French Canal Holiday: Hesse to Strasbourg
8-11 June 2011
In continuing persistent rain, Stephen and Sarah made a visit
to get fresh bread and stock up on groceries. After filling up the tanks with
water (incidentally, this was the first boat we've had with a water gauge - why
is that small civility apparently unusual?) we set off, still with rain falling
but rather less heavily.
The first lock appeared to be stuck, and Alan and Lucy went to investigate. As
they arrived at the lock the man from VNF arrived and fixed the lock, allowing
this large barge which had been below to come through.
Passing the bassin d'Austerlitz
Back through the Bassin des Remparts
A group of ducklings got stuck in the lock with us, but seemed happier to risk
the strong water flows around the gates than be near the boat.
Sheila at the wheel
Lucy checks out the route; Sarah looks puzzled by Kurt Wallander's activities.
So it's up all the way back to Hesse - Sheila on the front rope helps keep the
boat secure as the water surges in.
Lucy at the stern rope.
You may have noticed a pattern in the place names we've passed through. This
signpost in Mommenheim really doesn't look like it is French.
A stork's nest balanced ratherly precariously on top of a pylon right next to
the railway in Mommenheim. Unfortunately the restaurants in Mommenheim and
Walternheim were closed, so it was a make-do evening on board after we'd got a
few groceries from the boulangerie.
After an early morning party had been back to the boulangerie
for fresh bread, we were underway again.
After yesterday's gloom and rain, it was a pleasant morning.
Lucy at the wheel as Alan checks the map.
Jane on the front rope
Passing Hochfelden where we walked for Monday night's dinner.
The lock cottages have no fixed pattern - this is the cottage by lock 38.
After the extensive arable fields of the Zom and the Rhine generally, we are
approaching the town of Saverne and the beginning of the Vosges where the
canal's surrounds are very different.
We moored for the night in Saverne and found a pleasant restaurant - Lucy has an
unusual looking drink.
The view of the chateau from our mooring spot.
After an early morning walk around Saverne to get fresh
croissants and some bread for lunch, it was time to get on the move again.
In the deep lock in Saverne, Alan holds the front rope and looks steeply up
The canal, road, mainline Paris-Strasbourg railway and river Zom all crowd into
this narrow valley
Getting the ropes round the high up bollards without braving the ladder was
something of a challenge - here you can see the two coils uncoiling as they
carry the loop of the rope around the bollard.
A disused lift-bridge lies in front of this lock. You can also see how faint
were the green lights on most of the locks.
Hello down there!
Stephen ready to steer the boat out of the lock
And so we have finished our last lock of the holiday. Just the inclined plane
(behind) remains to lift us up to the summit level.
The caisson on its way down to meet us
Sarah at the wheel as our boat is carried up the hillside
A look back at the lower level
A look through the tunnel shows a boat coming towards us (hence the red light)
After the two tunnels we stopped again at Niderviller where we
returned to Sunday night's auberge for our final French meal out.
The last morning, and Alan is at the wheel taking us part of the way back to
Hesse and the boatyard.
We cleared the boat, Stephen took Jane and Sarah to Sarrebourg
for their train, and then the other four of us headed home. We had a smooth
journey across France, had lunch in Luxembourg, then Belgium with an afternoon
break near Brussels, and back into France for the tunnel at Calais.
We got an earlier train than planned, this time going onto the upper deck.
Exiting the train onto English soil once more.
Quite a different holiday from the English canal holidays, and
very enjoyable. We have no definite plans yet for next year - time will tell!