Our Barge, Odysseus

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Up The Saar - mid August

The approximately 175 kilometers of the Saar navigation (Sarre in French) is actually two parts. About 95 k is the river itself while the southern portion in France is the Canal des Houilléres de la Sarre, or the Sarre Coalfields Canal. Boat traffic on the Saar River goes back to the middle ages and the Coalfields Canal was constructed in the 1800's but the river portion was not completed to the Mosel until 2000. Since the river portion is new, it was built to handle the big barges, with locks measuring 190 meters long and there are plenty of mooring facilities for big boats, many of which are also suitable for smaller craft like ours. Also the lock, being new, are all the same and well set up for both large and small craft. We saw some big commercial traffic on the river but it was easily dealt with. We saw nothing but hireboats on the canal.
Our first day would be a short one. We wanted to make our first stop in Saarburg which was only a little over 12 k away. We were tied up before noon at a pontoon on the river set up by a nearby restaurant.
We spent Monday afternoon wandering about Saarburg in the intermittent rain, visiting what they call their "Little Venice," and we mean little. A small stream connects with the Saar in town, it was blocked in the old days to service a mill and still generates electricity for the town so restaurants and flower boxes make Venice, we guess.

There is a pretty good sized hill above town with the required church. On the other side of the stream is the hill with the required ruined castle.

The view back toward town from the river.

We really did like Saarburg. We probably would have liked it better without the rain.
There was a sign on the pontoon that said mooring would cost 10 euros for a night and usually someone stops by in the evening to collect. No one showed up so we thought maybe they were on vacation. Wrong! This elderly woman was banging relentlessly on the boat about 7 am Tuesday morning wanting her 10 euros. I thought she was going to chip the paint she was hitting the boat so hard. You don't get away with nuttin' in Germany.
Next stop was Mettlach, home of outlet shopping!

No comments: