Tuesday, 29 July 2014

the Luxembourg loop

Jul 14

It was hard work dragging Angie away from the Port bar at Sarreguemines given cold Bitburger Pils was €1.50 a bottle! A nice port.

Then with knees knocking we set off for the German border on the Canal de la Sarre. We had already had an officious German boater (10m tupperware) carefully pace out the boat length and tell us loudly we would need a special Fahrerschein and that was still in France! At the border/first Schluese they waved us though onto the River Saar and wished us a Happy Holiday - must have been our new German flag.

Onwards through Saarbrucken which was full of  large daytripper boats and we felt relatively safe after that. The first 30km was mostly Saarstahl both sides and our first overnight was at the World Heritage site at Volklingen  (aka rusty old steel works).  The town was more Turkish than German but Peter got some brotchen at last!

Cheaper than pulling them down - call it Heritage
Turn right to Luxembourg - easy nav
We were back into big commercial locks and our first actual experience of a (water saving) divided lock though we had seen them before we had never used one.

A lot of the locks had one massive swinging gate rather than the usual double or guillotine type.

We stopped at Merzig so Angie could stock up on her favourite German foods at a supermarket - Angie was enjoying eveyrone speaking German (though that was true of Alsace as well). We then went on and overnighted on a nice commercial stop at Schemlingen. It was a popular female bike route so Peter spent a few hours watching girls legs with a beer to cool him off. We were now well into the German forests - very attractive.

Chapel for the River boatmen
Enjoyed slowing down the Dutch
The Rhine traffic must have been slow as we had a Rhine holiday boat come past - must have been full of steelwork enthusiasts as it was never seen again.

The first vineyards at Saarlouis - nice little German 'wine town'.


At the end of the Saar we stopped at a small pontoon to let Kes visit some trees and were nearly put ashore by a commercial - must get heavier ropes! Then at the Saar/Moselle junction trying to turn we met another one - do we go left or right?

Need to get a bigger camera
We were now pushing against the current which slowed us a bit - easy to forget that the Moselle is nearly as big as the Rhone.

River Moselle
Very hygenic - must be the German side
We pressed on with Germany to port and Luxembourg to starboard - the first try at a mooring we got pushed off by a big trip boat but second attempt we got in at Wormeldange (on the Luxembourg side but the bar we found was very Germanic - though they let Kes in). We pulled into Schwebensange to fuel up at Luxembourg prices (€1.17 litre) but a Brit boat took the last mooring before we finished.  Feeling hard done by we pushed on - Schwengen on the border was day tripper only (typical EU) so it was back into France - fairly knackered we ended up tied fairly precariously on a piling commercial wall at Malling. Peter and Kes have not had to do the ladder trick for a while.

Kes is going on a diet (as well)
After that we needed a break so stopped in the centre of Thionville for two nights - a good pontoon and we were joined by the usual boater riff raff.

Thionville sunrise
I had a propeller last time I looked
Then Metz - the Marina was mostly small stuff and fairly full so they pushed us onto the one 'town mooring' by the Moyen bridge (a few mins from the town centre).

Metz Cathedral
Mooring - end of the line
Temple de Neuf (Protestant)
A white water competition was under way adjacent to the mooring - we admired it from a distance.

Then we went on to Pont a Mousson - first we tried the marina but didn't fancy that so went onto a quiet canal cut reserved for commercials - lovely spot with a large park on one side. The town must have been wealthy as it had a large Abbey and a very large triangular town square with arcaded shops. We were joined by a commercial overnight but no fuss.

Pont a Mousson Abbey
Parish church with tourist
Off to the Nancy turn off and moored at Pompey - a new mooring we have bypassed usually - normal mod cons in the town and the local model boat club turned up with their expensive remote control boats.  Then into Villey St Etienne, a tiny inlet and small pontoon with a buoyed entrance, before back into Toul and completion of the loop' rafted up to 'Nautilus'. Angie was struggling with reverse as the morse control cable had a .kink. in it - then the cooling impeller on the generator failed - another day in the life of a happy bargee.

My walk is overdue you idle lot!
After 5 years we need a new set of ropes, but hopefully that can wait till a trip to Antwerp this Winter. Lorraine Marine (Toul) replaced the morse cable and we are all set now to head north on the Meuse.

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