Charentenay - Uzemain

First and foremost a few words about last week (21)

Last week's pictures have their text now, so you are able to comprehend what it has been all about. The words that immediately come to mind when looking at them are: rain, rain, more rain, loads of water, strong current, flood, submerged and glorious survival in the end. Yes, we are alive and kicking 😋

Sunday the 26th of May our friends from The Netherlands arrived and with their car available, we shopped extensively on Monday morning, knowing that we would not be able to stock up on supplies for at least 10 days. Around 1:00PM we left Charentenay reaching lock Rupt in front of the 680 meters long Saint-Albin tunnel around 3:45PM. Next to the lock we had one unusual onlooker (called 'gongoozler' in the good old UK), being a donkey.

On the towpath in front of the tunnel we spotted this two-in-hand, pulling a caravan. It made us think of the beginning of the seventies, when we twice had a holiday in lovely Ireland with a horse drawn caravan. Very basic, very slow, very romantic indeed! This one's pace was pretty similar to ours proven by the fact that, when later on we left the tunnel, the caravan-and-two turned up there as well. We reject the possibility that a second caravan-and-two were present there and then.

Approaching Saint-Albin tunnel. Fun to do, all 680 meters (2,250 feet) of it. During the day it was sunny, a fact that should be self-evident during this time of the year but, alas!, is not.

After 3,5 hours of cruising and 5 locks we reached Scey-sur-Saône and found a place in the marina of Locaboat Holidays. Ten euro's for a night, electricity and water included. A fair price, we think. And we even could get rid of 7 liters of used engine oil! Getting rid of used oil always is a pain in the a... Not this time though. Thank you, Locaboat!

May 28, a Tuesday, was an uneventful day - which by no means would justify the impression of a boring day. We cruised for less tan 2 hours, ascended two locks and moored at Port-sur-Saône. Not in the marina, all spaces appeared to be occupied and the diesel fuel pump was inaccessible. We are often just too big for a 'cruiser-marina'. At least we did not have to moor on the river but found the luxury of a canal-like cutting. And for free too which, for some reason, always pleases us. There is nothing wrong with being a cheapskate sometimes, is there?

This striking outer wall in Port-sur-Saône is decorated with paintings of people that changed history, like Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Lech Walesa, and more. The memorial in the foreground remembers the sons of the city, victims of the terrible Great War.

Wednesday May the 29th we picked up the car of our friends from Charentenay and decided not to cruise but instead to visit a nearby big town, small city if you like, called Vesoul. Nothing worth mentioning - we just had a nice day out, did some sightseeing, had lunch, bought some things. When we arrived we planned to visit the tourist office first. After seeing this sign we abandoned that plan. Funny French!

Our friends preferred to visit nearby Besançon by car on Thursday. The plan was to meet again at Corre, the end (yes, indeed smart-ass, the beginning when traveling in the opposite direction) of the navigable part of the Saône. So that is what we did. The river had calmed down and we needed only 7 hours for 41 kilometers, 5 locks included. We forgot to make a picture of our mooring spot in Corre. So we 'borrowed' this one from the unsurpassed 'Fluviacarte', book number 9 'La Meuse et son Canal, La Sambre Belge, Le Canal des Vosges'. To the left Le Saône is visible, in the middle Le Canal des Vosges and next to the canal Le Coney - a river that will feed the canal and be accompanied by it for roughly 40 kilometers.

On Friday morning, the 31st of May, our friends left for Germany for another week of holiday-making. So we continued that afternoon on Le Canal des Vosges with a crew of two, being us. Our first stop on Le canal des Vosges (pronounced 'voozj', for the English speaking the dubble oo like in 'rose' or 'boat') was Pont-du-Bois - see the picture. The canal is very, very pretty. That afternoon we ascended 7 locks, all of them automated. The lock keeper at Corre provided us with a remote control and the system works flawless. Average time for a lock: less then 10 minutes. More about the system perhaps on another occasion.

Saturday the 1st of June we left at 09:15AM, hoping the 'outdoor worker' (locks, ropes) would not get soaking wet like the day before. It was not as bad, so we could enjoy the permanently changing views even better. A lot of houses alongside the canal are uninhabited, abandoned, neglected. Ruins really. But.... sometimes there are traces of the old glory like this stylish manor, still inhabited. Hopefully there is some money left to paint the rusty fence......

Around noon we approached Fontenoy-le-Château, seemingly a 'large' village in this region of the country. So we planned to have a lunchbreak and hoped for an Internet-signal. Here we are going towards the lock. The accompagnying river Le Coney is visible next to the canal and almost on the same level. On the other side of the lock the canal will be on a 3 meters (10 feet) higher level. There was no Internet-signal, nor a telephone-signal. We found a bakery, though, so we did not starve.

Five-and-a-half hours later we moored at Bains-les-Bains. Ten locks in total could be added to our records. On Friday or Saturday we have left Franche-Comté (Haute-Saône) and entered Lorraine (Vosges). A luxury mooring in a very nice surrounding.

Sunday morning was 'Fête National de la Pêche', just visible on the banner underneath the green canvas. A lot of fisherman had gathered around the basin we were moored in. When we left around 09:30AM the water was obviously disturbed. Sorry grumpy English fishermen, we discovered that your French equals are a lot more tolerant towards boaters than you are! We did not have to emphasize that canals are dug for boats, not for fish(ermen). Of course we are fully prepared to negotiate when a river is involved! (Just joking, we never do anything like this because we know that would enrage them to boiling point.) By the way, in our opinion the right title for the day should be 'Fête National des Pêcheurs'. What fun is there for the fish, one wonders???

Today, Sunday the 2nd of June, the weather finally changed for the better although our barometer is still not all that happy. We climbed 10 locks (38,27 meters, 127 feet!), varying from 2,70 meters (9 feet) to 3,50 meters (12 feet) high. Even standing on the roof of the boat a bollard at 3,50 meters is not easy to reach - and we had 4 of them. Anyway, at 1:00PM we moored at Uzemain. It was our plan to do some correspondence and to create this week's blog, providing there was an Internet-signal. Well, the signal is excellent and we could do what we wanted to do. Tomorrow, Monday, we'll travel towards the biggest city in this area: Épinal. More about this all next week.