News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Photo Gallery Cruising Int
Sail-World.com : Canal Boating in the Alsace with the Galley Guys
Canal Boating in the Alsace with the Galley Guys

'This beautiful mooring is within walking distance to the cathedral of downtown Strasbourg.'    The Galley Guys

Sometimes in the life of a Galley Guy, opportunities to travel to great places just happen. However sometimes, life just gets in the way. This year our friends at Le Boat offered the Galley Guys a boat to travel through the Alsace region of France to savour the food and wines of this spectacular and lush corner of Eastern France. Unfortunately Andy’s 'menu card' had already been committed for this summer, so sad, we went without him. John and Greg, along with wives Linda and and Katie, cleansed our palates and headed off to France in search of new culinary adventures.

France has something like 8,000km (5,000 miles) of navigable inland waterways – you can travel by boat across this large country from north to south; and east to west, using canals and rivers of great variety, size and scenic beauty. More than that, the French waterways directly connect to other European national waterways (there are another 7,000km of those and they go right across the continent to the Baltic, Russia and Turkey), to the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

   The Galley Guys  

Hesse, a tiny village in the Sarre Valley is the Le Boat base that services trips to Nancy, Metz, Saarbrücken and our destination Boofzhiem, was our first stop. After a brief orientation on the boat and some basic guidelines we were on our way. The canals, such as the Canal de la Marne au Rhin we traveled were once the main economic thoroughfares of Europe and now except for the few working barges carrying stone and gravel to factories are the waterways for vacationers and cruisers seeking a peaceful and scenic route through both expansive countryside and quaint historic towns. From beginning to end, the canals are incredibly well maintained with exceptional floral and adjacent biking trails by the VNF (Voies Navigables de France).

   The Galley Guys  
Our first misadventure was not stopping at the first village for provisioning our boat as was suggested by the Le Boat Team. The vistas were beautiful and the air so clean we decided to push on until we realized that reaching the next available food source was going to be a challenge. The first food destination, the village of Lutzelbourg was going to be a stretch to make so we probably didn’t really get to appreciate fully the Niderville Tunnel 475 metres and the Arzviller Tunnel, 2306 metres long and both straight as an arrow (wonderfully examples of 19th century engineering).

Luckily as both a tunnels are one way only we got green lights and were able to proceed without delay. The next major ascent was the Inclined Slope of St-Louis-Arzviller built in 1964-68; replacing 17 locks is described as a transversal inclined plane which has a vertical height of 44.55 metres. In simple terms you pilot your boat into a container full of water, the container closes and you and your boat descend against a counter weight of 850 tonnes using an electric motor.

Inclined Slope of St-Louis-Arzviller. -  The Galley Guys  
In our haste to dinner this took 25 minutes when before it’s construction it would have been over eight hours. Three more locks (ecluses en Francais) and we made it to Lutzelbourg. Luckily we were welcomed as the Hôtel Des Vosgesas they were about to close and we had to choose from a well depleted menu. Our first Alsatian treat was a hearty venison stew served with pitchers of their own Pinot Blanc and then some more wine. Somebody forgot to take notes in our famished state.

Bicycles are a must for a canal trip. Our first ride took us to the local patisserie for great café and baguettes plus the first opportunity to see what appeared to be everybody in town as they made their way to counter. Our second ride was stopped by a women standing in a garden yelling; salade, salade. For you who are concerned about not speaking French, it has been several decades since I had a French teacher scowl at me for abusing this beautiful language, but it amazed me how many words jumped into my speech and how conversant I was, apologizies to French speakers everywhere. With bags of produce, berries, herbs and vegetables we headed back to the boat determined to eat healthy during this trip, this according to the female contingent of our team. Another necessary addition to our boat was the optional barbeque.

The local boucherie displayed a wide selection our local sausages and being a region that has gone from French to German and back French we felt that an Alsatian meal with local Sürkrüt would make for a great meal. Alsatian Sürkrüt is different from German sauerkraut as it fermented in salt water and often cooked with a Riesling wine to offer a more subtle taste. Dining alfresco in a tiny French town, nestled in a stunningly beautiful valley on the upper deck on Le Boat, amazing!

