Wednesday, 16 July 2014

and then to the German border

Jul 14

We idled after the Mauvages tunnel - downhill all the way.  Two nights at the VNF stop at Void, a nice little town with a reasonably 'original' town gate (still has its gate chain slots).  Angie squandered the housekeeping on local produce (honey, jam and wine).

Through the Foug tunnel and another lift bridge (better than sunsets Terry).

A couple of nights later we were in Toul at Lorraine Marine.   The sewage pump had been playing up and Duncan, the proprietor, being half Peter's size managed to squeeze in and replace the pump valves, after we managed to get replacements from UK. Peter did some gardening (he needs a greenhouse!

The crew of  'Romany' a kiwi boat (Ruth and Roger) arrived from down under, which was an excuse for drinks and they kindly gave us a lift to Lidl (3 months beer supply replenished) but then after five days it was off to Nancy by way of Liverdun.  Liverdun is a small inlet that looks dodgy so we had avoided it previously,  but we forced through the weed and mud  and an extremely large dead fish and had a good night in peace - reversing out round a 90 deg bend was accomplished with Angie's normal panache the next day.

Liverdun Inlet
Not sure what breed
We were now off the canal and onto the River Moselle for a period.

River Moselle nr Liverdun
Always get good reflections on the rivers
The high point of the run through Nancy was the Intermarche (in a previous life it had been Auchan, but we noticed they were developing a new Auchan closer in to town). No one we knew so we tucked in on a quai by the lift bridge.

Nancy port de plaisance
 The Cathedral St Nicholas de Mariniers always looks totally stranded but is actually on the riverbank

At Parroy we met 'Nautilus' (Susan and Mike) liveaboards who are also wintering at Brugge.  Lots of hire boats on the move - not helped by the closure of the Arzweiler Plane which is pushing them west. The last act before turning north was the Rechicourt ecluse (15m) as usual the eclusier tried to pack us in with lots of shouting.

We turned onto the Canal des Houliiers/Canal de la Sarre and we were on  new territory at last. Moored at Diane Capelle before tackling the 15 lock flight down to Mittersheim.  Angie is like a pig in muck as everyone speaks German (or a version of it). Tarte Flambe at the village bar - Angie preferred the beer.

Mistakenly worried we would get trapped by Bastille Day we pushed on to Sarralbe - nice town and the Bastille festivities were much more 'family oriented' than those previously attended - more like a village fete (beer tent by the tennis club, tarte flamb√© by the rowing club, cake stall by the french WI ....)  We noticed that most of the towns had old RC and Protestant churches - unlike further west (as Alsace was unaffected by the Wars of Religion).

Sarrallbe Gate tower
More churches
The Canal de la Sarre moved us back into the 'debateable' lands with old defensive works we hadn't noticed since Belgium.

A Dutch flagged peniche put us into the side near Wittring and the bowthruster expired after picking up a load of rubbish - once we stopped Peter dissassembled it and put in a new shearpin (amazingly it all worked on reassembly). Finally into Sarreguemines last town before the German border. Not sure they will let us through given length and licences but fingers crossed as Angie desperately desperately needs a German supermarket (and bratwurst mit frites - or is that Peter). Peter squandered €6 on a Deutschland cruising flag which he will burn if we are turned back.

Port de Sarreguemines (and 'Casino')

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