Day Twelve – Plus Ca Change To Colmar

After yesterday’s uplifting (pun intended!) experience, this morning felt as damp as the weather. Packing and cleaning and wondering why we bought so much bottled water and kitchen towels amongst other excesses! It was a short lived dampness though as the day definitely brightened incrementally.

After a complex conversation or two, we managed to get the staff at Le Boat to call us a taxi. Initially they’d just given us a number, which went to answerphone, and although I’m getting by with my bit of French, leaving a legible message about needing a taxi to La Gare dans Sarrebourg wasn’t a great plan!

Oh my! It’s frantically busy on changeover day as you’d expect. I surprised myself (again!) last night backing our boat into the mooring perfectly. I was just starting to think it’s actually easier to drive than a 60 foot long, 6ft 10″ wide steel hulled narrowboat. Below is my tiny bedroom. Good job Barry didn’t come aye?!

The checkout was interesting. A charge of €80 for the lost lock ladder, and an incredible €125 for a week’s worth of fuel! We travelled for a maximum of five hours a day over six days. From what I’ve heard from Kerry and Tony (who paid for the trip), there’s extra charges for an inordinate amount of things. Definitely NOT a cheap holiday to take. The Scottish men we met on the hotel boat ‘Madeline’, informed us they paid €1,500 each for a week’s full board. Sounds like somewhat better value. However we had fabulous fun – even without the ‘real’ Captain 😉

The taxi that arrived to collect us was worth all the effort. Driven by a vibrant French woman, she was exceptionally friendly and communicative. She relayed a bit of history of the region, around the French/German connection, and informed us of the unique dialect here. That sadly, she says, the next generation are not learning. Most people speak fluent French and German, though interestingly only a handful speak English. She says she insisted on choosing English at school, despite being the only child to do so!

Sarrebourg to Colmar

Just when I thought we’d been amazed enough, the journey to Colmar, the station (la Gare, especially la toilette!), and the town (city?) is astounding.

How about this for a bicycle rack on a train?

Such a brilliant introduction to Venice too, as our amazing apartment for the night is situated in Petite Venise! On the Rue de la Poissonnerie.

It’s once again breathtaking. And before this trip I’m not sure I’d even heard of Colmar!

Our apartment is the light blue building with the yellow canopy in the last picture above. Third floor (no lift!), and a spiral steep staircase. Quite a mission for one night but wow! Again. WOW 😮

After an action packed afternoon where we wandered, enjoyed a 30 minute gondola cruise, a cocktail (and beer for Tony), and a peek at the colourful indoor market, this evening I treated Tony and Kerry to dinner at the nearby ‘Wistub Brenner’, a Michelin restaurant I believe, where the chef brings your food to the table. C’etait delicieux 😋 I had garlic snails for the second time this trip. They evoke magical memories from my childhood when I was brave enough at the age of about ten I think, to come to France on my own to stay with family friends of my parents. Blimey. Can’t imagine that now. But I vividly remember many details of the time. I’ve remembered why I have a such soft spot for this magnificent country …

Barry’s Adventure Today …

The rain must be abating around Middlewich now, as Barry and Dickie were able to go down the Anderton Boat Lift onto the river Weaver this evening. He’ll be happy 😃

Strangely enough, despite reading that Colmar is one if the driest cities in France due to its location, this evening as we walked back from dinner around 8pm the heavens opened and its been persisting it down with thunder and lightening ever since. Not great for Kerry’s planned twilight photography!

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