Our original plan had been a year or two in Belgium followed by a year or two in the Netherlands and then onto explore the inland waterways of France. However restrictions on tourist visas in the Netherlands and length of stay in Europe following Brexit meant a change to those plans. France has granted us 6 months visas which means that we miss out on everything Dutch and look forward to everything French – gone are the tulips, but we welcome the garlic!
Our first hour’s travel was familiar as we found our sea legs (well actually canal legs – but it doesn’t sound as dramatic) on our way to Moerbrugge where we stopped for the night and checked that everything was functioning correctly and the water was staying on the outside of the boat!
As we were settling down after dinner, the largest barge we had seen – 100m (350ft) long – gently eased up to us and asked us to move a little to let them moor. As you can see from the photo below it was HUGE, over 6 times the length of Anticus, which you can see with a couple of other similar boats at the stern of the bulk barge.
The following morning we followed a slightly smaller commercial barge through the lift bridge at Moerbrugge and headed along the Oostend-Gent canal towards the mediaeval city of Ghent. A trip of just over 4 hours leisurely cruising a distance of just over 20 miles – as you can see, leisurely is the word! We had booked a fabulous mooring spot in the city centre and look forward to exploring.