About roos

A writing LandArtist

BOATING MEMORIES

bootjes kijken

RIGHT BY THE RIVER

We are at the big rivers from Holland, something very different than the canals of the UK. While looking over the rivers at the new boats old memories pass by. After a dig in the old photo books i found pictures of how it once was, it was hard work and bitter work.

ijs breken

slowly but certainly

Many boats didn’t have an engine they would get towed by a tug over the rivers. When the rivers were frozen, all boats were towed by an icebreaker. Here they go under the bridge at Zwijndrecht.

My father, mother, uncles and aunts were on the rivers, it was a special life. You lived and worked on the boat, on the back of the boat was the home of the skipper and family and on the front was the home of the matroos. Some had no matroos there the family worked, meaning often that wife and husband worked as a team. Us children where on the boat until we reached school age than the authorities came and took the kids into a special intern school. These schippersinternaat where not always that wonderful and my mum had some bad experience, so our kids went with my mum on the land. Yet every school holiday we went on the boat and many weekends as well.

Alvracht 3

Alvracht 3

The Alvracht 3 was the first boat my father was schipper on i can remember it well. Most of my memories were from the Alvracht 15. One of the first boats with a double engine and double propeller. We were fast but so went the time on the rivers first the boats without an engine disappeared than the more smaller boats. The time for the ‘particulier’  (private owned boats) became hard, jobs were taken by the companies. The Alvracht was one of them companies they owned the boats but the families would stay on the boats, it worked the same as the particulier.

Alvracht 15

Alvracht 15 around 1952 on the Rhine by Lorelei

Not anymore at the end of my fathers career we no longer could stay on the boat in our holidays and that broke our hearts. As boaters you had to work through the nights to make the deadline and them deadlines became closer and closer meaning you had to cruise through the nights it became a 24 hour job. The competition became hard when more and more companies moved in.

Lek

modern times

The duwbakken came in, these are boats ( square ugly tanks) pushed by a boat again a square thing with very powerful engines. The Alvracht 15 worked for a short time as a push boat the front would fit into an other boat making her capacity double, however this did not last long. The old girl is now long gone but my memories will stay.

These days you see big boats very big boats on the rivers many loaded with the containers as the market moved on. They work continu dienst (continuous) 24 hours 7 days one shift sleeps the other works, no family on board anymore. Yet it pleases me to tell that the particulier did survive and there are still smaller boats on the rivers going to places that the larger boats can not get to. They still work as a family team while one sleeps the other works. The woman are equal different yes but equal their work was just as much respected as that of a man, they have to, the work can not be done without the woman. They earn the money together making them compatible and their earnings go further as their work is their home, thinking about the housing market.

particulier

particulier

There are still boats on the rivers the size of the Alvracht 15. When i see them going pass i remember all the good times all them moments but most of all the way of life. This way of life was not always respected but that is a story for an other time, for now i am back at the rivers. I end here with a poem which i wrote for my parents when they were 40 years married they gave me many good memories on the boats.

Herinnering aan puur geluk

Het geklots van water wordt even verstoort door geroep

de kooi is klein, maar warm, maar zo veilig

De stilte wordt weg gevaagd door zwaar geronk

de motor is gestart

langzaam gaat het zwaar gebrom over in een eentonig gerommel

Als je dan je hoofd tegen de hout muur houd, trilt heel je lichaam mee op het gerommel

je stem verandert in een vreemd getril

Kort erna het geplof van touwen

de motor klinkt zwaar voor de eerste afzet

de schroeven verschuren het water

je hoort het roer draaien op de roef

door het raam zie je de balken van de bolders overgaan in de gevel kade

het geklots wordt nu harder en de motor komt weer tot rustig gerommel

de wal beweegt langzaam aan je voorbij

daaaaagggg

13-12-1987

around 1948

long time ago

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PAINT

PAINTING
To paint the campervan we needed a good place where the van good stand outside as well as inside.

newcamper01

New Design Old idea

We went to the farm where Berth has a storage ‘shed’ which was once his workshop. When he picked up a piece of wood you saw the sculpture evolving in his head in the place where so many of his work evolved for so many years.

workshop

looking

We had a design for the van to make it a followup of Wanderlust I the narrowboat by using the same colour scheme. In the end we went against it and use green for the background of the painting and the poem. Wanderlust II is not a boat she does not float, she does not roam at a gentle speed, she moves us long distance. Somewhere you have 150 different greens, the green of spring is different than the green of summer. The summer green came with an edge of winter green, the hardware shop does not have the colours of an art supply shop.

