My cabin window is very close to the waterline, which doesn’t matter much when you’re travelling really slowly on a silky smooth canal. I woke this morning to see the canal surface steaming gently as the morning sun hit the water (that’s my poetic/romantic moment for the Tour all done in one paragraph).
It was another sunny day in paradise so I took my morning stroll – a quick 4 kilometres along the towpath while the Madeleine followed at a respectful distance.
The locks (there are many) come and go and it is completely exhausting watching the crew work passage through them while we sit on deck with morning tea and coffee.
This was such hard work that we needed lunch to build up depleted energy reserves. Our Chef knocked out a quick Salmon en Croute and I don’t think it was from the M&S Dine in for two range.
After lunch we made an excursion to visit the castle at Haut-Barr and the Télégraphe de Claude Chappe. The latter was a pioneering method of communication developed in the mid nineteenth century. A series of towers with movable mechanical arms stretched across France and by moving the arms to a set pattern (like semaphore) along the chain of towers it became possible for Paris to communicate rapidly throughout the country. Information from Paris to Strasbourg had previously taken 4 – 5 days and now took 4 – 5 hours.
The castle at Haut-Barr is perched on top of a granite and sandstone cliff. We climbed to the top (a bit of a wobbly knee scary thing) but were rewarded with exceptional views across the Vosges Mountains and the town of Saverne.
Our evening finished at a local restaurant where we enjoyed Tarte Flambée. This Alsace speciality is a bit like a pizza (don’t say that out loud though, it makes them cross). The difference is that the dough base and crust are very thin and the cheese topping is mixed with cream. It is delicious, and very rich, and can assist weight loss only as part of a calorie controlled diet. Some of my clients had seconds! (I don’t know where they put it).