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  • Bill and Nancy

August 2001

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

Do you remember your first car trip after learning how to drive? Instead of just going across town, imagine that you went from San Francisco to New York. And instead of driving a car, imagine that you were driving an 18 wheeler. You would be sure to have an exciting trip. That's how it was for us.

Our first night in Namur, Belgium, when we saw the fireworks, we felt as though that was a fitting welcome for beginning drivers who had come a long way and learned so much during their first voyage.

It took us about two months to reach our destination in Belgium, and there is not room enough on the Internet to tell all our incredible adventures. Over dinner some night, ask us to tell the story of the optical illusion that caused us to think we were sinking. Can two people qualify for mass hysteria?

This cruise was a storybook adventure, and when we arrived in Belgium, we found it to be a storybook-beautiful country. Namur is located at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers. There is a citadel overlooking the city, and from there, the views are magnificent. We happened to arrive on July 21st, their Independence Day, hence the fireworks. There was also a huge flea market along the river, music in the air, and a festival atmosphere.

The next weekend we traveled to Dinant, another ancient city along the Meuse River with a citadel to protect the city. While touring the fortress, we learned that the fort did not provide too much protection in this case. Over the centuries, enemies brought down this town more times than the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square.

On this particular weekend, though, the sun was shining in this resort town, and summer was in full swing. A live band played under the bridge for full acoustic effect and smiling people strolling along the river soaking up the sun and the atmosphere.

We found a great place to moor along a row of outdoor cafés. Dinner was just two steps away, and the people watching was fun. Resort towns attract people from all over, so it was fun to sit on our back deck and identify the country of origin of the passing tourists. Mission accomplished. We had our barge measured in Dinant, and we now have detailed drawings depicting our widest, narrowest, longest, highest, deepest points.

We traveled south on the Meuse, a river with one pretty little village after another. We passed many beautiful riverfront homes. The weather was hot, and the river was calm. It was a great vacation.

Our next destination is the Champagne region of France. We hope they will chill a couple of Champagne bottles for us; after this long trip, we'll feel like celebrating.

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