After crowded Paris and cruising the Seine it was good to be on the calm canals and especially the small villages.
|each time Rebecca helps to turn at least one lockdoor|
So, it’s plain politeness to help where possible and, as Michel is on the helm, this task befalls me; it is good exercise and always an opportunity for a chat with the lock keeper who does the other door so it’s improving my French.
It really took a while and we saw smoke emerging from the lock. We first thought it was a fire, but the photographer on the bridge kept his cool, alternatively taking pictures of what was happening in the lock and then of us.
the man turned from left to right to make pictures
The riddle was solved when the doors opened and three very small steamboats emerged. Billowing smoke and hooting they passed us, as interested in us as we were in them.
What was new after all these years was a bicycle in the church. The lady ministering the flowers wanted to make sure and knowing the Lord sees all, also when they take my bike, the least I can do to help him is by taking it inside.
|the connection between Seine and Loire where once functioned the lock-staircase|
|the old lock staircase in Rogny|
What remains are the stones – doors and so are long gone – in the middle of the fields as a beacon and symbol of yesteryears boating.
|entering the pont-canal de Briare|
|leaving the pont-canal de Briare|
And besides, it is a beautiful structure with pretty lampposts, and Gustave Eiffel was involved, in building the structure under the bridge and the lamposts and pillars on top.
|Rebecca in front of the faïencerie in Gien|
Not to be repeated, but it can be ticked off.
|ships that meet in the canal|
But always a good reason for a get together before you’re on your way again and can possibly run into someone you know just around the corner, or meet no-one for weeks.
|here the canal is very close to the river
As of the beginning of July there was officially a heat wave, temperatures up to 350C (660F), and luckily on the water it bothers you less, but warm it was and it lasted for three weeks.
little castels along the Loire
|the powerplant in Belleville-sur-Loire, not so belle|
Shopping has to be done when you can, especially for the heavier stuff it’s nice if the shops are nearby. In this parts it is seldom a problem, there are shops aplenty, we have seen worse. DIY shops though are different, they are meant for visits by cars and preferably on the other side of town.
|a conveniently placed bricollage|
A bit bothersome, so if there is a DIY shop next to the canal we happily visit it. And having two spud poles makes mooring easy on a otherwise impossible mooring along a busy road.
like it used to look
When I came back from a walk it just looked like we were being loaded; that’s how it must have looked like in the olden days when ‘t Majeur, then WUTA, was carrying pebbles between Maasbracht and Mechelen.
|the pont-canal de Guétin seen from af distance|
|the Allier under the pont-canal|
|the brave Swiss canoers crossing the pont-canal|
As we went across there appeared a canoe behind us with a Swiss couple. They had taken their foldable canoe to here by train, had come down the Allier and now they had schlepped their canoe up to the pont canal; they wanted to go to Nevers via the canal and then to the Loire, all their stuff in the canoe. Quite an enterprise but they loved it.
|looks like a dincky toy|
It was still very hot, the cows felt it too and you could see them lying under the trees in little groups of on their feet in the canal. This one cow had a pole position and looked for cooling underneath a tree, a one-cow-position and the rest on land.
|this cow knew where the best spot was|
|on the Saône, wide, beautiful and good water for swimming|
In the canals I had not taken to it but on these wider waters it was lovely to take a refreshing dip several times a day.
|Panache in the Saône|
Meanwhile we cruised as far as Gray and from there – reversing – to Dole. From there it’s back to Gray and then further North, more about which in the next episode.