Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday afternoon in sclayn

The bus to maastricht took about an hour. I was watching for the netherlands border but never saw a sign. Instead, the signs marched from 100% german to 50/50 to 100% dutch, over a kilometer or so.

At the Maastricht bahnhof, we got a taxi to the boat harbor where, with a minimum of panic, we found the 'Miro'.

We met the captain (not a shy character), got the basic orientation, and soon were off for Liege, Belgium.

The day was cloudy, breezy, and cool. After a while, the rural views were replaced by increasing big industrial stuff, and soon we were in a big city and pulled into a moorage along the Liege seewall.

Captain Mart then led us on a walking tour of old Liege. He surely knew his way around the old, twisty alleys. We followed like the helpless sheep we are.

Eventually we grabbed a quick bit at an always-reliable kebab joint near the Perron fountain, then he led us to an old tavern where we drank beer and listened to the regulars singing their old familiar cabaret-like songs. By then it was after 11 and everyone was toppling over. Back to the barge and bed.

Sunday morning was grey and chilly. We had a welcome breakfast on board, then had an hour or so to wander thru the vast open-air market, where everything from food to electronic gadgets to live rabbits was for sale. Quite a scene - beautiful cheeses and veggies.

We headed out, past steel mills and other large industrial plants. It was very cold on deck and everyone was bundled up, having put on their cold-weather biking gear.

Then, a miracle! As we got past the final lock, the clouds gave way to blue sky and the temperature warmed to shorts weather.

We moored, unloaded the bikes, made the final adjustments and were, amazingly, after all those months of planning and staring at maps, we were actually biking in Belgium.

It was glorious.

We did about 25 km, passing tidy little towns and along quiet, shady stretches of the river.

Eventually, we ended up in Sclayn, as planned, and the Miro soon pulled up, the bikes got stowed, some beers were poured, and it is now almost 5 pm, and we are headed for an evening in Namur.


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