was not in our vocabulary yet… Now you have GPS. I expect to be in Namur by tomorrow afternoon and start organizing and cleaning the boat for my travel companion. And then be off to Paris on Saturday and come back to Namur on Tuesday evening.

For those less familiar with my life, I lived and worked in Belgium from the end of 1965 till January 1970. I worked for Weyerthaeuser, selling wood products in Europe. Those were 4 wonderful years and I have a soft spot for Belgium and the Belgians. Daughters # 2, Rose Marie was born here in 1968 and Jeannine, #3, in 1969. Rose Marie kept her Belgian nationality.