Finding our Meuse

Winding our way down the Sambre from Manage to the river Meuse at Namur, we turned into the current of the swollen waterway. For the next 143 kilometers we would be pushing against the run off from the extraordinary rainfall in the northeast parts of France and the southeast parts of Belgium. We skipped by both Namur and Dinant, having been there previously, but also so we could more quickly arrive at the Canal des Ardennes in France. Once there we’d be out of the current. It’s 46 kilometers to the French border, then 97 kilometers in France. We must traverse some 40 locks, each of which takes at least 20 minutes.

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Rain followed us much of the way. Combined with the strong, sometimes intimidating current, it created a darkened mood over the journey. When the rain lifted and the current fell off or disappeared when we were in the short canals after locks, the mood turned around, even if briefly. Getting to the Ardennes promised a more pleasant experience.

The Meuse cuts a path through a hilly region

After a grinding week we entered the Canal des Ardennes. We were greeted by a friendly woman at the fuel dock. We topped up our fuel and water tanks, then docked in front of the lock per her instructions as it is a no mooring zone. Then we went straight for the one bar in this tiny collection of businesses, houses, rent boats and private small craft. A few people live on their boat, in addition to perhaps a few dozen residents. Bigger towns lie ahead, through dozens of locks, including 21 locks in the space of just seven kilometers as we climb the hills.

Mansions along the way
Approaching the first lock
It’s a one bar town.

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