As we passed under the big welcome signs at Dinant Evasion, I couldn't help but feel like I was entering an amusement park. We obediently zigzagged through the queue lines to one of the (many) ticket offices. "Do you have your confirmation letter?" asked the ticket lady in broken Dutch (Dinant is in the French-speaking part of Belgium). I fumbled for my phone, hoping the confirmation email was still cached (I still use my US smartphone, so no cellular data for me). Phew, there it was. I've never arrived for a reserved kayak rental and been told that my last name was insufficient for accessing the reservation... Warning Sign #1. Okay, the super commercial website could also have tipped me off (Warning Sign #0)...
*Little did we know that the entire 5 hour trip would be a queue...
** We made 2 estimates of the number of people on the water. One was based on eyeballing the number of kayaks in frames and one was based on watching kayakers go by and converting the rate to a total. The range was 700 to 7000 (or something like this). As engineers, we were satisfied to having pinned down an order of magnitude.
*** Okay it was still REALLY hard and heavy.
We paddled over two small dams, and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
If all this sounds fun to you, then by all means, go kayaking in Dinant! But you won't find me there again any time soon... Am I crazy for thinking this level of commercialization of kayaking is excessive? Or have you had similar experiences in other places?
Distance: 19.2 km (12 miles)
Duration: 5 hours
Weather: Warm and sunny!