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action

We made our own green with the colours of Wanderlust I and a long mixing stick from the workshop. The prime colour is there waiting for the final touch of gold and red, in the end she follows the colour footsteps of all the other wandering vehicles we had.

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you know the meaning

One site will have a poem the other will bear words and dates which make you question what you see, as when art becomes a documentation we will loose our aim. The van is not just a van it will be a story, a poem, a vision and a way to be.

WANDERLUST II

Wanderlust II TWEE TWO ZWEI

The crew of Wanderlust is on route again, only this time we choose to go on the road in an old campervan. After long consideration we had to move into an other direction. The winter in Portugal gave us time to think not only about the Art Retreats but also about DABE-ART. We came to the conclusion, us artists love the aspect of bringing art to the people, as we did on our narrowboat. The idea of a static shop somewhere in Wales went into a large pit with a tree planted right there.

alblasfuut

Great Crested Grebe with young.

We love the wandering, discovering of old and new places, getting inspiration while on the go, meeting people.  The narrowboat had her limits, the places she could bring us had to be near water or otherwise well, boat on dry land goes nowhere.

alblasschaap

a boat as roof

So an other vehicle was needed, our old idea of a wandering gallery in a campervan came back out the cupboard. More research was done into the possibilities and here we are in Wanderlust II on the road again.
Just 3 weeks ago we got this old lady, she needed some work on the engine and now she brings us where ever we wish. The next step will be to give her a special paint job so she stand out in the traffic jam.
Some of the lines will be made with letters forming a poem in 3 languages as we going through cultures and languages.

onderaandedijkvliegen

up in the sky 4 Spoonbills

Our first trip went to some old land for one of us, the place she was born and grew up. The trip took us to Strijensas, last visited 41 years ago. Places do not always alter in the wrong direction, this place certainly not. In 2006 they created from some old agricultural land a nature reserve, rewilding bringing back the wild and beautiful. Now 11 years later it sure looks just like a small wilderness with lots of water birds coming and going. The cows are still there but more in the shape of the wilder variety who wander along the area like kings and queens. While just around the corner on the other site of Het Hollands Diep you find a big industrial area with chemical industrie and power station.

onderaandedijkindustrie

industry and nature can go hand in hand

Boats move backwards and forwards with all kind of cargo right along the edge of the reserve. Wildlife do not mind, just give wildlife a change and it will wander along the track it creates herself. The area is not big but that doesn’t matter. On the edge is a marina with a camper place, for 7 euros you can park your camper right in the marina next to a channel. A very quiet spot with lots of walking and cycling tracks and not to forget boating.

onderaandedijketen

eating Willow for a pain in the neck

The Netherlands finally join other countries into providing special places for campervans to stay, so you don’t need to go to the more expensive campsites. Right now while writing this we stand on a camper place by a farmer. We are surrounded by ‘Polderland’ land which once has been reclaimed from water. The ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ has 22 camper places by farmers they are well worth visiting with fresh eggs for breakfast right next to you.

moelnplekje

camper place on the farm

The area is known by the Dutch as the place by the big rivers, it is surrounded by ‘De Lek’, de ‘Waal’, de ‘Noord’, de ‘Beneden Merwede’, de ‘Boven Merwede’ and de ‘Oude Maas’, de ‘Dortsche Kil’, de ‘Nieuwe Maas’ and finally Het Hollands Diep which is more than a river.

In-between these rivers you find hundreds of small and bigger canals to channel the water away every day by low tide. The use of Windmills for this job goes back for centuries and the fight against water goes even further back. Here on de ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ you find 19 windmills in a row but be aware it is very touristy so full of busses, the best time to visit is during the winter months.

alblasmolen

pumping water

We are not here for just playing tourist info but for business. We have been excepted for several Art markets and festivals. They select the people who can join Art markets in Germany as well as The Netherlands, which is not a bad thing. Our first market will be in Dordrecht on 6 August from there we go to Venlo to set the navigator to Amsterdam, followed by De Bilt back to Dordrecht after which we go into Germany to Hamm and Dortmund. In December we go slowly but certainly south to France and ending in Portugal where we have an exhibition the whole of February. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay informed.

Here on the blog we tell you about our ventures in-between the markets and festivals.

Now we start the painting and writing of the campervan.

molenknotkoe

such a lovely Willows 

mAgdA

DABE-ART 

THE RIVER

While writing this the river flows by, outside my window. Where we are the river flows substantially due to being influenced by the tide, we are around 20 kilometres upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. The tide difference can be up to 3.5 metres, right now the tide comes in while the wind comes from the South giving the river a rushing flow going up not down.

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our Yurt by the river site

 

The Rio Guadiana ends her flow between Vila Real de St Antonio in Portugal and Ayamonte in Spain, creating an impressive estuary which is on the Portugese site a nature reserve. At the end of the river (or for some people the beginning) you not only find several different water-birds including the Flamingo but also salt pans for the winning of the famous sea salt. At times human activities can go easy hand in hand with nature even depends on each other, the salt pans provide for the birds as the ocean provide for the salt pans. The Guadiana has a rich history with many battles therefor you see lots of castles along her shores. Now the castles are nothing more than tourist attraction as the European Union provides no need for canon fire anymore.

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traditional boats

The journey of the river starts, as all rivers, high up in the mountains of   Castilla-La Mancha   in Spain from which she flows interacting with other rivers winding and binding through Spain entering Portugal just the south of Elvas.  In modern days she feeds many reservoirs, providing water for agriculture and swimming pooles alike. The last part of the river forms the old border between Portugal and Spain, where we are.

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The wild part Rio Guadiana 

Much of the river stays wild winding through rocky cuts leaving her imprint in the landscape. When looking from above you see the many arms/branches of her site rivers/streams like a watertree in the rocks. How fluid breaks down solid rock year after year carving with patience a ’tree’ sculpture in the surface of the earth. Not only water flows down with the river, also soil, sand, pebbles, branches and all kind of debris which at times we better not recognise. We see small islands coming pass build up by reed with branches holding onto each other to become the resting ‘boat’ for birds hitchhiking on the tide. Yet, all this flowing and moving doesn’t stop the river to be totally silent, being like a reflecting mirror for the land.

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pure silence

 

You can navigate the river up to Pormaroa, where you find a small jetty for pleasure boats, just down from the remains of the old big jetty from which the train would fill the boats with copper from the mines. Many international boaters, on a variety of yachts, take rest of their sea adventures on the river. They come from different countries been on many seas having plenty of stories to tell and songs to sing. Many of them settled, like us two canal dwellers, on the shores along the river where you see many simple ‘temporary’ buildings and their boats rest close by for trips to the Azoren, Madeira or further an ocean.

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Pormaroa

The land wanderers also find a great resting place along the river, where they park there campers or vans of all kind of descriptions, contemplating on their next part to wander of to. So really, we didn’t wander of much from Wanderlust, just a different direction and certainly a different flow. No more locks to fill and empty, the bridges do not swing that much here. The water still let our wondering flow, giving us other directions for inspirational mentions by observations. We seem to be a bit on a flow here but it sure feels good.

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camper reflections

This morning, before posting this blog, we saw Flamingos on the salt marshes, life is good here, sorry no camera with me.

mAgdA

NEW ART DIRECTION

We at dAbe Art always combined our commercial art with the not commercial art.
We create art for a market, for what people want to buy, as we can’t live from fresh air alone.
Together with other artists we feel strongly that commercialism blocks creative freedom and you might get trapped in making the same thing over and over  again.