Skipper John, perfectly exiting a lock. -  The Galley Guys  
The 'ecluses' don’t open until 9AM on Sunday morning so we started out a comfortable time on route to the town of Saverne. Usually two boats traveling in the same direction teaming up to go through the locks, we were fortunate match up with a great couple that showed us the 'ropes'. The lock are semi-automatic, you follow the green/ red lighting sequence and enter the locks, once secure lift the pole that runs down the side of the lock and as we were going downstream the rear gate closes, the water drops and level reaches the new level the forward gate opens: easy! We had one helmsman and two rope handlers, but our lock buddies easily manouvered their way with only two aboard.

After eight locks we found a good dock centrally located in the town of Saverne. Known as the City of Roses, the town was abuzz with street festivals and an open air market. Meeting fellow canal travelers is great entertainment and in Saverne we met Angus and Pam Eaton, two Brits that left sailing to spend their summers plying the canals all over Europe. Experience is a wonderful teacher as our new friends gladly passed on hints and suggestions that would make our canal experience even more enjoyable. Small world, their daughter teaches skiing at Blue Mountain in Ontario, just down the street from where we ski.

Greg and Linda finding it hard not to be disappointed with french wine. -  The Galley Guys  
Three weeks later I was at the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac and had the pleasure of interviewing Stephaneé Baschiera, President of Veuve Clicqout the famous French Champaign, the presenting company of the race. During our conversation I mentioned being recently in Alsace and enjoyed its fine wines and during our chat the town of Saverne was mentioned. Instantly he asked if we dined at the Taverne-Katz, absolutely I responded and we both nodded to each other knowing that we had the same incredible food experience. The Taverne-Katz was built in 1605 from carve timbers and instantly transposes you into a sense of tradition, craftsmanship and elegance. I heartily recommend the lamb shank and John the crème brule. Saverne has a great Co-op store on the main street great for stocking up for the next leg.

The canals have fees* to use but docking on the canals are open to all and every boat is equipped with large spike poles and a mallet. Half way to Strasbourg we pulled over in a small village called Vendenheim and hammered in for the night. Again we ate and drank alfresco under the Grande Ourse (Big Dipper). Choosing wine is difficult in France as there are so many types of wine and so many wineries to choose from and none of the labels are familiar. We went by type and price and were both never disappoint and never ran short.

John enjoying his triple order of creme brule. -  The Galley Guys  
Strasbourg is stunning! The seventh largest French city, where Roman legions once camped, home of the incredible Cathedral Notre Dame, an Unesco World Heritage Site, headquarters for the European Parliament, flower boxes in every window, museums everywhere, art galleries galore, incredible restaurants, international shopping, history and more history and the best, we docked our Le Boat right in the centre of the city.

The city is walk and bicycle friendly and days can be spent appreciating everything from early morning coffee on street malls to great evening meals on promenades waiting for the spectacular light show of the Cathedral. Plan more time that we did to savour this beautiful city.

Our Galley Guy wine buddy Eddie Sokoloff helped orchestrate our next adventure, a trip to the Willm Winery in the most charming village in the heart of the Alsace wine region Eguisheim. Taking the train to Colmar and a limo to the village we were met for a special tour and wine tasting session with Willm brand manager Timothee Boltz. Canada is a very large market for Willm and represent 25% of their international sales, with Riesling, pinot gris and pinot blanc (my favourite).

The Le Boat canal trip is truly a cultural, culinary and nautical adventure. The French people could not have been more friendly, everybody we saw on our voyage of 104 kilometres and 47 recluses (locks) either passing by, riding bicycles on the trails, having early morning walks or working in their fields; smiled, waved or nodded to us. The wine and the food experiences were incredible.

Life on the canal is slow and thoughtful. Not an ocean, not a lake and not a river, canal life has its own heart beat and whether you spend a week (not enough) or a season, your internal clock slows down and you just go with the flow.

