Life in the Slow Lane
Belleville-sur-Loire Travel Blog› entry 6 of 15 › view all entries
We were up about 8:30 and moved pretty slowly. Because Earl's an Episcopal priest, we celebrated mass on deck just before 10:00.
Our first lock was #38 at Maimbray. I'd asked Pierre about the locks and he said that the first lockkeeper would explain the drill. Accordingly, I got off beforehand and ran ahead to get an explanation from the lock keeper while Earl brought in the boat. The experience was both fun and simple and we were off again. I asked the lockkeeper whether he spoke any English and he said "non". I asked whether this sometimes caused confusion for people who spoke no French and he said simply, "Oui!"
Soon afterward, we arrived at Belleville-sur-Loire which is truly, as the name implies, a beautiful city. It being Sunday, there were a lot of people along the shores of the canal.
The girls were able to buy two baguettes before the bakery closed at noon. We left our mooring but I soon realized that we were too late to pass through the locks so we tied up again to wait for the lock to re-open at 1:00. Those who know me and my strong type-A personality will find it amazing that I could simply stop and patiently wait patiently while a lockkeeper takes a one-hour lunch break! As it happened, I found it relaxing to just tie up, have a little lunch, and wander around.
Underway once more, we bought some t-shirts at the lock at Belleville and four bottles of wine at the one at les Houards. At each lock we repeated the routine of Earl dropping me off on shore short of the lock and then proceeding with the boat as I ran along on shore. When we got to the lock at Peseau, we decided to try another approach and all stayed on the boat. That was a mistake. It was difficult to get the lines in place and I ended making a rather dangerous jump from the top rail to the lock.
From there, Earl took one of the bikes and headed for the next lock at Bannay while the girls and I took the boat. The girls wanted the parasol up against the rather strong sun and, when I protested, insisted they would deal with it when we came to bridges. However, we were all so preoccupied talking to and taking pictures of Earl on the first bridge, the parasol struck the bridge, tipping the table and breaking a glass, much of which ended up in Linda's foot! After the lock at Bannay, we stopped at the town for a glass of wine.