These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

1st – 10th July 2017. On to the Canal de la Sarre, through Mittersheim, Harskirchen, Sarralbe, and on to Sarreguemines.

From the canal Marne au Rhin (east), we turned northwards on to the Canal de la Sarre, which starts alongside the Etang de Gondrexange, a large lake lying behind the dike to the right here. This canal leads to the river Sarr, which continues on into Germany, joining the river Moselle. We hope to then go up the Moselle through Luxembourg, and return to France by this route. At present, lock 31, just over the German border, is closed, but is due to open on 7th July.
Mooring just before lock 1, an arm of the Etang du Stock lies below us. This is a holiday area, with many holiday cottages, and sailing dinghies around the water.

Continuing on, we cross the Etang du Stock on an aqueduct, where the canal is level with the lake, only separated from it by the towpath.

Twelve more locks lead us down the valley, with some lovely lock cottages.

Sometimes the canal runs through the woods.

A large extension makes this lock cottage rather special.

Here too, the canal runs alongside natural lakes.

Below the locks lies Mittersheim, the first village on the canal de la Sarre, and it is beautifully decorated with flowers.

The next part of the canal is much more open.

Shannon likes to travel on the roof of The Puzzler, but just now the heat is too much!

We had arranged to collect our post at the port of Harskirchen and arrived there on Wednesday morning. However, the capitaine had not told us they were closed midweek, and so we had to wait there until Friday.
As Harskirchen is a pleasant village, again with lovely flowers outside the school, time passed quickly, although the weather continues to be too hot for comfort.

Shannon has had a full trim, and is enjoying her new ''cool pool''.

At Sarralbe there is a splendid new mooring, with free electricity and water. A lot of money has been spent here!

The church is really impressive, but it was a very long walk to get to the supermarket at the other end of town.

This storks nest, on top of the church roof, is one of several in town. We must have seen eight nests in that area.
A contrasting mooring for the next night, just outside the village of Sarreinsming. This time we were in the shade, but even so the temperature did not drop below 19.6° C during the night.
Four regiments of American troops are honoured by this memorial of December 8th 1944, when they freed Sarreinsming from the Germans. It has been created, using part of the bailey bridge, which was used to cross the river Saar here, at that time. The waterwheel by the old flour mill, on the other side of the river, runs constantly.

We arrived in Sarreguemine to find both Lazybones and Puddleduck, from Roanne, in the port. La Paradoxe, with our French friends, is here too. The port is full because the closed lock is still closed! It should perhaps be open in a week's time, but then again, perhaps not. On va voir!

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