We left Charleville Mézières on Friday 30th June heading into waters new – we had never been further along this river than Charleville. We now have several kilometers between locks – doing about 20 kms but only 3 or 4 locks a day. We decided to keep to this sort of regime since we had never been here before and because we have time before we return home on 19th July for a month. It’s nice to take time in a new area.
Max and Lucy have zoomed orf, determined to rev the engine and clear their exhaust problem and Voirrey and Andy left before us as their schedule is a little tighter. So we are pootling along at our own speed and loving the countryside. Different again – wide river with wooded hillsides down to the water’s edge. Almost alpine in feel – real soul food…
We stopped at Monthermé for one night but then the next day the rain came down unrelentingly and so we decided to stay put and do some jobs around the boat. There’s always lots of those and the waterways certainly need replenishing. Water shortages are causing canal closures already.
Yesterday we then moved onto Revin which has the most beautifully kept mooring. I have a huge pot of colourful petunias outside the window as I write this.
As we came into the mooring we saw Bella Fortuna (cant miss her big red bow) and so met up with Voirrey & Andy again! We had a silly game of ping-pong followed by pooling our resources and having dinner together.
Revin seems to be a nice little town so we are staying a second day – desperate to fill the fridge and the cupboards and do more of those jobs!
I should tell you something about this area……..
The river Meuse meanders between steep wooded hillsides. Many of the towns literally ‘sit’ within, or are encircled by, a meander. At Monthermé you can climb up to the Rocher à Sept Heures (Seven O’clock Rock) to view the symmetrical loop of the river around the town. I was told it was a 3 hour walk up & down so I only got part way up – still rather spectacular!
The area was known for its mettalurgy industries and the exploitation of the oak forests. In winter people worked in the forges and, in summer, they cut timber in the forests. The towns have narrow streets and houses are made of slates & stones showing ore deposits. Some of the wealthier houses have ornate iron gates.
Some stone work obviously continues – we cruised past this large house with a stonemason / sculptor at work
It seems that many towns are now relying more and more on tourism, improving facilities for boats and campervans. Interestingly most ports have only ever based charges on the boat length but here they calculate the total size by asking both length and width!