Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Monday, June 11, 2018

Saverne and East, May 19 to 23

The 15 k of the canal from the bottom of the Plan Incliné to the town of Saverne is some of the most beautiful cruising in France. And you can tell it by the number of hireboats. There are 13 locks in those kilometers and there was at least one boat, sometimes two or three, on the other side on almost every one. But it was a sunny day and everyone was having a wonderful time. We passed through Lutzelbourg, one of our favorite places, as we knew we’d be back through and could stop for more sightseeing then. By 2:30 on Saturday we were secure in the marina in Saverne and in the middle of a beer festival! All along the waterside path were tents set up by several local brewers, so we spent the afternoon sampling their wares. Our favorite turned out to be the Brasserie Blessing (brasserie means brewer). They made a delicious IPA and amber.

While strolling through town in on the way to the tourist office, we had noticed a stage being constructed in the main square. There was some kind of event planned for the evening so after our first tarte flambé of the season and a fine bottle of Pinot Gris provided by the cafe at the marina, we wandered over to town to see what was up. It turned out to be a U2-type cover band and so we had our first musical interlude of the summer.

Sunday the weather was not nearly so pleasant so the crowd for the festival was quite a bit thinned out. After the morning rain shower, we took off for a walk in the woods to one of the surrounding ruined castles. We had visited Haute Bar both times when we were here before, once by car and once on Odysseus, so this time we trekked up to revisit one on the other side of the valley, the Château du Griefenstein. No cafe here, just a ruined tower or two.

Monday morning it was off in the direction of Strasbourg. It would take us two travel days to get there with a stop in the Forêt de Brumath, a spot we had moored on our 2010 trip in Odysseus. The sketchy wall with rings that we used then had been replaced with a nice concrete quay with bollards, although half of it was reserved for commercial boats unloading gravel, one of which showed up while we were there. We stayed two nights as Tuesday was supposed to be a general strike throughout France and we weren’t sure if the canals would be operating. Luckily, we weren’t in any hurry and we used the day for a little bike riding to the nearby village of Eckwersheim, another one of those impossible quaint Alsatian villages.

We also shared the space with a couple of fisherman and were followed in by Tim and Rhian, a Welsh couple we had met in Saverne. We would spend a couple of pleasant days with them and they would follow us into Strasbourg on Wednesday.

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