Lutzelbourg/Arzviller Shuffle


Another picturesque cruise brought us from Saverne to Lutzelbourg. This part of the canal is very busy with “bumper boats” (hire boats) as there are bases for Le Boat, Locaboat, Nicole and Canalous near by. Most of the "bumper boats" we encountered deserved their nickname. They were scratched and dented everywhere and we saw some of them exiting the locks sideways. 

A young German family on their first trip in a hire boat was glad to follow us, after running into problems in the first lock. They tried to tie up right at the actual lock door. We felt sorry for them because in these automatic locks here the water just gushes in mercilessly and there are no lock keepers to catch your ropes. So we gave them a hand with the ropes and a few general tips. We lost sight of them after our arrival in Lutzelbourg.


Lutzelbourg is a charming little village. It has 3 mooring places each one separated by a lock. Having seen how busy this part of the canal is, we didn’t take any chances and moored at the first one.

Mooring fees are only charged at the last one upstream, which is also a hire boat base. The other two places have coin operated electricity, water and showers.


The next morning we moved the boat to the hire boat mooring to take Jane to her train to Munich to start her 10 day tour to Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Trying to return to our original mooring we found all spaces occupied and had no choice but to turn around again. This manoeuvre meant to go through the same lock 3 times within 1 hour. Luckily the student operating it kept smiling and received one of our Koalas in return.

After this shuffle we found a space at the free mid-village mooring with great view of the castle’s silhouette.


Our mission for the afternoon was to cycle to the broken down boat lift in Arzviller. When cycling with Austin there is always a detour. This one was uphill along the 17 old locks. These were used prior to the boat lift construction and have now been turned into a beautiful stretch of cycle /walkway and parkland. The old locks are mostly dry and overgrown with swamp grass and wild flowers.


Having reached the top lock we found the upper canal and followed it for 5 km. Eventually we saw the top end of the Arzviller incline lift but only from afar as the whole area is fenced off. We tried to sneak in with a little tourist train when the automatic gate opened, but were found out and immediately locked out again. The only way in other than by boat is by booking a tour, but unfortunately the last tour had just ended.


Austin wasn’t going to give up and after making our way back  we found the road to the bottom of the lift. The whole cycle tour took close to 3 hours. I bet Jane was glad that she left just in time!


We are now on our way back to Strasbourg from where we intend to travel down the Rhein River. We spent another night in lovely Saverne and tried all the cakes in the patisserie (only kidding, Jane!). Then we travelled on to Waltenheim-sur-Zorn. At the local Restaurant à l’Ancre we had a great “ile flottant” (think of the soft part of a Pav floating in custard) which would have made our friend, Angus, salute and break out into song! 


These farm fresh tomatoes for sale were left at a lock. It is up to your honesty to pay for them. I bought a punet and they are delicious!

Down below, the first Aussie we met along these waters, a Victorian man cycling 60 - 70 km a day!

© Austin Robinson 2019