Nederlandse versieTravel report Canal du Rhône au Rhin 2004

We leave at six o'clock in the morning to go by car to Montbéliard for a journey of one week by boat on the Canal du Rhône au Rhin. We are five of us. Margo, a friend of Pepijn and Maarten is going with us. We will be navigating from Montbéliard to Dole, a voyage of 146 kilometers. We will pass about 52 locks. We will be navigating on the river Doubs for about the half, the other half on canal sections which are situated parallel to the river.

We drive by Germany and go into France at Mulhouse. On the highway the watershed between the Mediterranean and the North sea is marked by signs. This is the watershed the Canal du Rhône is bridging too.

Before we arrive at Montbéliard, I take a look at a branch the Canal du Rhône au Rhin, the Embranchement de Belfort. Here a examine an iron aqueduct over the river la Savoureuse. Just after the aqueduct o lock is situated. Alongside a apple tree is flowering beautifully.  
I also take the time to take a look at a similar aqueduct over the river l'Allan  which is part of the Canal du Rhône au Rhin. I can't take good pictures of it because the environment is wooded. Just after the aqueduct a three forked canal is situated. On big signs I read the tree destinations Rhône, Rhin and Botans, the village where the Embranchement de Belfort ends nowadays. We will be navigating in the direction of the Rhône tomorrow.  

Afterwards we travel on to Montbéliard where the houseboat base is situated. Montbéliard is situated close to Sochaux where the Peugeot-factories are have its seats at. We see enormous parking-places full with new cars.

At half past three we arrive at the base. I see only one boat of the boat company and it is ours. We move all our things from the car to the boat. I soon discover I forgot my coat with my car papers and my mobile phone on the hat-rack at home. I am happy they don't make any problems about the missing of the car papers. My car will be transported from Montbéliard to Dole by the boat company this week.

We get an explanation about the boats we have to get accustomed to. There is a big living room with a lot of glass but the sleeping rooms of the children are very small.  They are hidden under the dresser and the dashboard. The boat can be steered from inside and outside but the steering place outside is somewhat primitive. On has to climb on the roof by a small ladder where a little bench is standing. The little wheel is very low, it is situated between ones ankles. It takes is us some time to get used to the boat but when all our stuff is unpacked it already feels already a little like 'our boat’.

Across the base a supermarket is situated and we are told that it's open on Sunday mornings so we can do some shopping tomorrow. We are moored close to a bridge on which a lot of cars pass using their claxon. The stop close to us at a park alongside the canal. There are several brides and bridegrooms walking thorough the park with their gests

I cycle through town to look for a place where we can have dinner but on the first of May all restaurants appear to be closed. The children don't mind at all that we eat something at the Mac Donalds this evening.

I go with the children to a footballmatch of FC Sochaux In the evening. Sochaux is a club from the French Ligue 1 which are on the fourth place now. They play against Montpellier at eight o'clock this evening. We walk alongside the canal first, then cross the river by a footpath on a railway bridge and come into town. By a little tunnel under the railway and some narrow streets we arrive quickly at the stadium, the Stade Bonal. We are searched and get our seats in the beautiful stadium.. It is closed by tribunes from all sides and it can lodge about 20.000 spectators. This evening there are about n 15.000 of them. It is a match with a lot of ambiance. We sit in the most noisy corner. A lot of fans are beating drums all the time and a singer with a megaphone is urging on the other fans to sing songs. Sochaux beats Montpellier with 3 to 1.

We walk back to the boat after the match where Marga tries to warm herself with a glass of wine. She hasn't found out how the stove operates. We have a glass also and put on the stove sometime. After that we feel a little strange as we go to bed for our first night onboard.