Liège - Namur

Last week we ended up at Liège and only showed a few pictures of the marina where we were moored. So here are some more. This war-memorial is to be found next to the marina. It reads ‘Liège – for its children – died for her (= Liège)’. Self-evidently we are able to understand 1940-1945 and 1914-1918. Then there is 1830. Well, that was the year that Belgium was formed – after separating from The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (see Next there is 1790. That has to do with The Liège Revolution, sometimes known as the Happy Revolution. Seeège_Revolution. Before that it’s 1468 – and older. That’s to find out for the utter curious among our readers! A hint for them then. Seeège.

Also close to the marina a small park, named Parc d’Avroy, is situated. There too, the victims of war are commemorated permanently by some imposing mournful statues. This is one of them. The text on the base reads ‘Commemorate the 17.000 Belgian partisans, died while fighting Nazism 1940-1945’. It never fails to impress

Liège offers, of course, merry things too. We’ve chosen one of our all-time favourites, the/its opera building. We happen to know opera-lovers, living in the south of the Dutch province of Limburg (the Maastricht area), that visit this opera-house as it is closer to where they live than, say, Brussels or Amsterdam. We can reveal to the curious among you that the season 2016/17 offers, amongst other things, Turandot (Puccini), Nabucco (Verdi), Don Giovanni (Mozart), La Damnation de Faust (Berlioz) and Dido and Aeneas (Purcell). That’s not bad at all!

We left Liège after having been there for 5 nights, on Thursday the 12th of May at 9:46AM, accompanied by our friends Harvey and Jan(is) from the USofA. They arrived the day before after having been in Italy for a few weeks – making a detour on their way back to the other side of the Atlantic. Back onto the river Meuse and still within Liège’s boundaries we noticed this slender beauty, almost crushed by the tall apartment buildings on either side – nevertheless proudly standing her ground.

This real Paris-like bridge should not be missing when honouring Liège’s beauties. It is the Pont de Fragnée, built between 1901 and 1904, on occasion of the Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Liège, a world's fair held in Liège in 1905 and marking 75 years of independence. Seeège_International_(1905). When passing underneath its features made us think of the Pont Alexandre-III in Paris. Well, the latter was the inspiration for this one indeed. For its interesting history seeée.

Look at our guests, enjoying the view ahead. Although it’s still fairly industrial traces of the countryside start being part of the surroundings.

Talking about industrial traces, here’s a decommissioned steel-factory of Cockerill-Sambre, once a steel giant, employing over 45.000(!) in 1957. The steel industry has always been a very important one in the Liège region. Wat is left of Cockerill-Sambre nowadays is part of the continental western European steel giant ArcelorMittal. The sunken ship in front of the factory makes the scene the more dramatic. (Ignore the reflection in our window-screen, caused by a just passing commercial from Antwerp.)

On the way to the south we passed a town with the cute name of Huy (Hoei). Its railway bridge, combined with the now more countryside-like surroundings, make for a scenic picture.

After a cruise of 6 hours and 1 minute, two locks included (total lock-time 65 minutes) we moored at Wanze, which is more or less the same as Huy, just the opposite (left) bank. The entrance is visible in the wall – where the blue bollards on top of it end. We cruised towards an open space that is partly visible in the left hand foreground, turned and found an empty space that offered us the opportunity to sit outside, likely (memory sometimes fails) with some snacks or drinks.

When we left Liège the day before our engine was almost unable to start, probably due to two worn-out starter batteries. So we feared for the worst the next morning but to our great relief the batteries did their duty and the engine started smoothly. ‘Don’t push your luck, leave the engine running’ was of course our motto. We’ll see to it after our guests have left, which would be the next day anyway. So we left Wanze on Friday the 13th of May with a feeling of relief at 10:00AM sharp. Who has ever stated that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day?? Almost everywhere one looks a postcard picture can be made. So here’s just one of them.

  • The first picture of these two is ‘a common rock-formation’ alongside the river…

  • …and this is a detail of it, to be found almost exactly in the centre of the left one.

It’s obvious that we have left the urban area – at least for some time. A prove of the intensive use of the river is given here. Three cargo-ships are visible, two going downstream, the other one upstream. Of course we make way for any overtaking cargo-ship. Its load is, interestingly, scrap metal. Later on we saw he was from Wijk bij Duurstede, which is a place alongside the Rijn where the name becomes Lek, in our home province of Utrecht. What a panoramic view by the way!

This is the present page out of the guide we use for cruising in Belgium. The wide blue track obviously represents the river Meuse, the narrower blue track is the river Sambre (Samber). The latter is one of the Meuse’s tributaries. An important one too, as most of the traffic coming from the north follows the Sambre and the other way around. Therefore, south of the confluence the commercial traffic is close to nothing. We are now moored south of the Pont de Jambes on the left bank – where the word ‘casino’ is printed, opposite the Port de Plaisance de Jambes.

A view of the confluence of the rivers Sambre (right) and Meuse. The city of Namur is partly visible on the right, situated on the left bank (‘rive gauche’) of the Sambre. Namur’s vast citadel is positioned between the two rivers. May we, unpretentiously, note that we like this picture very much?

The same area, as seen from the air. Pretty, very pretty! We are moored behind the arched bridge. © G. Focant.

Here we are, visible on the opposite (left) bank. If in doubt: we are in the middle. For the novices among our readers we have to point out that a waterway is always looked at in the downstream direction. The right bank is the right bank and the other one the left bank – that’s logic, isn’t it? But… when looking in the upstream direction the bank at the right hand side is still the left bank – and the other way around. So the bank on our right hand side is the left bank. We arrived on the already mentioned Friday at 3:52PM. Again an extensive journey of nearing 6 hours, two slow locks (added up almost 1,5 hours inside the locks) included.

That Friday-night we were invited by our friends to have dinner outside. Using TripAdvisor they had chosen the restaurant Le Ponti 2 ( The food and service were absolutely excellent. Apart from that we had a drink or two and lots of laughter. On the way back our eyes were catched by Namur’s citadel in floodlight. Our friends left us on Saturday the 14th by train, to pick up their rented car that was left behind in Liège’s marina, safely behind a gate, thanks to a nice, accommodating harbourmaster, being Mr Maréchal.

This is the arched bridge (Pont de Jambes) that we are moored next to, some 100 meters upstream of it. Note the passenger boat that is visible through the second arch…

…and that is here peacefully moored on the Meuse’s left bank between the mouth of the Sambre and the Pont des Ardennes (see the 13th picture).

Skilfully tackling a bridge(hole)

Here it comes: before reaching the positions as shown with the two last pictures the passenger boat came to a halt in front of the arched bridge, judged the situation carefully and used the widest/highest arch to pass ever so carefully. Going downstream which is, believe us, a lot more difficult than going upstream. The skillful captain did it just fine. Bye for now.