* Canals fees are included in the Le Boat charter fees

www.french-waterways.com
www.leboat.com
www.otstrasbourg.fr
www.tourisme-alsace.com
www.ot-eguisheim.fr
www.plan-incline.com

Canadian Yachting magazine is Canada's premiere source for compelling boating lifestyle experiences, travel destinations, boat reviews, tips on gear, marine events and breaking news for sailors and power boaters. Enjoyed by readers in digital, online and print formats six times yearly.


by Greg Nicoll with John Armstrong


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=126015

8:28 PM Mon 25 Aug 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

23 Aug 2014  Timeless Tonga - Charter sailing in a Polynesian paradise
14 Aug 2014  Galley Guys on the Malty Seas
07 Aug 2014  Galley Guys meet the Spice Lady
31 Jul 2014  Lobster Thermidor - Making Julia proud
23 Jul 2014  Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles (Part 2)
22 Jul 2014  Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles, more photos
20 Jul 2014  'Flankly' Speaking - how to prepare a great steak meal onboard
20 Jul 2014  Tranquil, colourful and funky, Genoa Bay is a must stop for West Coast
11 Jul 2014  Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles (Part 1)
11 Jul 2014  Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles, photos
MORE STORIES ...




Cruising USA

The World ARC fleet departed the Cocos (Keeling) Islands this morning, embarking on the second longest sail of their circumnavigation; a 2350 nautical miles journey to Mauritius. Their stay in the tropical atoll has certainly been one to remember. ... [more]  

Pantaenius, the world’s leading specialist yacht insurance company, has been at the forefront of yacht insurance for more than 40 years, earning a reputation for transparency and commitment to customer service that provides round-the-clock international support and reliable, speedy claims settlement. ... [more]  

How to make a distance scale for faster navigation by Captain John Jamieson, Florida
If you are anything like me, sailing navigation can be a challenge when short- or single-handed sailing. But you still need to be able to plot fast and accurate positions for sailing safety. Here one little-known sailing tip used by the pros that will help you do just that! ... [more]  

The 14th edition of the Atlas also includes a new double page map of the Arctic Ocean, which highlights the dramatic long-term decline of Arctic sea ice cover. The sub-ice maps draw on bedrock data, provided by the British Antarctic Survey, to show physical features which are obscured by ice cover. ... [more]  

On Monday 22 September the EU Naval Force flagship, ITS Andrea Doria, met the Chinese Navy ship, CNS Changbaishan, in the Gulf of Aden. ... [more]  

The Presque Isle peninsula is a 3,200-acre – 7-mile long arm that extends northeast into Lake Erie creating a large, sheltered boating paradise of a harbour. With a string of well equipped marinas, a wealth of facilities and a very impressive yacht club, it has attractions for boaters that place it at the top of a cruising destination list. ... [more]  

In the early morning of Friday 19 September, EU Naval Force frigate, ESPS Navarra, came to the aid of a stricken yacht in the Gulf of Aden. The yacht had been detected on the warship’s radar in the early morning. ESPS Navarra’s Bridge team initially tried to hail the yacht via their VHF radio. ... [more]  

As their annual migration south approaches, sail and powerboat cruisers are stocking their boat’s lockers, checking systems and taking inventory of spare parts. But that’s not the only preparation these cruising 'snowbirds' will need to do, says Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). ... [more]  

Lost your rudder at sea? Michael Keyworth perfected a way to steer using drogues. To engineer this solution, he removed the rudder from his own boat(!), and experimented with different method, and has summarized his technique in this terrific article. ... [more]  

You scratched my seagrass! by Steven Katona, Newport, RI
Sailors for the Sea publishes monthly articles that translate the language of marine science into fascinating articles about ocean health. ... [more]  

Following a relatively short stopover in Christmas Island, eleven of the World ARC fleet have now arrived in their next paradise, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. From first settlement in 1826 by English merchant Alexander Hare, through decades of administration by the Clunies-Ross dynasty, most island inhabitants had little freedom or contact with the outside world. ... [more]  

Paul Whitehouse and Simone Wood, from Wolverhampton and London, were in La Paz in Baja California when Hurricane Odile hit the Baja California peninsula last Sunday. It is thought their yacht overturned, and the couple have not been seen since. The couple is thought to have been living in La Paz for around a year. Mr Whitehouse is believed to be a scuba diving instructor in the city. ... [more]  

