We met so many "English spoken" people during our megatrip by our canoe. Most of them we met in France during our voyage to the Mediterranean Sea. We thank you all for your hospitallity and the lift you gave us while passing the lock staitcases.
We passed the five km tunnel on the Plateau de Langres on board a Dutch cargo vessel the Benfica. We stayed on this ship untill we reached Chalon sur Saône. We were also a night in St. Jean de Losne and saw many rebuilded old ships for sale. After Chalon we paddled to the South. After Lyon we were not allowed to pass the locks, but there were exellent slipways on both sides of the barrages. We sailed after the barrages on the old Rhône. That was beautifull. We stayed some days in Avignon because we had to buy a new charriot for our canoe. We lost the old one in the Saône so we had to take all our stuff on our back passing the barrages! Happily some French fisherman took our luggage by motorcar to the next slipway so we had only to drag our poor canoe over the pebbles.
After Beaucare we sailed on the canal Rhône a Seth, because we had rent a house in Marseillan on the coast of the Etang de Thau, near Les Onglous, the beginning of the Canal du Midi. We stayed there 4 months. Our kids came over at Christmass. That was really great! We rented a car and went to the Pont de Gard, that old Roman waterbridge (aquaductus) and visited Barcelona for some days. That was in february. Fine weather overthere!
Friends we met in Marseillan brought us with there camper (canoe on top) to Saint Symphorien on the beginning of the Rhône Rhine Canal. In Dole (21th of march) we asked the VNF for authorisation to use the locks. We waited one week and than: "Hurray, we were allowed to pass the locks!" There were 114 locks over 220 km, so every day we had accompainement of a lock-student or lady.
We were six weeks on the river Rhine. We passed the locks on the Rhein-SeitenKanal and after that father Rhine carried us to Holland. Never more on the Rhine in an open canoe! Three times we had a narrow escape from capsizing or drowning. Especially between a dam and a barge sailing on the wrong side, was very tricky. On the Binger Loch we headed to the side and let us bring over land to Boppart. The path between the bouys was there 40 meters and that was in the curves very narrow.
On the 10th of july we sailed through the lock into Gouda and we have many good memories to you all. We will contact you personelly when our life is steady again.