Nantes to Budapest - Sue and Peter's Tale travel blog

Canal du Centre Barge

La Saone

One of the 34 locks

Changing Churches

Merging Rivers

L'Isle sur Le Doubs

Through the Hills


Le Doubs

Day 20-25 May 17 – 22nd

Up the Canals.

Things have changed, 3 great days heading up north along the Canals towards the Rhein. We left the Loire on the Canal du Centre, 34 locks up, but over many kilometres so only a very gentle upward incline. Flat lands either side of the canal and lovely cycle paths alongside the tree lined canal route. Unexpectedly we reached the summit of the canal and within 5k we descended alongside some dozen or so very tall locks. A bit annoying, as lost height means more climbing, but I am being picky as it was a great, if not long day. As we were to find out on this section of the ride, campsites were few and far between. Reached Chagney after 102k. For those not acquainted with the European canals they are big and so are the craft taking advantage of them. As in the UK many old working barges have been converted for leisure use. They provide a footprint pretty close to a small house. The variations on conversion were numerous and the state of repair equally so. There were barges still working carrying large amounts of who knows what. Along the canal sides were many ruins of buildings that gave an idea of thriving commercial routes they once were. Montceau-les Mines provided another example of a recent age now gone. As we entered there were the vast derelict buildings of a closed mine - looking eerie in their desolation. The next day saw us pass through Chalon where we met the Saone and stayed with it for the next day and a half. Very different to the Loire, a managed river for commercial use, deeper with frequent weirs. To the west lay the distant hills of Nuits St Georges - so near and yet so far! We stopped at Seurre (72k). Then it was on to the Canal Rhone au Rhine to join the Doubs River. On to Osselle (80k) where we chanced across a lovely night stop situated it seemed in a bowl of tree covered small hills with its own lake and great swimming in warm fresh water and a sandy beach. Met up for the 3rd time with Ruth and Gary who are doing the same route and whilst doing shorter distances are still with us! Hare and the Tortoise possibly - mainly I think our rest day. Day 23 the 20th May was our best to date - apart from one small moan at the end. The ever-changing scenery had hinted that the distant hills on each side were closing in and today they met. We moved upwards, but again at a very gentle rate through lovely countryside with the canal passing through gentle gorges of tree covered slopes. Fabulous! Great weather had lasted for many days, had to end sometime and it did at the end of day today. Campsite just round the corner we stopped for beer and the threatening clouds then opened up. 3 hours and 3 beers later the rain ceased and we wandered the remaining 250m to a very wet campsite and then back the 250m for a supper. Our stop was Isle-sur-le Doubs (81k).

The land opened up the following day and industry appeared. Mulhouse where we stopped was very much an Industrial town. At the campsite we found bikers from all over Europe, England, Germany, France, Denmark and Scotland. Some of the journeys being undertaken were amazing. As an example from Germany down thro the Alps to Nice along to Spain, across up to northern Spain up thro France to the Channel and then back down to Loire and along to Germany. ETA back home in August. This has not set us thinking! The 3 Scots lads Micky, Struan and John joined for a long dusk chat. The sun went down and as per norm on this trip we went to bed. (80k) Sunday was a short trip to Basel. Above the flatlands appeared first distant and then much closer mountains. Some amongst you may suggest they were just large hills but for resident of the flatlands of Hayling Island they were mountains. Had lunch with David and Jill (43k). We must be half way now!!

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