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

We would not have the groundbreaking work from Vincent van Gogh, if he would have painted what the market at that time demanded. Artists even loose their artistic freedom when working as community artists or creating funded work. The funding bodies are now a market themselves as they have to justify the money they spend, with other words thick the boxes. Artists also loose on health and safety, the insurance. At times the monetary value of the insurance is higher than that of the art work.

ground breaking

ground breaking

Dabe-Art used their own money for all projects which reflect their artistic expression and the spend time was never wasted though not paid.
We sell to eat, we live to create. We like to explore and love to push boundaries.

wonder

wonder

Right now we are starting once again a meaningless, boundless, aimless project in which we take the freedom to reflect and prospect. A project divided in two, the upper part where we sell and be commercial, the lower part where we act out our freedom to be artists. Or perhaps split into a front part and a back part or a left and a right or an in and out, cleave the subjects. We will be asking other artists to join us on this journey. Before you ask, yes we, again, will be planting trees on our route. Oh and before we forget: the art retreats are a part of our commercial exportation, but when you are interested we will add on the abstract expectation.

do you see the meaning?

do you see the meaning?

Dabe-Art started the experimenting, the researching, the possibilities. We opened up some old ideas, which lay buried under sheets of dust. We look and search once again we might enhance the new into our old perspectivity  (new word) perhaps a new world.
We will use this new space not only to sell put also to explore and to feel your anticipation.

pick this up

pick this up

mAgdA

dAbE Art

Shroppie

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shroppie magic

The Wanderlust wandering down, perhaps up, or maybe over, better into a magic place called Shropshire Union Canal.
Our most favourite spot on the canals is the cut, a real cut out of rocks to prevent the need of many locks, Woodseaves Cut
Created as a vein for the industry ended as haven for wilderness.

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a green wall

It is still, it is green, it is wild yet human hands made it with spades and pickaxe. It was the last project made by the engineer Thomas Telford he never saw it finished as his ambition was high it took more time to repair and repair again what failed and failed again.
Yet, here it is full of life full of beauty. He knew you could do it and so he did.

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tall

The bridges here are TALL, higher than trees no problem here for the bird on the chimney. The canal here narrows to an almost single lane canal, yet two boats can just pass if no rocks stick out.

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ssssssstttt

Trees are growing almost vertical any crack hides its own little forest of ferns, moss and my favourite liverworts. The liverworts are old very old plants living while adapting, in my opinion the strongest plant on earth.

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Liverwort with a small fern covering cliffs

While passing you feel the jungle surrounding you with different sounds, different smells giving you the feeling you just entered an other world.
You can almost see the animals swing on the strings of Ivy.

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vertical garden 

Somebody said a picture never does it justice, no matter how i pick my brain, words certainly don’t describe it.

When you are ever on the canals in the UK make sure you don’t miss this piece of magic.

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good bye

A very special way to say good bye to our life on the canals as we wander on, over land towards new water to be explored by us but not with the Wanderlust.

Watch this space for more and even more updates.

 

 

WILLOW SPIRAL

The Wanderlust is back on the canals enjoying the tranquil feeling of being afloat. Behind us lays the Willow Spiral.

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WILLOW SPIRAL

The Willow Spiral was a part of Spiral Journey 2015, we planted it together with the boating community of Mercia Marina. It is the only Spiral of the Journey which will be permanent. When we came back this year the planted Willow had a hard time yet as how Willow do it survived and with a bit of help started to grow once again. We filled the caps, pruned the dead bits, cut the grass.

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BROKEN SLATE LOST WORDS

The slate on which the poems were written had broken, so we even picked up the pieces of the poems. On the bare slate new poems appeared, clearly poetry is a part of the Spiral.
With poetry in mind we had an other community event writing haiku or wishes. It was a lovely sunny day with many walkers joining in with us.

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NEW ENCOUNTERS

We created a small seat in the centre of the Spiral with a small Haiku box filled with little canvas flags ready for a small poem, wish, dream, remembrance or any other messages to be taken by the wind.
The seat is sheltered by a stick Tipi, to create that special place for reflection.

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HUNGRY WILLOW

The Willow will now look after themselves as some sure prove by ‘eating’ up the string which hold them. Nature will move in and take care while human write to remember the strength of nature.

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READING WILDLIFE

The Wanderlust moves on.

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WRITTEN SILENCE

 

mAgdA

 

 

Thyme

PLANT PROFILE
THYME

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thymus are small woody evergreen shrubs, which grows very well in sunny, well drained, conditions.

The final size of Thyme various from 5 cm (2 inch) to 20 cm (8 inch). Therefor they are brilliant plants for in pots.