This might be the Texting and Facebook generation but boaters need to use VHF radio says volunteer rescuers from Weston-super-Mare's lifeboat station who rescued a yachtsman whose boat sank in the middle of the Bristol Channel and who then texted his girlfriend. ... [more]  

Earlier this year two men died in their bunks of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the highly toxic fumes given off from a poorly maintained butane gas cooker. The cooker which was located in the wheelhouse had been lit to heat the wheelhouse and sleeping area. A carbon monoxide alarm was not fitted. ... [more]  

The Arctic is an ocean surrounded by land and Arctic sea ice is the thin layer of frozen ocean water that forms and grows during the winter, and melts in the summer. Dr Jeremy Wilkinson from the British Antarctic Survey provides a scientist’s perspective on the trend for decreasing Arctic sea ice. ... [more]  

The Virgin Islands are an archipelago. That part, which is a British overseas territory, is commonly referred to as the BVI. About 30,000 people live in the BVI, most of which live on the island of Tortola. The BVI are comprised of about 50 islands the majority of which are not inhabited by humans. ... [more]  

The Galley Guys take on the Vancouver International Boat Show by Greg Nicoll with Frank Leffelaar and Friends
The Galley Guys hit the Vancouver International Boat Show running. All day long, we were checking out new boats, looking into ice lockers, peeking into storage compartments, seeing what’s new for gourmet cooking onboard and being forced to live on 'show food' by day. ... [more]  

Are you ready to enter that marina? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida
Are you ready to enter that narrow canal or passage ahead that leads into the marina? Have you prepared your boat and crew for the unexpected? No matter if it's a brand new marina or the one you use as 'home base', docking preps will be the same each and every time. ... [more]  

Each summer, in a Canadian cruising tradition, thousands of Western Lake Ontario sailors join the annual summer migration to the Bay of Quinte and the Thousand Islands. ... [more]  

Unlike an automobile, recreational boats have special safety needs when it comes to refueling. Stern drive or inboard powered boats have closed engine compartments where volatile gasoline vapors don’t easily dissipate, and older gasoline powered boats are the riskiest to refuel as their brittle fuel hoses can crack, leaving gas in the bilge after a fill-up. ... [more]  

For the next 72 hours the majority of the World ARC fleet will be moored in Flying Fish Cove on Christmas Island. The crews will have been planning their 48 hours stopover here before leaving Bali so they can make the most of it. Christmas Island is one of the jewels of the Indian Ocean and has a lot to offer. 63% of its land mass is made of National Park which is home to many endemic species. ... [more]  

Three-time President of French Polynesia, Gaston Tong Sang, and current mayor of Bora Bora, has written a strong letter of support for the Blue Planet Odyssey, assuring the fleet a warm Polynesian welcome when they arrive there in 2015. ... [more]  

Remember to properly dispose of obsolete distress beacons by Australian Maritime Safety Authority
You might not be 'down under but here is a cautionary tale!- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is urging people to ensure they dispose of their obsolete and unwanted distress beacons correctly after emergency services spent more than six hours homing a beacon eventually found dumped in bushland on Queensland's Sunshine Coast over the weekend of 6-7 September. ... [more]  

Blue Planet Odyssey - We made landfall the morning of Saturday, September 13th at 0900 local time as we passed Race Point at the entrance into Cape Cod Bay. Since leaving St John’s less than one week ago we had covered 1109 miles, at an average of just under seven knots. ... [more]  

The World ARC fleet made a great sight on September 14th as they sailed across the start line at the entrance to Benoa Harbour, Bali. Before leaving Bali International Marina, Arsa, a tour guide who had looked after the fleet during their week-long stay, visited yachts to perform a traditional Hindu blessing. It was a beautiful way to send off the fleet and a very special moment for many. ... [more]  

An international team of scientists, including the British Antarctic Survey, studied the geologic history of the area of the Antarctic Peninsula where the Larsen B ice shelf disintegrated, the portion of Antarctica that extends northwards toward South America. The new findings support the idea that such a dramatic collapse can be caused by surface warming. ... [more]  

