My father, the adventurer, once decided to traverse Europe in a small boat, from Rotterdam via Zentropa's waterways with the ultimate destination Istanbul, through the Black Sea. This was in the mid-70s when the canal between Europe's two famous river systems had yet to be completed so he had to cheat a little and take his vessel on a trailer from N├╝rnberg to the Danube. During my summer vacation from High School I was with him on the first legs of the journey, along the Baltic, the Kiel Canal and on various waterways in Germany but left before he crossed the border into the Netherlands. So for me it was a brief dipping of my toe in the canals but I think I managed to get a feel for the life of the barge people, some of whom we befriended in the locks. Unfortunately I never spied any ships like Fironzelle's Golden Conceit or Miraldra's Enchantment (now that is what I call perfect names for ships) but maybe my father came across some magnificent showboats like that in the Rhine or the Danube...

As for his journey it nearly ended tragically as the Black Sea was hit by a hurricane just after my father finally had cleared the last of the Romanian red tape and left the estuary of the Danube. The boat was smashed but it was a loaner anyway.