Europe 2019


MS Freshwater

Welcome to our website. It has been created to update family, friends and those interested in how we are faring with our travels through Europe. This is our seventh year cruising the European Waterways on our boat “Freshwater” and we have loved every minute of it. Below you will find a short summary of each year, with link to that years archives so they can be easily viewed. Hope you enjoy our travels.

2019 will be a year of contrasts for us. End of March we will be heading with our caravan through our drought-stricken country to Western Australia. The trip from Sydney will lead through some interesting areas in South Australia, but also include the longest straight stretch of road and probably the most boring, the so-called Nullarbor Plains. We have been along this road exactly 40 years ago while travelling around Australia. Finally at the end of May we’ll be heading via Perth back to The Netherlands to exchange the dusty roads with the easy flowing rivers and canals of Europe. 

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From Flevoland we will cross the Ijsselmeer to the province of North Holland. Planned is to visit Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Edam, stop in Amsterdam to pick up some Aussie stowaways and then head slowly back via Maas/Meuse to Toul in France. As early as the start of September we will return to our abandoned car and caravan in Western Australia to complete the Northwest loop of our big country, hopefully before the monsoon season hits. So our blog, if you’d like to follow us again, will be split into the Aussie part: “Trailer Trash” and part “Freshwater Adventures”

In 2018 we headed back to find our sea legs again from being away from our boat for over 18 months.  With 269 trafficable waterways in Holland, totalling to over 3700 kms, we had no idea how long it will take us. Our trip began with us leaving our winter mooring in Maasbracht Holland and heading north down the Maas River and into the heart of the dutch countryside between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Then up to the north to Friesland, to visit its unique aquatic national parks and waterways. Holland was amazing, this country is defnitely made for boats. We finished the year off, leaving the Freshwater in its winter mooring in Meppel, where she’ll be taken out of the water and placed in a nice warm shed until we return for our next season in 2019. 

In 2017 we have struck a bit of a snag, as Austin had to have shoulder reconstruction surgery after falling off his motorbike. Although the surgery went fine, the surgeon recommended we not cruise with the boat this year as this type of surgery can take up to 12 months to heal. Holding the ropes for our 14,000kg boat, in some turbulent lock can play havoc with the repair. So this year we’re going to take the caravan and do a loop up to Cape York, at Australia’s northern tip and down through the red centre. We started this trip in July 2017, and has promised, Susi did a blog of this trip instead.

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In 2016 from our winter mooring in Toul, we cruised up the Moselle river to Luxembourg to fill up with fuel. Then crossed the border into Germany and turn starboard up the Saar river for the loop back into France again. Being so close to the Arzviller boat lift we couldn’t help but detour along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and do the lift. After picking up my sister Marcia and her husband Peter in Reims, we cruised down the Marne River to Disneyland and on for a little sojourn in Paris. Then headed up again to Belgium along the Canal du Centre to be elevated 75 metres in the Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift (Europe's largest boat lift). We finished the season this year in Maasbracht Holland, the best place to ever get any work done on the boat.  We plan during the winter offseason to replace the curtains, carpets, canvas cover and batteries and have the boat painted. Should be looking like new when we return.

In 2015 we picked up our boat in Toul and travelled along along the Canal de la Meuse into Belgium and cruised into to Holland to get some work on the boat done. Then loop back again via Belgium into France and cruise through the Champagne region to again stay in Toul for next winter.

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In 2014, we picked up our boat from its winter mooring in Saint Jean de Losne. From there we cruised up the Canal du Rhoñe au Rhin to Germany (with a short train trip to Switzerland), then down the Rhine to Koblenz. There we change waterways to go up the Moselle River via Luxembourg back into France to our winter berth port of Toul. 

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In 2013 we completed our first year on the French waterways in our own boat and absolutely loved it. Originally we thought it would be like touring the French countryside by caravan, but it turned out to be much more than that. Travelling at just 8 km/h we really got to appreciate the scenery of many beautiful rivers and canals of the Bourgogne and central France, plus making lovely friends on the way.

In 2012 we first trialled life on a boat by hiring a river cruiser on the Canal du Midi, with the plan that if things work out, to buy a good secondhand cruiser for a total change of life style. Well, we did the Canal du Midi and loved it. So we scoured the Dutch and French dockyards till we found and bought our perfect home away from home, a Dutch river cruiser we renamed "Freshwater", after our home in Sydney Australia.


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© Austin Robinson 2019