Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Strasbourg to Corre

Jul 10

As we were retracing our footsteps along the Canal Marne au Rhin we tried to stop at different moorings to the way out, though there was no real alternative to Lutzelbourg.  This time we managed to find a mooring at Saverne opposite the Chateau.

Chateau Rohan Saverne
We kept on meeting boats ex Strasbourg though traffic overall was quite light - a bad year for the Hire firms?  Not a lot of wildlife either other than swans.

The deep lock at Rechicourt (15.4m) was a squeeze this time - the Eclusier insisted on fitting in 4 craft and our jackstaff got damaged (more grump).

Rechicourt ecluse
Peter had to go back to UK to help daughter move flats in July, so we moored up at Lagarde and Peter did the 10 hour drive back to Bristol in a hire car - Angela was left with a can of varnish and brush (for the wheelhouse) - Kes to entertain and a boatload of Italians to fend off.

Lagarde - early morning
Peter got back a week later with a car full to the gunnels incl boat paint, new fridge and washing machine etc. While back he had also squeezed in an unplanned removal of a skin cancer - which was found on his routine check (too many years in hot climates).  The NHS is great but works on rather extended time frames so a speedy private job depleted the cash flow again.  The Bristol flat was now let  - so sonst ist alles OK.

Fascinated by some of the place names en route Xouaxange, Gondrexange, Xirxange, Xures which don't exactly trip off an English tongue - must do a Google search to find the derivations.  A lady sharing an ecluse with us gave us a fright by falling into the rapidly emptying ecluse from her hireboat (she thought it was funny once we get her out)!! Not sure filling out Inquest forms in French would be.

So we traipsed back past Nancy to Toul where we turned south on the Moselle - we had planned a shortcut down the Embranchement du Nancy but that was semi-permanently closed (to the surprise of our Navigo software). A few very long days in the absence of any good moorings - Angela tired and giving the crew a hard time again.  A few nice family sized chateaus on the Moselle which Angie fancied (I pointed out the cleaning and heating costs)..

Moselle chateau
We were looking forward to getting on the Canal des Vosges, though we were hearing rumours about possible Arrets de Navigation.  Richardmenil was a nice mooring but all the restaurants were closed - back on automatic locks - whoopee. The next day a green bank mooring just short of the Flavigny sur Moselle ecluse and aqueduct - a lovely spot.

Flavigny aqueduct
We pushed on through Roulle devant Bayon to Charmes, following a slow commercial most of one day. Saw a lot of Kia,  a swiss registered Peniche de Plaisance, first met west of Strasbourg. Charmes was busy and we found a slot at the Camping Ground, we spent the evening in an ad hoc canal side meal with some Australians from a campervan.

Canal des Vosges
At Thaon les Vosges a VNF worker told us that Ecluse 6 was 'broken' and we would be held up for 4 days -  luckily the town had all mod cons so Peter fuelled up by jerrican, we depleted the supermarket and when bored we gave Kotare some TLC (washing, varnishing and painting).  An adjacent barge was called 'Miss Marple' but was owned by a Frenchman (with a very noisy generator).  Angie took my stitches out (lots of previous practice with our dogs). Met Etoile de Soir, a very early, and small, Sagar owned by a Kiwi from Christchurch.

Off south again towards Epinal which we wanted to recce as a winter mooring, but the embranchement was closed so pushed on (an extra 14 ecluses) to Les Forges.  At which point we were told by VNF that Ecluse 37 was closing for 2 weeks + in two days! Could we do 37 ecluses in 2 days - mais bien sûr.  A pity as we were sprinting past places where we would have liked to linger.  Fontenoy Le Chateau was pretty little town - if slightly run down in places aka derelict - a possible wintering spot one year?  Managed to get bread and water before lunch closure.

Departing Fontenoy
We finally got to Ecluse 37 where we found three barges ahead of us, one of which was Vrouwe Catherina.   The water level was right down as the ecluse gates were knackered - VNF was pumping water into the ecluse from a lake to get each boat through.  We put our bow into the shore while waiting and were lucky to get off when we wanted to move as the water level had fallen further.  We were the last boat through before they pulled the plug.  Continued on to Selles where there was a nice restaurant, so we collapsed for a few days and, led astray by the Ramsey's on V. Catherina, squandered the housekeeping on wine and food.

Then off to Corre and the junction with the River Saone

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