Living large on a living barge–16: A six month per year barge tour of Europe, in installments

By Tom Miller

Tom and family are touring Europe by barge. This is the 16th in his series of reports on what is to be six months per year of cruising the waterways there.

Editors Note: Last week Tom discovered Nirvana with palm frites, yes, french fries with shinny, gooey, gelatinous, vessel clogging fat–heavenly.

On our way to Mouzon

On our way to Mouzon

From Sedan we headed for Mouzon.  We were still without Wilco, but with every passing day my confidence was building.  We arrived in Mouzon only to find the Port was full.  With my son and daughter-in-law along with our two granddaughters on board, I was concerned about our water situation.  I decided to side tie to our new friends Greg and Georgie on Zambezi, fill our tank, and then leave.  As we began to maneuver into the tiny port everyone along the quay came out to watch what they hoped would be a demolition derby. I glanced over my shoulder only to see this hysterical woman in the boat behind me frantically waving her arms a mile a minute.  I was too busy to worry about her even though she almost had a heart attack when she saw Rabelo backing down towards her boat.  I eased Rabelo up next to Zambezi, which is about half our length, without the slightest of bumps.  Everyone went back to their boats disappointed while I was feeling pretty darn good about my boat handling skills.

The marina was full, so here we are tied up next to a factory

The marina was full, so here we are tied up next to a factory

We began to fill our water tank, and it wasn’t long before the guy in front of Zambezi started to complain.  He was Dutch. His English was so broken I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  I nodded and smiled for a while and then went down below to read.  About a half hour later I heard this big ruckus and went back up on deck.  One of the guests on Zambezi was arguing in Dutch with a woman standing on the dock.  I asked what the problem was, and was told it was the water we were taking.  I told her we had always intended on paying for the water, and there shouldn’t be any problem.  The woman on Zambezi said the woman on the dock had nothing to do with the marina, and was off the boat in front of them.  I had already met the husband, and apparently the wife wasn’t any better.  So once again I smiled and left to finish my book.

Our water tank holds 5,000 liters or about 1,300 gallons, so it can take awhile to fill. About an hour later I heard some more noise up above.  The book I wasreading wasn’t very good, certainly not as good as my newest book When Stones Speak, so I went back up to see what the problem was.  Our friend Georgie from Zambezi was talking in French to a man wearing a uniform, but he didn’t look particularly official.  At first I thought he was the proprietor of the marina and came to collect for the water we had taken.  When he briefly turned I saw the word “Gendarme” on his back.  Now this was getting interesting.  Eventually after a lot of hand waving and pointing Georgie explained that the people in front of us had called the police.  The nice cop had been having lunch with his family when he got the call.  He said that he had an entire town to watch over, and that his lunch had been interrupted for nothing.  He told Georgie he wished he could arrest the people for being grumpy and disagreeable.  The rest of the Dutch boat owners were so embarrassed by their compatriots they all came by to apologize for the couple’s behavior.  We ended up giving the Gendarme less than five Euro to pay for the water.  I had assumed he would give it to the owners of the marina when they returned.

Lisa Miller found some friends

Lisa Miller found some friends

Come back next week for more living large on a living barge.

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When Stones Speak by Tom Miller

When Stones Speak by Tom Miller

Tom Miller is an adventure writer from Thousand Oaks. His latest novel When Stones Speak Dr. Hannigan sets out to find the historical Jesus of Nazareth, but he soon discovers there are people in high places who will stop at nothing including murder to insure he fails. Mr. Miller has been a contractor and developer, prolific diver, pilot, sailor, and barge captain. When he’s not chasing adrenalin overseas, he hikes with the local “Heartbreak Hiking Fools.” LIVING BARGE is his memory of his recent six month journey through the canals of Europe with his wife Lisa.

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Previous installments:

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-15-a-six-month-per-year-barge-tour-of-europe-in-installments/ 

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-14-a-six-month-per-year-barge-tour-of-europe-in-installments/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-13-a-six-month-per-year-barge-tour-of-europe-in-installments/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-12-a-six-month-per-year-barge-tour-of-europe-in-installments/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-11-2/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-10/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-9/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-8/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-barge-7-2/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-6/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-5/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-4/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-3/

 https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge-2/

https://citizensjournal.us/living-large-on-a-living-barge/

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