Saturday, 2 August 2014

Laifour to Nouzonville

4 locks, 15 miles, 5¼ hours

Yesterday we stayed at Laifour because by the time I got back from my distraction while getting Napoleon it was too late to set off.  Also we needed to get our French mobile BB sorted out.  We drove to Charleville Mezieres which is the largest town in the area and only a 12mile drive.  Graham on MR had already found SFR to be the best so armed with this we found the SFR shop and duly bought a sim and €30 = 4Gb data.  Yes its bloody expensive here, not like my UK 3 sim 15GB for £15.  The same amount of date here would cost €112.50.

The purchase was fairly straight forward despite the language barrier.  The problem came when I asked for an APN code.  This is a sort of log on code that our MiFi needs to access the sim’s network.  Now the language barrier was a problem.  Eventually they called their own support team and got me through to an English speaking assistant.  She was just as useless, so much so she put me on hold and never came back.  In the end I asked if I could connect my PC to the shops WiFi which they reluctantly did and within minutes I had the APN code.  Why do the shop staff not know about this stuff?

After a quick lunch and drinks which was served in relays Deb did a bit of retail therapy and we headed back to the boat happy we could now get on the net.

Next morning we kicked off from the lovely wild moorings at the end of the lock cut 48 with no real set destination today which is unusual.  We normally have a plan even if its a variable one.

Once again we had 1 lock that refused to work requiring a call to the VNF on the lock phone.  Other than that the cruise was once again delightful with the ever present towering backdrop, even though we needed the top up because we had light showers most of the day. 

Broken lock at Levrezy

At this lock I spied some unusual tree planting on a distant hill.

Stripy lawn trees

The only 2 places of note on the journey was the picturesque town of Montherme.


Nice new moorings

The other place of note was the lock cut at Montherme.  This was absolutely stunning.



On these cuts the strip of land between the cut and the main river is planted with a totally different fir tree to any other else where.  I suppose there is a reason, but if not, well, they just look nice.

Once through Joigny lock we started a couple of km of lookout for a wild mooring which saw us find this spot.



As we were mooring up a young chap came along and asked if he could take photos.  We said of course.  He had good English and explained he worked for the Mayors office and was part of a team campaigning for the town to have proper moorings.  This is a fairly large town and many much smaller like Montherme and Haybes have invested in moorings to attract passing boats.  Many of the towns along here also have motorhome parking close to the moorings.  This town has nothing and is certainly missing a trick.  He is going to use the photos to prop his case.

We can’t get in to the bank here because of stones so its boarding plank.  We do have telly tonight and 3g, so 21st Century normality has resumed.

Once moored I got the train back to retrieve Napoleon.  It was too late in the day for a long bike ride. 35 minutes by train, and no fun ride distractions.

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