Thursday, January 20, 2022

Water over the land

Sound worrying? Fortunately, no, I don't mean flooding, although we have indeed had plenty of high water on the big rivers lately. In this case, I'm focusing on one of the aspects of living in this country that never ceases to intrigue me: the way the canals sit higher than the land around them; hence the water is always over or above it.

A few days ago, we had a rare afternoon of sunshine, so I donned my coat, hat and gloves, grabbed my camera and took off for a walk. My way took me along a local village dyke not far from the great Terneuzen to Gent sea canal and I was, as usual, on the lookout for ships on their way to or from the Gent docklands.

The thing is, because the canal is just that bit higher than the surrounding farmland and its protective dykes make it look even higher, the ships give the appearance of drifting across the fields. It's slightly surreal, especially when looking through gaps between the houses. There, in front of you is something akin to a castle tower proceeding at a snail's pace across your vision. A very arresting sight, I can assure you.

I spotted the ship in the two photos below several times as I walked along the village dyke. 



But by the time I reached the end, another one (see photo below) had caught up and overtaken me. I should mention that this canal is extremely busy and the bridge leading to the small town of Sas van Gent, the Hennie H's home port, opens at least twice an hour, and often more, during daylight hours. It continues throughout the night as well, although the openings are probably fewer, but we'd guess forty times a day wouldn't be an exaggeration. And that's just for those vessels that can't pass under the bridge; there's a constant stream of barges ploughing their way to and fro beneath its spans.


Whatever the numbers, we're not short of shippy eye candy, especially when you think that each time the bridge opens, it's possible for several ships to pass through in procession. Vehicles often have to wait 20 minutes and sometimes up to half an hour for all the canal traffic to get through. The photos below were all taken while I was waiting.




Changing the subject now, this last photo is of a small house along the dyke, which has recently been put on the market. It's very cute, but it needs a lot of work, and I mean a lot. Curious to know what it was going for, we were shocked to discover the asking price is €145k. A couple of years ago, they'd have been lucky to make €85k and indeed, I think it was even sold as a project for about that amount at the time.  It still has to be renovated, so is it worth it? I don't know, but given the way prices have shot up in the last two years, I am sure it will be snapped up. It will make someone a lovely cottage ... eventually!


 Have a good weekend allemaal

27 comments:

  1. sooooo beautiful!!! Thank you for this wonderful post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you for your kind and appreciative comment, Kathleen :)

      Delete
  2. Hi Val, hope you and Koos are both well.
    What a wonderful blog and lovely photos. Such a beautiful place to live and always some ship/barge eye candy.
    Thank you, take care and stay safe and well, xx ❤️๐Ÿค—

    Ps, sorry I have missed a few blogs, I will have to go back over the missing ones soon. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, Linda. You have been SO busy it's lovely to see you here at all. Please don't worry about missing my blogs, my friend. I'm glad you enjoyed this one and am grateful for the comment. I love seeing your blog posts on FB too!

      Delete
  3. Ha! I don't have pictures but the Sacramento Ship Canal (San Joaquin River) goes up to the docks in Stockton, Ca. It's pretty bizarre to see an ocean going ship that far from San Fransisco Bay and the road along the canal dike is much lower than the water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, I shall take a look at the link I see you've posted below, Don. Thank you!

      Delete
  4. Ooh, and I just found this.

    https://www.portofstockton.com/ship-cam/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've just looked at it and see it's a web cam. Of course it's night time there now, so everything's dark. I'll look again later :)

      Delete
    2. Well, it's daylight now, but there's nothing going on at all. I'll have to keep looking :)

      Delete
  5. Fascinating! Love the photos. Sharing with Stella Lucente French on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Kathryn, and thank you for sharing it as well :)

      Delete
    2. Ooh, I see you are 'Stella Lucente'. Thank you again! I love your website :)

      Delete
  6. Larrrrvely, Vallypee. And yes, I want that house too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really cute, isn't it? Jodie's looking at it longingly too :)

      Delete
  7. So fascinating to see the busy canal - like peak hour traffic, running through the countryside. Amazing! That is a cute little cottage: I think I would love to decorate it up into something special :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the busy canal, Patricia, and that cute cottage has a fabulous view of it too!

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Thank you, Anne. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

      Delete
  9. Well, I love boats & water so plenty to enjoy here. We have narrow boats on our canals but these are in a different class. Super photo's. ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ•

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, David. You’ll see plenty of boats on this blog, both great and old, okay and small as well.๐Ÿ˜Š

      Delete
  10. That is a very cute house for sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, Lydia. We went to see it yesterday, but I'm afraid it's such a big project my daughter has decided against trying to buy it.

      Delete
  11. Gosh, I had no idea that the canals sat so high, Val. Thank you for this fascinating insight. Your brilliant photos illustrated the point perfectly. And as for the cottage. Hmm, that does seem to be a hefty price, but what a fun place to live! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is fascinating to see the ships floating above us, Beth. I never get tired of watching them. As for that house, well, it's sadly worse than it looks. We went for a viewing and shuddered at the amount of work needed. I think they'll be lucky to sell it at that price!

      Delete
  12. I've just been catching up on your blogs - interesting as always. Hope you found the source of your leaks, as you don't say in this latest blog. Great photos.

    ReplyDelete

Apologies for switching on comment moderation, but this is to make sure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops!

However, anonymous comments will not be published, so please would you sign your name. Even if you leave a nice, relevant comment, I won't publish it without a name.