Just the Two of Us: Chapter 5

It’s time for Lutz and me to check out our motoring skills and also the depth of our love and respect for each other. I always said if you really want to see if you’re compatible with a mate, live in an RV or boat for a month and you’ll know for sure. Well we survived the RV and now the true test, the boat.

We happened to take off on our own the week before Easter. Our plan was to travel along the Belgium boarder and Netherlands for three weeks. So we set off, April 8, 2017, the day after my birthday. We’re a week into our trip and so far I still love this man and he has not thrown me over board!

Just the Two of Us: Chapter 5 (German Translation …or close to it)

On the Willemsroute!
The route starts at Stevenswerrt which is directly next to our harbor in Ophoven Belgium. Our first stop was Weert in the Netherlands. At Bocholt we had to pass into Belgium and had to pay a toll fee to travel on their canals. We took a little side trip to Leopoldsburg and enjoyed long canals, slow motoring and relaxation only to notice that the bikes along the canal were faster than us! After 250 Km, 250 liters of diesel, 6 drawbridges and 10 days we arrived  at Bassin in Maastricht. The bridge into the harbor was so low we had to undo the Bimini.  Maastricht is beautiful, REALLY beautiful and full of history and shopping possibilities. We stayed here for 2 weeks.

Our First Guest On Board: Chapter 4

Our first guest arrived! My first and closest friend in Germany, Marilou and her daughter Aliyah, came and spent four  wonderful days with us celebrating my birthday in the sun. Of course we grilled our brains out and took advantage of each sunny day.

Our First Guest: Chapter 4 (German Translation…or close to it)
We tidied up the boat and prepared for our first guest. So great to see Marilou and her daughter Aliyah. Our first solo trip was with them to Roermond for a 2 hour tour. Plus we entered our first lock that we maneuvered all by ourselves! This took an additional 30 minutes. We ended up with a minor incident due to the fact we did not raise the fenders in time. Apparently an old battle scare repaired incorrectly was tapped against the wall and the wound reopened (something to keep Lutz busy while I cooked). For all of us it was a great trip and very relaxing and romantic in this little harbor.

Time to Get Our Feet Wet: Chapter 3

Raise the anchor and let’s go for a spin! Mercy me, this is more than I expected. I had to read the water levels so we wouldn’t break off the antenna. Yes, we have to lower it for some of the bridges we encounter. I also had to learn how to read the lights at the locks and how to tie up the ropes for landing. I think I learned how to tie those knots while in Girl Scouts at one time of my life. Due to my torn meniscus, I’ve been assigned the landing job! Working the engine while Lutz jumps on the dock to tie us up. Piece of cake…stay tune for live photos of this daring act…


My German translation lesson for the week:

Preparation # 3

Finally we are ready for a test drive. The test drive was delayed due to lots of rain and high water level in the Maas (5 foot over normal level). We trained for everything: turning on a dime (360), landing, knots,driving against the flow of the flood water of the Maas…The district is totally new for us, unknown, so someone always had to be on the lookout. We also relaxed and drove under the guidance of my friend Andreas. Since the boat had a new mast with unknown dimensions, measurement were taken and much caution was necessary due to high water levels while going under bridges. Meanwhile the guest cabin was made ready and we are looking forward to welcoming our first guest.

Training & Repair Days on Virus: Chapter 2

This was our training and repair trip.  YIKES… I thought retirement was for lounging, cooking and cruising. Andreas and Lutz are both a little, well, anal obsessive compulsive… but perfectionists sounds better. They both are engineers and my style of sanding and painting just didn’t cut it. I ended up as the cook and bottle washer…suites me fine. It gave me more time to read and marinate the meat for Tandoori Chicken on the grill! 

Now I will practice my German for you all by translating Lutz’s message:
Preparation #2
Now to work, Andreas my captain friend from university times has come for 10 days and is welcomed according to his status with a toast. It’s important to have our meals! The grill had to be set up perfectly so Melinda could start cooking. During the rainy weather we crept down in the bilge to figure out the drying, cooling system, water, gray water, and electricity…Melinda has made up the captain’s cabin. We also had sunny days, and the old boat number had to be taken off, and we had to fight the rust––patiently working at sanding, taping and painting.

Cook’n & Cruis’n the Canals: Chapter 1

It’s time to hit the high seas, ok, well, the high canals! Raise the anchor and get ready to do some Cook’n & Cruis’n. We’ve made several trips to pack our boat, Virus. As you can see, our small 500 FIAT, Bella, was loaded to the top. But after 3 trips to and from the boat we are ready to hit the canals and rivers of Belgium and Netherland.

Yes, Virus. We inherited this name and are sticking to it since both Lutz and I have a, VIRUS for the sea. It kind of grows on you if you know what I mean.

Stay tune for some adventures as we travel and share exciting hot spots. I’ll be sharing some awesome gluten, soy and dairy free yummy recipes while on our voyage. The kitchen is small and no stove, but we have a grill and a lot of creative gadgets and ideas, plus inspiration from neighboring villages and local folks!

I’ll do my best to recap the German that my husband has written below…my German lessons for the summer:

Lutz shared that many of his relatives were professional boaters. As a child he recalls adventurous days motoring through the rivers and canals in Germany. In 2016 he spent a few weeks with a close friend, Andreas, on his boat motoring the Rhein and canals in Germany. Lutz said “I got sick and caught the ship ‘VIRUS’ and decided to buy a boat for myself .” The lifesaver in the picture below was on the boat Friede (Peace) that belonged to Lutz’s God Father. We celebrated our second delivery of goods to the boat with a glass of Champagne!