 

Thymus vulgaris the compact form and the normal garden Thyme

Thymus vulgaris the compact form and the normal garden Thyme

Growing Thyme in pots makes it easier to create the right environment for them. When you grow Thyme in a pot choose terracotta or a stone pot as they drain of the water very well, but avoid plastic pots.

What Thyme doesn’t like is: too much water, damp conditions, acid soil and a shady spot; in these cases Thyme will be susceptible to rotting.
To make soil less acid you can add some calcium to the soil in the form of horticultural grit, dolomite lime or make your own by using eggshells: you wash tand dry them and than make it into powder or as fine as you can get in a mortal and pestle or use a rock to grind them.
You can make soil more well drained by adding some gravel. Compost in pots will become more acid in time, add some calcium after around 3 months.
Lots of compost is too fertile for Thyme, fertility will wash away in time and the good thing is you never need to fertilise Thyme. When you do fertilise you will get a very leggy plant which will grow too fast and die too fast.

Thyme silver posy in terracotta pot

Thyme silver posy in terracotta pot

In nature Thyme grows in sandy soil mainly in coastal areas, therefor the plant can handle salty winds or exposure very well. You can find wild Thyme growing along the Pembrokeshire coast or other coastal areas in the UK. Thyme is winter hardy and can handle frost well into the -15º.

flowering Thyme

Thyme can be used in cooking and goes very well in mediterranean cooking and with meat dishes, it helps us to digest our food better.
It also is an antiseptic herb very helpful when you have a cold.
Cutting Thyme will help the plant and yourself, you don’t need to prune it when you use the herb in cooking.

Thyme in the garden can be used in many ways to help us. When you are seeding in a greenhouse or under plastic put some stems of Thyme on the soil to prevent powdery mildew and damping off. When lucky the stems will set root and you have some new Thyme plants as well.
Thyme will attract the bees to the garden they, just love the tiny flowers. Thyme honey is well known and has a special taste, good for colds.

Thymus vulgaris compact, perfect for all size pots

Thymus vulgaris compact, perfect for all size pots

On the boat we sell the garden Thyme in a normal and the compact variety and we have the silver posy Thyme in a terracotta pot.

For more information please visit us by the boat.

 

ROOF TOP

ZEN-SCAPES

beach dreaming

beach dreaming

The idea of making small scale landscapes based on big scale landscapes, has been brewing for several years now. The making of big gardens lay behind us but gardening is still a part of land art. Only a narrowboat does not have much space and a roof garden was a big question. How will a garden effect the roof? Think about the rust it could create. A small roof garden was the compromise with a bit of experimenting in mind. The garden came on some wood so water could flow away or on some rubber matt to let in air, plus protecting the paint.

roof top garden last year

roof top garden last year

After two years the paint was fine, no more rust under the roof garden than on the rest of the roof. So the old idea of ‘Zen-Scapes’ came back on the agenda of the Wanderlust as a part of making our products more diverse. Landscape inspire many artists in just as many ways; photography, painting, poetry, land art, sculptures and gardening. The Japanese gardens reflect on landscapes and in certain ways garden-design in Europe also show small scale landscapes. While standing on the cliff tops in Pembrokeshire by Trefin looking down on the small beach surrounded by a rocky landscape something started to develop.

Trefin Beach, Pembrokeshire

Trefin Beach, Pembrokeshire

How can you “terrascape” a landscape like that in a pot, micro landscaping. You see the big rocks yet there are so many small pebbles, pieces of driftwood and even drift glass. While writing a land art poem on the beach the collecting of material started, small material to create small landscapes.

circle made with found material of the beach some only 2 MM big

circle made with found material of the beach some only 2 MM big

The beach by Trefin relaxes the mind and body just like so many other landscapes, just like zen gardens. The simplicity of emptiness shows in every Japanese garden, they use just a few plants with not too many flowers. The opposite of an English cottage garden which is filled with flowers of every season except during the cold winter months. The Japanese always use rocks and gravel or sand, they create a relaxing atmosphere while behind the wall the hassle and bustle of life goes on. The Japanese garden becomes a place to relax, a place to escape.

rocky water

rocky water

How to get that relax atmosphere of water over rocks in a pot, how to get the colours and reflection into a pot?

water reflection

water reflection

In this example only one rock is used washed on the sand and the glass pot represents the water.
The air-plant can’t be placed outside, it is more something for on the coffee table. Air-plants do not need any soil and can be used in a creative way but will not survive outside. We only have very limited space inside the boat and most windows are filled with sculptures some discussions later, better look at outdoor solutions.

Zen scape

Zen scape

Succulent plants survive with very little soil and even grow right on rocks. The problem with these plants is: too much water will kill them and some can only handle a little frost. We are now working on a system to protect the plants which will also protect the roof. The roof will be filled with ‘Zen-Scapes’ each reflecting a landscape somewhere in the world using special little objects found in that landscape. At times they will be simple and others will be big.

simple Zen Scape

simple Zen Scape

The wing will fly away as the ‘Zen-Scapes’ need the light and not the red light of the wing, which function was to give some shelter from the elements yet still look like a boat. The wing also made people aware of us, we are more than a moored narrowboat. We are back to the drawing board how to fit all the different elements on the boat.

stilte   silence

stilte silence

The Mercia Marina will create a bee garden and the boaters will place some bee attracting plants on their boats. There are many succulent plants who flower and many who attract  bees and butterflies. We will arrive at the Marina around 25 March and will start trading not long afterwards. The roof top garden with the many ‘Zen-Scapes’ will be developed right there, right than.

 

roof top garden in 2014

roof top garden in 2014

 

 

 

WANDERING

WANDERING
The Wanderlust is not our first mean of wandering, we have been wandering in many ways mostly with our own feet. The problem with human feet is the distance you cover and the same with a narrowboat. For years our wandering also happens with an old campervan one of them was the first wandering gallery from dAbE Art. With this old camper Berth went to markets and exhibitions all over Europe, you can cover distance even with a slow old camper.

Olde Camper

Olde Camper

The Artist on the Canals tour last year was an overal succes, however we need to make a living on the boat. Sadly we had to come to the same conclusion as many other artists done before us that selling art will not bring in enough money. So we also started to look at diversifying. We got our commercial cap on and starting doing research, marketing research.

Mooring in silence

Mooring in silence

In the camper we missed something what we do have with the narrowboat and that is being able to stop at lovely places while on route. In a camper you either have to put up with sharing these lovely spots with many other campers. In Dutch we say standing hutjeopmutje, meaning standing like sardines in a tin.

close together at the Dortmund-Ems Kanal

close together at the Dortmund-Ems Kanal

There are some special campsites we do make an effort to create bigger places. Most of them campsites are small campsite mainly managed by family business. Yet this was still not the same as with the narrowboat.

Lovely Campsite at Monchique

Lovely Campsite at Monchique

You also have a great system in Europe for campers where you can stand overnight with your camper while on route. In Germany they call them ’stellplaetze’ and in France they call them ‘Aires de Campingcar’ they are not much more than car-parks. At times they are free but most of the time you need to pay for them.
On the moment we stood on the land from friends we knew how we can solve this camping problem. We create a private ’Stellplaetze’ somewhere in a beautiful area in a beautiful setting and rent it out.

With the 'new' camper by friends

With the ‘new’ camper by friends

Our idea was born and we started to do more research into it. While on route we came along ‘Rio Guadiana’  an absolutely brilliant place. It is the non-active border between Portugal and Spain and its  780 kilometres long, flowing through some wonderful countryside. When we saw a for sale sign right there on the river that plot became our new business adventure.

the RIO Guadiana

the RIO Guadiana

We are now very busy to get it ready so we can rent it out this year already. It is right at the river and i mean right on the river, yet it is easy to find as it is also right on a road. The river site was used and in places is still used as an orchard in combination with goats or sheep who wander the surrounding area with their shepherd, still today. The landje got some very old fig trees, olive trees and pomegranate trees. We have planted more fruit trees in combination with herbs and we made our last  spiral of Spiral Journey.

Spiral LELIEN

Spiral LELIEN

It will be a lovely river-garden where, who rent it, can pick their own fruit and herbs while enjoying the view. The area has some great walking routes where you can be all by yourself with nature. Not to forget some fantastic restaurants and little cafe’s. Watch the Wanderlust Facebook page for more up to date news.

In the next bloc we will tell you what our new plan is with the roof of the boat.

 

Painted roof

Painted roof

written from the river edge
by mAgdA