Charleville-Mézières - Monthermé

After 10 days we finally left Charleville-Mézières on Tuesday the 19th of July at 9:05AM. We did not pay for the last night and consider that a small retaliation for the uninterested staff, traditionally shrugging and blaming one another (‘ah, c’etais mon collègue’) when something went wrong. This is the view when approaching the first lock, ‘Montcy’, shortly after leaving and situated in a cut thus avoiding an over 3 kilometers (2 miles) long loop in the meandering river Meuse.

Out of the lock onto the Meuse

The same lock still when leaving. The Meuse comes in from the left and continues its course to the right – forced by the hills to bend to the left again. Weather: gorgeous. Landscape: lovely.

After leaving the first lock it took us exactly one hour to reach the second -and last- one for the day, ‘Joigny’. A sign on the side tells us the water-level in 1993 and 1995. Perhaps the sign related to 2016 has to been erected yet! The river was closed here for almost the entire month of June. Not for maintenance that was…

At 11:10AM we moored at Joigny-sur-Meuse – so after an exhausting journey of 2 hours and 5 minutes. Only joking, of course, we noticed this spot on the way up and liked it. Rightfully so, although some dredging at the downstream end of the pontoon would not be a superfluous action. Its is supposed to be a floating pontoon, but only floats properly at the upstream end which is the right hand side of the picture. (Of course, proven by the position of the boats…)

This building is encountered when walking from our mooring as shown with the last picture – and close to it. Seeing the mass of abandoned houses in France is slightly disturbing. They often look absolutely pretty -at least from the outside- and it must have been a great effort to build them using, like here, slates-looking material.

Picture number 4 gave away that we were moored behind a tjalk. A tjalk is always pretty, because it’s … a tjalk. Her name is ‘Johanna Maria’, she is, of course, Dutch built and owned by a mixed Australian/British couple, Michael and Holly. We know them since our period in the UK; they crossed The Channel the same year we did, but we never came across each other on the continent until last Tuesday. We had a lovely evening on Wednesday, starting with a welcome-drink (pictured), followed by supper and concluded by some more liquid. They provided the drinks and space, we (well, the female part of us) prepared the meal. Those moments! They are among the best.

Michael and Holly left on Thursday. Every tjalk is absolutely photogenic. Theirs is no exception.

Joigny was left on Friday the 22nd of July, 10:20AM. On the way downstream one passes a place called Braux. This is not even a too small town, but boats are not welcomed all the same. That always amazes us because moored boats would contribute to the prosperity of any town, wouldn’t it? Or are we perhaps biased? (No, of course we are not.) Alongside the river, well any river, beautiful houses and gardens are to be admired. Not always though. As you can see Braux consists of some large tenement-buildings too.

Arriving at Château-Regnault-Bogny, at 11:35AM, we called it a day after 75 minutes of activity, one lock included. For a picture of our overnight stop-location, see week 27. We knew there’s an Aldi as well as an Intermarché, close to Bogny-sur-Meuse’s train station. According to the information of a fellow DBA(boat club)-member that’s about 1 kilometer (0,6 miles) away from where we are. Two weeks ago we bravely walked and discovered that one’s conception of a kilometer is not similar to that of another one. We felt, well, unhappy after a long walk. This time we went by using our folding bikes and combined that with solving a substantial ‘shopping-problem’. There are hardly any decent shops along the river, you know. This is what it looked like when we returned. In case one wonders, yes, there’s a cover over the front bags during the ride. And yes again, an irreparable inner tube was replaced by a brand-new one.

The reward, later that afternoon: a pint-like glass of cold beer. The left one is slightly darker coloured – Grimbergen Blonde (6,7% alcohol), for her(!). The lighter on the right hand side is just ordinary lager, like Grolsch or Stella, containing less alcohol - for him. He, lucky guy, was compensated by an extra 33 centiliters. Together we had a plate of frites, too. Mmmmmmm.

here’s a possibility to rent ‘family-bikes’ that can’t fall over. Ideal for a family of different ages. This is what they look like…

…and this is what it looks like when an entire family is going out, using this wonderful device. The seats can slide up and down, so there’s a comfortable position for every height. On hindsight the two steering wheels puzzle us a bit. There’s trouble lurking around the first corner if they’re both capable of manipulating the front wheels. Therefore, we assume that one is fixed (for show if you like) and the other one effectively is the one able to alter the position of the front wheels. We forgot to ascertain which one of the parental couple was in charge and do not dare to guess…


Friday evening a fearsome thunderstorm developed and approached quickly. We were warned beforehand, lowered the mast and disconnected the telly. The lightning unfortunately remained at some distance, so we only saw heat-lightning (reflection?) and were unable to make a proper video of one or two flashes, followed by this hair-rising thunderclap. The rain was impressive though, so you’re able to hear the noise it makes on top of the wheelhouse. If our speakers are only on 50% it is an almost frightening noise.

Yesterday morning, Saturday the 23rd, we left at 10:05AM and moored after a 38 minute lock-free cruise at Monthermé. Although we moored 100% socially we moved even further forward that afternoon, when a 21 meters (70 feet) Dutch-built, Swedish crewed, tjalk arrived. The newcomers needed a few meters more to fit in, that’s why. We were rewarded with a bottle of fizzy stuff and, of course, appreciated that gesture very much. Here we are next to each other, us using a front spring as the quay no longer provides us with a bollard at the front. We managed, self-evidently, as usual using four ropes.

The look from our rear window onto the Dutch/Swedish tjalk. How appealing the lines of a tjalk are! À bientôt!