Category Archive

Life on Board Update Life on Board Update

Life is never boring…..      

Parc naturel des Plaines de l’Escaut, Belgium Parc naturel des Plaines de l’Escaut, Belgium

In Peruwelz… we found ourselves still within the region encompassed by the Eurometropolis Blue Park and the both of us were loving it. After a day of rain, the weather at last cleared enough, off to Peruwelz went we: our destination L’Escale Forestiere  – or in English ‘Scheldt Plain Nature Park House’. This was another […]

Leers – Nord to Perwelz, Belgium Leers – Nord to Perwelz, Belgium

A midmorning start, this was our last day on the Roubaix – L’Espierres – Spierekanaal. It almost defied belief, but the landscape became increasingly more beautiful: strongly reminiscent of the Midi with its towering avenues of trees that lined the canal sides. Two more sets of moorings at kilometres five and eight were right in […]

Roubaix, France to Leers Nord, Belgium Roubaix, France to Leers Nord, Belgium

Our days in the Roubaix area at an end, nine o’clock found the boys ready and waiting at the lock and Gratis was raring to go. Lines off, down she motored and straight as an arrow in went Big G. What a beautiful old bridge was this! On exiting Lock 11, we were greeted with […]

Parc du Heron, France Parc du Heron, France

Ten kilometres from Roubaix is Parc du Heron. This park forms a small section of what is entitled ‘The Eurometroplis Blue Park’. Crossing the French, Wallonian and Flemish borders, this initiative encompasses more than 150 metropolises. Covering in excess of five thousand kilometres of waterways and green landscapes, the ‘blue park is the result of […]

Tourcoing, Roubaix, Museum La Manufacture, France Tourcoing, Roubaix, Museum La Manufacture, France

Having spent the most peaceful of nights in this new location, Bob and I awoke to find all was well and nothing amiss. People passing responded positively to our friendly hellos, answering cheerfully back and some even stopped for a chat. One little ‘un appeared intrigued with the boat and Bob even popped him on […]

Wambrechies to Roubaix, France Wambrechies to Roubaix, France

The Roubaix/L’Espierres/Spiere Canal Two kilometres south of Wambrechies is the Canal de Roubaix, a connector between the French Deule and Belgian Haute – Escaut.  It’s an interesting set up in this instance, for although a short run of 28.80km in total, the system runs through France (the Roubaix – 20km), Wallonia (the L’Espierres – 7km) […]

Lille, France Lille, France

La Bassee to Wambrechies Yesterday, a pleasant motor saw us retrace more of our steps from last year as Gratis motored from the Canal D’Aire into La Deule on her way to Lille. At kilometre 16.5 was what appeared to be a marina with liveaboard barges and a couple of pleasure boats. On arrival, a […]

Arques to La Bassee, France Arques to La Bassee, France

A sleep in and casting off at what was a more reasonable hour this morning, with its rising bollards, the almost 14m deep Les Fontinettes lock was an absolute breeze. This day that saw us cover some 50km was a pleasant relaxing motor in a day of chill and scattered showers.   Not too far […]

Calais to Arques, France Calais to Arques, France

What a day!!!! Being a sea port with tides of up to seven metres, one always has to work in with nature: the tides wait for no – one! The Calais marina only opens to allow boats in at high tide which takes place twice in 24 hours and because of where we were in […]

Day Trip to Dover: Part 2 Day Trip to Dover: Part 2

Highlight 2 of the Day? Dover Castle!   Dover castle was really three in one. The visitor discovers through thousand years of history in just a few short hours. It really is a place that requires more than a day to do it justice! A steep climb took us to the peak of the hillside […]

Day Trip to Dover: Part 1 Day Trip to Dover: Part 1

Highlight of the Day? A Bronze Age Boat!   Because of the amount of content, I have split the posts into two parts. To make the most of our day, it was an early rise. In the chill of the morn, we rode the bikes to the ferry terminal. On arrival at a roundabout, Bob […]

Boulogne – Sur – Mer, France Boulogne – Sur – Mer, France

Walled City Upon a Hillside Peak A fifty – minute rail trip took Bob and I south through hilly farming country to the township of Boulogne – Sur – Mer. On alighting from the train, we discovered a short hill – in the scheme of things, that was. The slope leading practically straight up was […]

Gravelines, France Gravelines, France

A Fortified Township Some twenty or so kilometres north of Calais is the hidden secret of France: a town that goes by the name of Gravelines. Bob and I would have delighted in taking Gratis upon the canal leading into the township, but sadly, the depth had become too shallow. Set amongst sand dunes situated […]

Calais, France Calais, France

Calais: An Ancient History To ride around Calais is to view the remnants of a once great town that was annihilated during WWII. Bob and I discovered it was an ancient city that like the Phoenix has risen from the ashes…..   About Calais When modern humans first arrived at the site of which would […]

Watten to Calais, France Watten to Calais, France

Canal de Calais: Waterway to an Ancient City This morning on exiting Relais – Flandre – Artois, Gratis undertook a left turn onto the Canal de la Colme. A short motor that retraced our steps of yesterday, and soon she undertook a second left took us on a 4.5km journey upon the beautiful River L […]

Dunkerque to Watten, France Dunkerque to Watten, France

The French Adventure Continues…… After two days of rain, the skies cleared and at the first opening of the bridge for the morn, Gratis was up and ready. This was another of those trips repeated from last year, but it was a pleasant six hour motor that saw us deal with three slow locks in […]

Veurne, Belgium to Dunkerque, France Veurne, Belgium to Dunkerque, France

Travel the Nieuwpoort – Dunkerque and Furnes Canals Summer had at last arrived and with it, the duckweed!!!! With clear blue skies and a heat that rivals that found in Adelaide on a normal summer’s day, Gratis was on the move once more. What a difference to last year’s cold and rain! In order to […]

Veurne, Belgium Veurne, Belgium

A Small Town With A Lot Of History After a week in Corfu where we visited our possible second yacht, Bob and I returned to Veurne. Having spent a short few hours here last year, a was a delight having the time to explore past the town’s market square. The town was founded in approximately […]

Fintele to Veurne, Belgium Fintele to Veurne, Belgium

The Lovaart (Lok/Lo) Canal What an exquisitely beautiful fourteen and a half kilometre section of waterway and countryside. Having spoken to the lock keep er the afternoon before, 9am saw the lines released, and the heritage Fintele lock entered. With its sloping bricked sides aligned in blooming masses of colour, the water slowly rose. The […]