My Travel Blog

Introducing Rabelo | The Adventure Begins

Holy shit, what have I done?  It’s four in the morning and I just bought a 127ft. barge.  Not only did I just buy a barge, but the damn thing is in France.

It all started about four months ago.  It was early in the morning.  I had gotten up to use the bathroom, and decided to check my e-mail. Had the owners accepted my offer on Rabelo.

Our Big Baby


Original owners cabin from 1929 where Lisa and I will live.

The main salon and dinning room that Lisa can’t wait to get her hands on.

We had found her in La Havre, France during our one-week layover coming home from Israel.  I left clicked the mouse and the screen came to life.  There it was, the e-mail from our broker.  I hesitated, not sure of the response I wanted.  Had I purchased a barge?  Did the owners accept my offer?  I opened it. No, my broker had warned me.  The owners would only accept their asking price.  Now what?  I sat in the dark with my head in hand.  What should I do?  Rabelo was by far the best barge we had seen.  With a little work she would have all the amenities we were looking for.  The asking price was reasonable, but no one ever buys a boat in this market and pays the asking price.  Since we sold our last barge in 2005 Lisa and I had been dreaming about buying another.

Our old barge Tigre Rose. She was a beautiful vessel, but not practical.

But this time we planned on spending 6 months a year exploring every last village and town along the rivers and canals of Europe. I really wanted Rabelo, so rather than wait for another barge to come on the market I caved in.  If you could only see and experience what we saw and did on Tigre Rose you would understand why.

Now I’m sitting in the Virgin Atlantic lounge at Los Angeles International Airport, and in 15 hours I’ll be in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  As I take another sip of wine I can’t help but think back on the last couple of months, and the amazing journey that brought me here.  Of all things, it started with a decision to visit Israel.  I had just completed the manuscript for my next book “When Stones Speak.”  The story takes place in Israel, and I needed to research the locations I had written about.

Lisa had booked our trip to Israel, and because of some last minute misunderstandings we had to re-book.  Using our miles the only return flights we could find required us to stay in Europe for an additional week.  And that’s where my journey to Amsterdam really began.  Why Amsterdam?  Well that another story for the next edition of LIVING BARGE.

In the meantime – enjoy some of the photos we’ve taken along the way!

-Tom Miller

Some of the scenery along the canals and rivers of Europe can take your breath away.

A vineyard in Champagne

A friendly neighbor along the River Marne

A boy and his Grandfather, and oh so French.



About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.