Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Cruising Begins: Into Belgium May 1-3

Monday morning we shoved off from our mooring in Stevensweert and, after leaving the River Maas, headed down the Kanaal Wessem Nederweert, not a curve in sight. At the junction with the Zuidwillemsvaart we turned south and, after two opening bridges, a feature (or is it a bug) of the Netherlands, tied up for the night along the bank. We had intended to stop in the Weert municipal marina as we did with Odysseus in 2008 but were reminded of one of the differences between our old barge and our new one. The sign at the entrance restricted entrance to boats less that ten meters. Odysseus looked so small we could cheat on the size but not with Oldtimer. It was bankside for us. The next morning it was off and into Belgium.

Our first stop was  a small municipal pontoon at the village of Sint-Huberts-Lille. Again, free, no services, but a very picturesque spot. We were tied up at about 1:30 pm so we had plenty of time to check out the small burg and pick up a couple of delicious tarts for desert. The very friendly baker lady even let us hang out in her tearoom to wait out the thunderstorm that hit just as we walked in the door. The next morning it was off down the canal; no locks or bridges to our next stop.

On our last trip here we spent a day in Blauvwe Kei for some cycling. It’s a beautiful rural mooring; just some little landings with no services but right in the heart of the central Belgium cycling heaven. (The blog post is at ) This time we would spend more time.

We’re in pretty much the same place we were last time.

Last time we were here it was very quiet. The mooring is right at the junction of the very busy commercial Zuidwillemsvaart and the (usually) very quiet Kanaal naar Beverlo (which doesn’t go to Beverlo but to Leopoldsburg. Go figure.). There is a industrial complex halfway down the Beverlo canal (Nyrstar, a metals company) but it produced no traffic on the waterway last time. This time was totally different. Every day there were at least a couple of tank barges, empty headed down the canal and loaded coming back. We like to see the commercials using the canals. Their traffic ensures they’ll remain open for us pleasure users.

One of the tankers coming through.

Thursday it was “Let the cycling begin!”


  1. Yes, on Tuesday (30 min into the film) they were in Brussels viewing the Atomium, Manneken Pis and the Grand-Place and buying Belgian Lace. We've not been to Brussels but we have been to where the tour started on the Continent - on Monday in Alkmaar at the Kassmarkt.

  2. Replies
    1. Sorry, the link in your post in 2008 referred to the film "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium". We'd researched the film a couple of years ago (and of course watched it many, many years ago) in respect of our visit to Alkmaar. At the time, I hadn't thought to check what they actually visited in Belgium and your link prompted me to check - and pass the information (too cryptically it seems) on. In passing, it will be a shame if you don't get to Geraardsbergen where they claim their Manneken Pis represents is the original.

    2. The whole film is on YouTube, not too bad a copy and a nice trip down memory lane.


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