These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

17th - 19th September. De Blauwe Stad, and on to the German border.

Going on northwards, we crossed the Winschoterdiep and went on towards De Blauwe Stad. We moored near to a steam museum and walked to visit a nature reserve. To get there we decided to go by this self operating ferry, but it took innumerable winds to get it to our side. Luckily two cyclists appeared on the island and helped us to get the ferry across again.

Below the lookout tower, in the middle of the island, is an outdoor theatre, which would make a superb setting for a play.
Having decided not to wind the ferry again, it was a long walk to the nearest bridge, and was quite dark before we were back at The Puzzler. These shetland ponies and Shannon did not know what to make of each other!

Moving round to the harbour and visitor centre on Thursday, we found several intricate sand sculptures.
De Blauwe Stad was an exciting new development for the people of Groningen, and should have been a great success, with room for many properties on the islands. Sadly, not enough people wanted to come here to live, and it has not reached its full potential.

Going back to the main canal system, this imposing structure takes the motorway over our canal, and also over the railway to our left. Through our "tunnel" there are built-in fenders on the walls, to protect passing boats.

Travelling to the east, the Westerwoldse Aa canal is long and straight. I think my remark last time about interesting waterways was premature!

We sailed as far as Nieuwestans, which seems to be the most easterly town in The Netherlands. It is very industrial.
The next canal, going southwards, runs alongside the German Border. This time we have trees to offset the straightness! On this canal we have a special key so that we can work the bridges ourselves.

We paused by one bridge to have a look at Germany. It does not look very different here to The Netherlands.

At intervals along this canal there are still pillboxes to be seen, dating back to more troubled times along the border.

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