The River Maas
Leaving the Spaanjerd marina, home base of Linssen Boating Holidays® partner Aqua Libra. Once you have sailed through the second Maasplas, you come out on the River Maas. When you turn to starboard, you can only sail a few kilometres before the Maas becomes too shallow and you have to turn around again. You can sail on until you reach the Schroevendaalseplas near the village of Ohé en Laak. Here you will find Camping en Jachthaven De Maasterp, with a beautiful harbour, campsite and a few floating six-person Maas villas.
The small Heerenlaak Marina is also located here, more for small speedboats and water skis. From here, it is only a stone's throw by bike or on foot to Maaseik. A small town, but with the largest historical market square in Belgium. The treasuries of the Museums of Maaseik are the Old Pharmacy, the Regional Archaeological Museum and the Treasury of the Sint-Catharina Church. In addition, in the Bosbeek valley around Maaseik, there are no less than 12 historic water mills in excellent condition, which are often still operated by traditional methods. Maaseik can also be easily reached by bicycle from De Spaanjerd.
Heading back north, we again pass by the inlet to our home port. This time, however, we sailed straight ahead and immediately found Stevensweert on our starboard side. This old fortified town is actually situated on an island between the Maas and the Old Maas. Founded in 1633 by the Spaniards, the street plan of the village reminds us. The streets run like spokes of a wheel to the central square. In Stevensweert you will find the Streekmuseum Stevensweert and - just outside the village - the Hompensche Molen. With a sunny terrace and a small menu for snacks, this is an excellent place to rest in the area.
Thorn - the white town
We continue upstream to the north and arrive at Maasplas De Grote Hegge, where - right at the end - we arrive at Thorn. Thorn is internationally known as 'the White Town' and must be seen. This former 'mini principality' is known for its white-painted houses and monumental buildings. Centrally located is the Abbey church. It is surrounded by small streets and pleasant terraces. Around Thorn lies nature reserve De Koningssteen. Galloway cattle and Konik horses roam here and contribute to the multi-faceted development of the grasslands.
We sail on and pass Wessem. Wessem is a typical Maasvillage, built in the square. Many of the old houses have gable stones and wall anchors dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, and many of the streets are laid with Maas cobbles. On our port side we can see Grand Café Maasterras 't Veerhuis. Moor up in the harbour and take a pleasant walk to this - or any other - restaurant in this picturesque village.
We pass under the motorway and come to a three-way junction. From here we can turn left onto the Zuid-Willemsvaart towards Weert/Nederweert to continue our journey to either Belgium or Brabant. We can turn right on the Juliana Canal towards Maastricht and we can go straight on towards Roermond, Venlo and beyond. It depends on your time which route you take...