The Baltic 4 Nations combines a traditional sailing rally with a flotilla holiday, all in the comfort of your own boat. A 370 mile, two week cruise, visiting some of the most beautiful locations in the southern Baltic. Hanseatic cities, quiet fishing harbours, bustling cities, and great beaches, with opportunities to sample local culture and cuisine as well as some great sailing! ... [more]  

Water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes, creating a staggering force that can crack a boat engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a boat’s refrigeration system overnight. ... [more]  

The latest images from Marina Lanzarote show the new marina is looking smart and ready to welcome the yachts for the second Atlantic Odyssey which leaves in November 2014. Gazel Rebel, Blue Jade and Mahe’3, who will all be taking part, have already arrived, with more on the way. ... [more]  

The director of the Phuket Marine Office (PMO), Phuripat Theerakulpisut, yesterday (September 10) gave more details of two shock announcements that have reverberated through the Thai marine leisure industry and among yacht owners in the past few days. ... [more]  

Following on from the success of their Christmas Caribbean Rally (CCR) and Baltic 4 Nations Rally (B4N), Sailing Rallies announce the addition of two new events to their 2015-2016 events schedule: Antigua 2 Falmouth 2015 and the Spanish Rias Rally 2016. ... [more]  

World ARC crews in Bali by World Cruising Club
Today, September 11, 26 World ARC Crews spent the day on a tour to the Kintimani Volcano. Participants were treated to a wide range of cultural, religious and artistic experiences along the way. Benoa harbour is not the most attractive part of Bali so it was a welcome change of scenery, having escaped the morning rush hour, to firstly visit the culturally interesting town of Celuk. ... [more]  

Could your sailing navigation use a tune-up? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida
What simple sailing 'ingredients' should you use for safer sailing navigation? Are you and your sailing crew or partner ready for a smooth transition to traditional methods of navigation--just in case you lose your plotter power or GPS signal? Or if you sail into an area where GPS has been reported unreliable? Start with this simple sailing solution for safer sailing on the waters of the world. ... [more]  

Images of marine sunsets by Tripadvisor
Citizen science model proposed to fill fundamental ocean data gap
Ocean Cruising Club celebrates 60th Anniversary with record gatherings
The Boat Cookbook
Indian Ocean-wide tsunami exercise to test readiness
Blue Planet Odyssey - Aventura makes landfall at St John’s
18 anti-piracy weapons for ships to fight pirates
World ARC fleet now arriving in Bali
EU Naval flagship- frigate assist yacht twice maydays in pirate zone
An offer a Galley Guy cannot refuse
World ARC fleet to enter Indian Ocean for the first time
What can you do to prevent electrocution and ESD?
Pack this sailing gear for 'hands-free' lighting
Salty Dawg Rally Seminar Series planned October 8 in Annapolis
Europe tightens up on skippers competency certification
World ARC fleet departs Darwin under full sail
NOAA expedition discovers ship’s timepiece silent for nearly 200 years
Blue Planet Odyssey - Northwest Passage gate opens
A Cruising Guide to the Dominican Republic 6.0 now available
Africa Europe Challenge introduces 'Spectator's Package'
Niagara-on-the-Lake, a popular cruising destination in Canada   
The crowd-pleasing comforts of catamaran cruising   
'Sailing Stones' of Death Valley seen in action for the first time   
20 coral species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act   
A case of crossed wires? A shocking situation!   
OHPRI Teen Summer Camps make a splash   
How amazingly awe-inspiring the Arctic really is   
Boaters urged to attend anchoring meetings next week in Florida   
New atlas provides thorough audit of marine life in the Southern Ocean   
Canal Boating in the Alsace with the Galley Guys   
World ARC fleet arrives in Darwin   
Timeless Tonga - Charter sailing in a Polynesian paradise *Feature   
A fine conclusion to the ARC Baltic 2014   
Where in the world are our strongest corals?   
Incredible efforts to save yacht from being lost at sea   
ARC Baltic fleet visit six countries and six capitals in six weeks   
Helen Island, Palau -a beautiful and unique place   
Barnacle Busting   
From Penguins to Polar Bears   
Cornell turns back from the North West Passage   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News





Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW Cru USA
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT