De 4 Vaargetijden - How the barge cruise almost went wrong...

How the barge cruise almost went wrong…

How the barge cruise almost went wrong…

In the video, you can see footage from en route during the Westhoek tour and at the end also the unpacking of the painting.

How the barge cruise with De 4 Vaargetijden almost went wrong… Booked a long time ago and yet the boating holiday almost flopped.

Our loyal guest, John Delapp from Anchorage, had already experienced several boat trips in Belgium. He loves travelling by boat on Belgium’s rivers and canals as well as the many Belgian beers.

Now he had set his sights on a 10-day cruise through the Westhoek, with all traces of World War I still visible. Very enthusiastically, he had also warmed up his friends for this trip. Everyone was looking forward to this boat holiday with great anticipation.

The boating holiday could not go ahead…

The trip was already booked in 2019 but then came the Covid crisis. Up to 4 times, the trip had to be postponed. After all, free travel from the USA to Belgium was not allowed. Every time a huge disappointment, you can think! Would the trip ever be able to happen?

Still, all woes come to an end and so the long-awaited trip was allowed to go ahead in April 2022…. Unfortunately, now there was another threat.

Murphy cheated, again postponing boat tour

Not a virus this time, but a real war in Europe. No one wanted to travel closer to that war zone.

Then John sprang into action and opened all registers to convince his friends that travelling to Belgium would be safe enough. He found replacements for those who really didn’t want to come along. In this way he got the boat’s four cabins filled. Only Tom Whitfield’s wife stayed at home. So her husband came alone.

Finally welcome aboard!

Thus the whole party boarded the boat in April for the cruise to the Westhoek. They first visited the art cities of Ghent and Bruges. These cities obviously have a lot of assets and something for everyone. Then they sailed along the river Yser and the small canals to Nieuwpoort, Veurne and Diksmuide. Especially in Diksmuide, the war memorials and World War I museums made a big impression.
After that war violence, the romantic Oude Leie came as a calming finale. The many villas, the Ooidonk castle and the kingfisher flashing by… they enjoyed themselves to the full!

Every day, Tom forwarded beautiful photos to his wife. So she could enjoy the boating holiday at home. On the next trip, she will get on board herself!

Afterwards, everyone travelled home satisfied.

The voyage got a tailspin…

Yet this trip had another memorable sequel….

In December, we received an email from Tom. A surprise was on its way to us…. We looked forward to it and in early January we could go and pick up the package. What would it contain?

Tom had made a painting on wood. The subject was the ship De 4 Vaargetijden. The crew, Captain Maurits, ship’s dog Noty and Olga are in the foreground. We got all warmed up by this unique gift, made with so much love and so much time spent on it. It will definitely get a nice place of honour on board!

Thank you John and Tom!

We thank John Delapp for getting this party excited about a boating holiday in Belgium and of course also Tom Whitfield for the priceless painting, which, according to customs, as a homemade gift has no value….

Share your holiday experience…

I am curious if a holiday trip has ever encouraged you to pick up an old hobby again and get creative? Feel free to share your experience below in the comments!