Barging around in France…the canal

Posted: August 2, 2014 in Personal, Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!”
~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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Not all barging is done on rivers.  Canals are also a big part of river travel and commerce.  And when you have a boat in another country (Sandra and Neville are from England), you have to have somewhere to keep it when you’re not using it.  In this case, that spot is a marina where they leave the barge while (or as Sandra would say, whilst) at home in England, whether for the winter or between trips in the summer.  After some time on the river, we turn and head for the canal the leads to the marina.  But first, the boat has to go through a lock.

Locks are used when water levels vary between a lake and a canal or two part of the same bit of water.  Very simply put, much more simply than the process is accomplished, the gate nearest the boat opens, allowing the water level to become the same as where the boat is.  The boat enters the lock and the gate closes behind it.  The the water level is raised or lowered until it reaches that of the water on the opposite side of the lock.  The gate in front opens and the boat moves out.

Approaching the lock

Approaching the lock


In the lock

In the lock

On the other side of the lock, gliding along the canal, Sandra spots a mother duck and her ducklings.  Out comes the bag of dried bread.  When she tosses the bread, a moment of hilarity ensues as the ducklings appear to have been shot from a cannon as they shoot towards the floating bread.  It’s impossible to imagine that their little webbed feet can move fast enough to propel them along so quickly.  This picture can’t begin to do that urgent speed justice!

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We approach the marina.

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Across from their berth is an old, refurbished barge from Holland, very colorful and attractive.

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Our lovely day has come to an end.  In a very short amount of time, especially when compared to how long it took by boat, Sandra and Neville drive us back to where our car is parked and it’s time to say good-bye.  They’ve shown us something that many people never have a chance to experience, yet is part of the fabric of their lives, at least for a bit of each year.  It was a grand experience.  We wave goodbye and point our car (and GPS) towards home.  It was the perfect down day after our day at le Tour de France, (if you missed the Tour posts, they can be found here, here, and here), and our first day of sunshine since we’d arrived in France.  Part one of this post is here.

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  1. M-R says:

    Which canal is it, Janet ? – they’re all glorious, I know. So happy for you two to’ve had such a marvellous time !

  2. autopict says:

    Beautiful series and nice words at the beginning.
    And a great blue sky.

  3. Sandra says:

    The Canal de Pont de Vaux has an interesting history as I recall, Janet and M-R. Apparently the citizens of Pont de Vaux petitioned the nobleman who owned the land to build a canal to link the town to the River Saone for trading/transport purposes. He agreed, on condition that the citizens would reimburse him over a period of years. Fairly soon thereafter came the French Revolution and well… I don’t think they met their side of the bargain and the canal lapsed into disrepair until quite recently – 1993 I think – when it was revived and refurbished. It’s not a major canal (only 3km long), very narrow in comparison to others and quite shallow in periods of drought, yet quick to flood despite running parallel to the river Reyssuze.

    Lovely pictures Janet, a fitting reminder of an enjoyable day.

  4. I love it to watch the boats and barges on our canal too, great that you had such a great day on board of a beautiful boat :o)

  5. It looks so peaceful.

  6. […] with us as we meet our friends and explore the river on their barge and going through a lock into the small canal on our way back.  No chance of getting seasick and lots of fun […]

  7. […] like to read the original posts about the visit and river trip, you’ll find them here and here and you’ll find a lot more photos of the trip as well. Sandra’s also an accomplished […]