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Canal de la Marne au Rhin: off to Strasbourg

Monday, 18 July 2022 12:06 pm

The locks along the next stretch of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin are all under 3m and easy to manage. They are activated in several chains by rope pull at the beginning of each section. At the second lock we were joined by a private sports boat. We soon started talking to the lovely German couple on board, who looked like being in their late thirties.

We reached Waltenheim-sur-Zorn in the early afternoon and both moored there. Pedro and Kiki from the other boat spoke fluent English and so communication was easy. When hearing of our “tripping" water pump, Pedro, a Ferrari Mechanic, offered to have a look at it. Thinking that it makes sense to have our Linssen, the Ferrari of  boats, checked by an expert we gladly agreed. It just so happened that Austin, inspired by the friendly offer, had another look under the deck and found a new replacement pump tugged away by the previous owner. When Pedro came on board. It took all but 2 seconds for him to identify the problem: a crack in the lid of the pump filter. Then it was an easy fix to replace the faulty lid  - and voila! The old pump worked perfectly again. 

A little later, once Kiki and Pedro had taken care of their crew of three dogs, we got together for a drink on the Lodi and had a lovely chat. We learned that the sportive German couple were a little older than we had thought and had done a lot of sailing, diving and boating on the rivers. By the way, we didn’t get a bill  for the repair, but instead were gifted with a CD of Pedro's band “The Beatboys". Thanks again guys!

Now, Austin made a whole lot of other acquaintances along the canal - mainly birds though as you can see: There was a cheeky heron and a shapely lady, whose posing of her prodigious bottom right in front of the police station was somewhat puzzling.

L’Espiegle," the Mischievous one", he met in Sarrebourg and the young Europa in Saverne. 

And then in Waltenheim-sur-Zorn there were storks galore! We saw at least 5 stork nests in the village. Storks elegantly circled over canal and fields and then returned with their prey to the nests to feed their young ones. 

 Although our water on board was now running smoothly and we could shower again without fearing the pump might blow altogether we still went on to Strasbourg the next morning. At Souffleweyersheim we passed our German friends who were already moored there and then continued on to the Europe Boats Sale Harbour in Strasbourg. We saw a vacant space at C pontoon right in the far corner. Austin did a perfect reverse park into the tricky spot, the best I have seen so far! Our Uk neighbour, Robert jumped to my aid with the ropes and the Lodi had landed!

We followed on with drinks on the Lodi with Robert and his wife, Brenda, and later, as we were too hot to cook and eat, we decided to take the tram to town to watch the usual summer light show at the cathedral. It was a beautiful, warm night and we were again taken in by the charm of the Alsatian capital. Yet the light show compared to our previous experience was a little somber, less colourful and even a bit creepy at times. The cathedral however provides such a good canvass and is so stunning in it’s own right that just seeing the eastern portal with it's illuminated rosetta was beautiful.

Since you never know what happens next with boats, it is just one day at a time. In this case it was the water pump playing up again. It seemed that the faulty filter lid and varied pressure had done damage to the actual pump. So in 30 degrees heat Austin got to work and replaced the whole pump. That seemed to do the trick. Fingers crossed!

It still left us time to re-visit Petite France which is always touristy but on a day where the thermometer exceeded 36 degrees, most people had taken shelter in  pubs or restaurants. The narrow cobblestone lanes provided at least some cooling shade. For an extra cool down we both had our hair cut. Both Austin’s barber, and my hairdressind saloon had air conditioning. Austin now looks like ready for business with the Father Rhine and my fringe, after several do-it-yourself attempts, looks a lot straighter. 

Tomorrow morning we’ll fill up with diesel and cruise together with our English neighbours down the mighty Rhine. 

(For more about Strasbourg, please refer to archives and my 2014 blog page 42.)


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Cheers,

Austin Robinson

austin@robos.com.au