The time came to wave goodbye to Mimosa after a couple of months cruising together from Gent to Sedan. A couple of hundred miles or more of fun, spectacular landscapes (especially on the Dender), and much eating and drinking. It also marks the end of one of the greatest barren patches in the history of fishing – neither Trigger or I caught a fish for around 4 weeks (and we were trying).
Anyway, I digress. Mimosa turned north heading back towards Belgium and we turned south in the general direction of St John de Losne, still nearly 300 miles away. We also need to plan in a 7 day stay at Nancy to allow Nicola time to get back to the UK to check on the house and pick up a few essentials. So we set off on Monday morning with the intention of getting to Verdun by the weekend.
Our route keeps us on the Canal de Meuse as it wends its way from the craggy hills of region 08, Ardennes, into the rolling countryside of north Meuse, region 55. We caught fleeting glimpses of spectacular chateaux set into the golden hillsides of ripening wheat fields; of acres of sunflowers, turning their heads with well orchestrated timing to enjoy the rising sun; and a myriad of greens from a seemingly endless variety of trees and bushes lining the canal and denoting the boundary of fields and farms.
Also though, on a remote hillside, we caught side of a war cemetery filled with row upon row of grim black crosses placed at the remains of so many German soldiers, victims of war.
This was a reminder that we are only a day away from Verdun, a city of extraordinary beauty and poignancy, filled with monuments and displays commemorating conflicts of the last century. More of that next time.