Showing posts from June, 2023

Saarbrücken - 49° 14' 10"N, 06° 56' 11"W

Back in Alsace, we had a weather window of a few days so we decided a little cycle tour was in order. Not a Gord Gilbertson cycle tour but a far more leisurely pedal along the canals, first to Saverne then onto Saarbrüken along the Eurovélo 5 and spend time taking in vistas and stopping to read all the informational signs.  We had our touring bikes so, travelling light with one pannier and a front bag each, we pedalled north. We have ridden to Saverne on previous trips but decided a night's stay would allow us to explore the town. Despite much of the route being along the canals, it was a hot ride and we were pleased to arrive.  The beer went down an absolute treat! Replenishing carbohydrates The Chateau des Rohan, now a municipal building The canal is just outside the Chateau We wandered down along the canals to a lock to see how it all worked.  It is a great system.  A series of lights indicate stop, enter and I know you are here and I am preparing the lock for you. Once inside

Plage du Mole - 48° 38' 45" N 02° 02' 44" W

One of the things in which I find great delight about being in rural France is things close. They close for lunch, they close on Sundays, they close at 8pm. Want to do a grocery shop on a Sunday?  Forget it! Buy a dress from that cute little boutique between 12-2pm? Nope!   To some, this is extremely annoying, but I love it.  It forces a pause. It allows you to take time out. You cannot race around doing chores if nothing is open so you might as well sit and enjoy lunch.  You can go for a bike ride on a Sunday without the guilt of all the things you should be doing.    It is a very balanced way to live rather than the racing 24/7 lifestyle we live in North America.  Where every moment of downtime is tainted by a background of all the things you could or should be doing instead.  There is less mental space.  When things close, there is nothing else you could be doing so the downtime is more complete, more restorative and much more fun!

Hanging out on Emma - 48° 38' 56" N 02° 01' 22" W

We have the enormous privilege to be aboard Emma, moored on the seawall just outside La Grande' Port (the Great Gate) in Saint-Malo, Brittany. Not only are we able to explore this gorgeous city with its ramparts and beaches, but we are also able to poke around Emma and learn about the workings and workmanship of a Garcia.  A very big thanks to Rebecca and Mark! The Good Ship Emma Although Emma is a 52' and Chinook is a 45', the fundamental design philosophy is the same and there is plenty of overlap.  There are some lovely features that make living aboard a pleasure.  The soft-close drawers, dimmable lights with switches exactly where you want them and locker lids lined up perfectly with the cushions so when you lift the cushion, the locker opens - one cushion, one locker. Bliss!  Also, there is an incredible amount of storage. Granted, this is a far larger boat than ours but there are some very clever uses of space which Chinook will have also. One of the cold storage area

Mont Saint-Michel - 48° 38′ 10″ N, 01° 30′ 40″ W

With close to a week to explore around Saint-Malo and glorious weather, we decided a little cycle to Mont Saint-Michel was in order.  Fortunately, the bikes we hired were E-type as the winds are vicious in this area and we bucked a headwind in both directions!   The ride from Saint-Malo is along the Baie du Mont Saint-Michel which experiences some of the largest tides in Europe, an average of 10m.  The bay is quite shallow so around Mont Saint-Michel, the water recedes up to 10km.  Satellite view from Google Maps Much of the ride was along the flat salt marshes where sheep are raised for the famed salt marsh lamb.  Like wines, this is a protected designation of origin (AOC) and only lamb from this area can be sold as "prés-salés du Mont Saint-Michel" We also rode by the oyster farms for which Cancale is famous.  The salt marshes are very flat and very windy! Mont Saint-Michel is magnificent. An abbey surrounded by a maze of ancient buildings perched on a tiny island at the en

Saint-Malo - 48° 38' 56" N 02° 01' 22" W

After arriving at Saint-Malo , we decided to go exploring in the town.  Saint-Malo has a reputation as a haven for privateers, as the governor of the city gave out letters of permission for captains of ships that sailed from there to plunder non-French ships and seek refuge there.  The tides and the fortifications of the city made it an easy place to defend.  As a result, it became a very wealthy town. Approaching Saint-Malo from the water feels like going back in time. The skyline from the sea is beautiful. We are approaching the 'sill' at the marina entrance.  The sill keeps the water at a minimum depth.  The sign shows that the water level right now is still 5.31 metres ABOVE the sill! Wow, the tides must wildly vary here. Yes, they do. 9 metre tides.  Crazy. Big tides means every twelve hours it is easy to dry your boat out for a coat of bottom paint. Here I am. Street art, too! Emma tied up to the city wall.  Thank goodness for her high freeboar