My Travel Blog

A Tour of the Past in Verdun

We finally met up with Wilco in Stenay.  More important he brought his lovely 14-year- old daughter Marscha to help look after my two beautiful granddaughters Talia and Zoe.  While I’ve enjoyed being the captain of my own boat having Wilco takes a lot of pressure off of me.

“Marscha and Zoe.”

“This is why I have a 127 ft. barge, but with these two I may need a bigger boat.”

From Stenay our next few stops were Dun-sur-Meuse, Consenvoye and finally Verdun.  At Dun-sur-Meuse we climbed a hill to the remnants of a walled city.  There wasn’t much left to see, but the views were magnificent.  The locks we are traveling through have changed.  We can no longer use our transmitter, as they are manually operated.  More important instead of being 5.7 meters wide they are 5.2 meters wide, and that leaves just four inches on each side of Rabelo.  Imagine driving your car into your garage with just four inches on each side. Now imagine stretching that car to 127 feet, and just for good measure throw in some cross winds and current.  When you do it right, and don’t bump, there’s a real feeling of satisfaction.

“View from the walled city above Dun-sur-Meuse.”

“Wilco helping the lock keeper.”

In Consenvoye there was a fair in town with all the rides we loved as kids.  We also discovered an alternative use for Rabelo when we’re tired of cruising.  Check out the picture below.

“Why not a bowling alley?”

“One mans idea of what a canal boat should look like.”

With all the history that has taken place in Verdun we decided to take the car off Rabelo and go touring.  Verdun is best known for the great battles that took place in the surrounding areas during WWI and WWII.  Though it was during WWI when the most were killed.  We could never figure out exactly how many died during WWI around Verdun, but the number is somewhere between 800,000 and a 1,000,000 men.  After almost a hundred years the verdant forests have grown back, but the pictures show a landscape that was completely denuded during the war.  You can still see the trenches the men fought from, and the terrain is still pockmarked from the craters left by the artillery shells.  During one ten-hour battle there were 2,000,000 shells fired.  All told there were something like 60,000,000 shells fired.  Even the underground forts did not survive without significant damage.  The Citadel, the largest of all the forts, has over 7 kilometers of underground tunnels and galleries.

“Rabelo tied up in Verdun.”

“The memorial at the Verdun battle field.”

“Just a small part of Fort De Douaumont.”

“One of the underground bunkrooms.”

After seeing so many cemeteries you have to start wondering why mankind can’t figure out a better way to resolve it’s differences.  If the countries of the world got together and decide that only mothers could govern I’m sure this would be a better place to live.

“A view from our kitchen window.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


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.