Life in the Slow Lane

Belleville-sur-Loire Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 15 › view all entries
Ready to shove off...

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.

L'ecluse de Maimbray
We tied up and I asked a bystander whether it was OK to tie up here. He said "of course". Soon, along came another man in a tie followed by a photographer. The bystander introduced him as the mayor of the town. The mayor welcomed us and asked our permission for a photo of himself in front of our boat! One of the enticing things about the entire trip was the friendliness of the locals. As we'd pass, we'd get waves and "bonjour" from people walking, hanging out of windows and even passing in cars. We felt genuinely welcome.

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.

Tied up for lunch
Life in the (very) slow lane!

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.

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Ready to shove off...
Ready to shove off...
Lecluse de Maimbray
L'ecluse de Maimbray
Tied up for lunch
Tied up for lunch
Approaching our first lock - Maimb…
Approaching our first lock - Maim…
Approaching our first lock - Maimb…
Approaching our first lock - Maim…
Lecluse de Maimbray
L'ecluse de Maimbray
Earl at the helm
Earl at the helm
Approaching Belleville-sur-Loire
Approaching Belleville-sur-Loire
The mayor
The mayor
Belleville-sur-Loire
Belleville-sur-Loire
Our boat is tied up
Our boat is tied up
Belleville-sur-Loire
Belleville-sur-Loire
Belleville-sur-Loire
Belleville-sur-Loire
Lunchtime
Lunchtime
Lunchtime
Lunchtime
Bonjour!
Bonjour!
Belleville-sur-Loire
photo by: jhwelsch