anyone who has visited France with regularity knows that they have strikes for any and all reasons. one year we went to Saint Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite only to find it closed because the ticket takers were ON STRIKE! - and although this is a slight digression - my photo post on AFAR of "heaven on earth" is one of my most popular posts - here is the photo
and here is the blurb -
heaven on earth
This exquisite jewel box of a chapel is located inside the Conciergerie on Ile St.Louis in the middle of the Seine. Seek it out. If you come to Notre Dame, you are steps away. It is tiny and well hidden, but worth the effort to find. There are actually two chapels: one downstairs (servants' chapel) and this one upstairs with its amazing masterpieces of stained glass for the royalty.
as of this morning - it has been saved 100 number of times by visitors to the website-
but as I said- I digress- because this is about the strike called for the Monday we were to begin our canal cruise on the barge Adrienne...the crew warned us that our departure time may be affected by the potential strike and that we would have to be flexible with the schedule. On Monday morning just after breakfast Chris reeled in the ropes where we were moored for the night in the Dijon marina near lock 55 and we head towards lock 55. breakfast and coffee had been provided to the lock keeper to help ease our way. However it wasn't clear that we would go through until we pulled into the lock and the lock keeper came to close the gates behind us.
For those who have never been through a lock before here is a quick synopsis of how it works - the water level in the lock is either currently at, or is brought to, the level of the water where the boat enters - the boat enters the lock- the gates are closed around the boat and the water level is either released into, or pumped into, the lock to create a level with the water where the boat will exit. Then the gate opens at the new level and you sail on...
here are a few illustrative photos- we leave Dijon through an industrial area along the train line - so the scenery starts out urban and as we progress through the trip gets more and more bucolic -
as we approach the first lock (55) you can see the lock keepers waiting for us on the top of the gates that will close behind the boat- they tuck into the side walls of the canal ... when we enter and Chris ties to the side of the wall, the lock keepers close the gates behind us and then go to the other end to start the release of water. Chris has the rope around two posts in a manner that allows him to give the rope slack as the boat is lowered within the lock.
moving into the lock-
here you can see the difference in the water levels - some will be much more dramatic as we go through a week's worth of locks but this is enough in our first lock to illustrate the process-
the gates open inward (again tucking into the side walls) and we sail on through -
here is a chart for the days locks- we are headed out of Dijon and in the direction of St Leger- so we have 14 locks to go through today - which is why we make it a grand distance of eleven miles on the first day LOL
along the way folks get on and off, ride bikes or walk or read on the deck enjoying the sunshine and blue skies (which I had been affirming for the ENTIRE week despite the forecasts and which we got for the ENTIRE week - as Arno says "thanks god!")
the next post will be things we saw along the way up and - YUM - our first lunch of Cyrille's amazing buffet with THREE delicious salads and two mains! oh and did I forget to mention the cheeses? - LOL
Oh - PS- there was no strike - Stephane said they had already been on strike three days that month and since (unlike in the past) they no longer were paid for the time they were on strike - most could not afford to miss more than three days pay in the month. This obviously works to the advantage of those traveling in the second half of the month as we did...