National Geographic : 1964 Aug
Good life afloat "c F ALL THE CREATURES of commer ' cial enterprise, a canal barge is by far the most delightful to consider," wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in An Inland Voyage. Generation follows gen eration aboard the barges, and descend ants of some of the boatmen who in spired this observation still wander Europe's waterways. Families spend their whole lives afloat, venturing on land only when necessity dictates. Canal wife (above) near Donk, in the Netherlands, pushes the prow of her barge-home toward midstream to enter a lock. Painted anchor winch looks like a pinwheel. Horizontal wheel and seated skipper enable the barge (left), here traveling the Zuidwillems Canal, to pass under extremely low bridges. Contented cap tain of this coal carrier wears klompen, the Dutch wooden shoes.