Living large on a living barge–17: A six month per year barge tour of Europe, in installments

By Tom Miller

medications times; font-size: 16px;”>Tom and family are touring Europe by barge. This is the 17th in his series of reports on what is to be six months per year of cruising the waterways there.

viagra 100mg times; font-size: 16px;”>Editors Note: Last week Tom ran into trouble at Mouzon.

We finally met up with Wilco in Stenay.  More important he brought his lovely 14-year-old daughter, Marscha, to help look after our two beautiful granddaughters Talia and Zoe.  While I’ve enjoyed being the captain of my own boat having Wilco along will took a lot of pressure off of me.


A manually operated lock

From Stenay our next few stops were Dun-sur-Meuse, Consenvoye and finally Verdun.  At Dun-sur-Meuse we climbed a hill to the remnants of a walled city.  There wasn’t much left to see, but the views were magnificent.  The locks we are traveling through have changed.  We can no longer use our electronic transmitter, as the locks are all manually operated.  More important instead of being 5.7 meters wide they were 5.2 meters wide, and that just left two inches on each side of Rabelo.  Imagine driving your car into your garage with just two inches on each side. Now imagine stretching that car to 130 feet, and just for good measure throw in some cross winds and current.  When you do it right, and don’t bump, there’s a great feeling of satisfaction.


A barge turned into a bowling alley

In Consenvoye there was a fair in town with all the rides we loved as kids.  We also discovered an alternative use for Rabelo when we’re tired of cruising.  Check out the picture to the left.


Remnants of the underground Fort de Douaumont

With all the history that has taken place in Verdun we decided to take the car off Rabelo and go touring.  Verdun is best known for the great battles that took place in the surrounding areas during WWI and WWII.  But it was the WWI battles that were the most deadly.  We could never figure out exactly how many were killed during WWI around Verdun, but the number is somewhere between 800,000 and a 1,000,000 men.  After almost a hundred years the verdant forests have grown back, but the pictures show a landscape that was completely denuded during the war.  You can still see the trenches the men fought from, and the terrain is still pockmarked from the craters left by the artillery shells.  During one ten-hour battle there were over 2,000,000 shells fired.  That works out to roughly 3,300 shells fired every minute for ten straight hours. All told there was something like 60,000,000 shells fired during the ten-month siege.  Even the underground forts did not survive without significant damage.  The Citadel, the largest of all the forts, had over 7 kilometers of underground tunnels and galleries.


Verdun Ossuary

After seeing so many cemeteries you have to wonder why mankind can’t figure out a better way to resolve it’s differences.  What if the countries of the world got together and decide that only mothers could govern? I’m sure this would be a better place to live.


 When Stones Speak by Tom Miller

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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