Our Barge, Odysseus

Thursday, September 02, 2010

To Metz - Aug. 7-9

Saturday morning we threw off the lines in Nancy and, after about an hour and a half, completed this portion of the Canal de la Marne au Rhine and entered the Moselle River. We turned north toward Germany but would make a couple of stops before the border.
The first was Pont-a-Mousson, famous as a foundry town. All throughout France you will find manhole covers made here. There is a very nice, quiet, free tie up in a park just off the river, and, as the name of the town is "Pont," there is one of the few bridges over the river, with the beautiful St. Martin's Church at one end.

Just down the river is the Abbaye des Premontres which dates from the early 1700's. It was devastated by Allied bombing during WW II. That important bridge, remember. It has been almost completely restored and is now used as a conference center, museum and art gallery.

Saturday night we had one of those "only in Europe" evenings. We'd seen posters for the weekly free outdoor concert in the place Duroc and seen the stage being prepared so after dinner we headed into town to see what was up. The helpful lady at the tourist office had informed us it was "accordion music" and from the look on her face she didn't think two Americans would be very interested. We joined the crowd listening to an hour or so of some pretty enjoyable French chausson, complete with the jolly fellow with the slicked back hair and the nimble fingers on the keyboard, accompanied by a drummer, guitarist and bassist. But when they brought another accordion player on stage and the guitar and bass players picked up theirs, meaning no less that four accordions sawing away, we had to beat a hasty retreat.
We spent the day in town at the museum and catching up on chores. Monday morning we thought we would leave early so we could arrive early in the day at our next destination. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas. We turned the corner out into the river to find a thick blanket of fog. There is some big commercial traffic on the river and we would soon be entering a narrow stretch. We found a spot to tie up in front of the Abbey and waited. Luckily, just a half-hour later visibility had improved and we were off down the river. Next stop, Metz.

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