The Monday April 17 overnight flight from Houston to Paris was a little bumpier than usual although the meals didn’t end up in our laps. After a four hour layover the 50 minute Tuesday afternoon flight to Dusseldorf was also a little bumpy but it was smooth sailing through the rental car desk and on the the A road for the hour long drive across the German/Netherlands border to Stevensweert and Oldtimer.
The boat was in remarkably good shape after it’s 7 month hibernation and we were very pleased to see the new windows installed!
All of the windows in the galley now open as do three of the formerly fixed windows in the wheelhouse. Yvo and the folks at Omru Scheepsramen did a great job, even replacing the wood trim around the inside. We just needed to do a little caulking and extra trimming to finish them off.
The solar panels had kept the batteries fully charged and we just needed to fill the water tank and prime the pump to make everything homey.
That and turn on the boiler. Southern California it was not! The radiators and the wood stove were going to get a workout for the next several days. High temps in the lower 50’s and overnight lows near freezing meant the long sleeves, jackets and heavy duvets were going to be well used.
The grocery situation was a little dire, however, and Wednesday we made the 10 minute trip into Maasbracht to restock the larder. The road follows the Julianna Kanaal and the pear trees were in full bloom.
We timed our arrival just right as just a couple of days later the bloom was pretty much over and there was some concern that the cold snap was going to prevent the fruit from setting. Time will tell.
Leaving Stevensweert turning one way leads to Maasbracht, the other to the village of Echt. The chandleries and good boat shopping is in Maasbracht, along with the Lidl and a small grocery store. The hardware store (Gamma), the good garden supply store and another grocery are the other way in the village of Echt, which also sports a very fine church and civic offices.
Saturday was Cathy Jo’s birthday. What better way to celebrate but to drive to France (with a brief stop in a nearby Ikea) for a little shopping. When we were in Givet, the town right on the French/Belgian border last year, we visited the giant Intermarche and decided we would have to make a run south from Holland to stock up on cases of wine and other French delicacies (paté, giant bags of industrial pastries, etc) unavailable in the north. It’s only a couple of hours on the A road.
On the way we stopped in the Wallonian (the French speaking part of Belgium) village of Cupet for a delicious lunch at the Relais Saint-Antoine; specialty, trout many ways.
The birthday girl and the lunch spot
After our hunting and gathering it was back to work. The list is endless before we leave for Belgium May 1.