Down the Moselle

Jane arrived from Florence, Italy and was thrown right into the deep end having “safe arrival” drinks on deck of the Freshwater with some of the Toul marina residents.

After a sunny day showing Jane the sights of Toul, and a lovely evening on the grande barge, Maria, with perfect hosts Patty and Don, we took off the next morning. Of course, like always, we had some trepidations: Will the reconditioned motor and injectors do their job (Austin)? Will we remember what to do in the large Moselle locks (Susi) ? Will I be able to sleep with Austin and Susi snoring (Jane). Will our gin last (Austin)? Mind you, Austin had wheedled another bottle of the very special home-made Sloe Gin off Jan. 

As we cruised out of the harbour, Jan and Bill tried their best to look sad, but gave us a good wave good bye, while Patty and Don followed by Jan ensured our free passage through the first lock. We felt a mixture of excitement and sadness- excited to start this year’s cruising, sad to leave our friends which we won’t be seeing for a while as we intend to winterise in Holland. 

Passing our trusted mechanic's shipyard, we gave him a confident thumbs up. The motor was purring nicely and the exhaust didn’t expel excessive smoke. Thanks, Duncan, so far all good!

Soon we were happily cruising down the Moselle and arrived in Pont-á-Mousson by mid afternoon. Our welcome committee consisted of a family of swans in the reeds next to our pontoon. 

We spent a relaxing afternoon strolling through town and along the riverside. 

The next morning was Sunday 8th May, Victory Day. The town officials and medal adorned war vets were out in force. We paid our respects before heading off towards Metz.

The boat smelled lovely from the bunch of lilac Austin had purchased from a very old, toothless French farmer’s woman. 

We sailed in and out of the Moselle locks without delays and saw families enjoying the sunny weather with fishing and picnics on the river banks.

Arriving at Lake Saulcy in Metz, one of our favourite places, the water was abuzz with paddlers and leisure boats. So was the surrounding park which hosted many other activities.

That night we had to have our tart flambé. In the restaurant on the place St Jacque Jane and I were presented with origami tulips, folded within minutes by a man on the neighbouring table, called Jean Marie. He even autographed them for us when he heard that we take them to Australia

On our way back to the boat we passed the illuminated 13th century St. Étienne Cathedral with it’s 42m high nave, the highest in Europe, and the Temple Neuf, the gateway of the medieval ramparts.

© Austin Robinson 2019