A sixteen lock ladder

a later start today, for no particular reason. it’s raining and cold when we set off, but we were warned by the online meteo so we’re prepared with will-not-get-cold-even-when-wet pants, rainjackets, helmet covers and even home-made shoe covers. that should do to get through the day relatively dry. we climb out of the valley that holds Corbigny, crest the hill and descend to the long canal again. we’re getting closer to the water divide between the Seine and Loire rivers so the locks come quicker and quicker, culminating in the échelle de 16 écluse which translates to the sixteen lock ladder. each lock bridges a vertical difference of about four or five meters, so the route along the ladder is a succession of one to two hundred meters perfectly horizontal road followed by a steep incline to get up to the next level. not so bad the first time, but you quickly feel the weight of the bike and bags holding you back.

on the other side of the divide we go down the canal all the way to the Loire. this area is a bit deserted, though we meet some other travellers on bikes and a lot of men fishing. there are very few places to eat close to the canal but we manage to find the one restaurant that’s open on a Sunday and have a simple but filling meal in La Petite Biche. it’s run by a guy born in Holland who visited much of the world and landed here. he cooks indonesion food but today it’s just steak and fries that’s available.

we set off again around two thirty with about forty kilometers to go. we’re not feeling very strong today so there are lots of stops, some for pictures, some to have a snack but mainly just to rest the legs. we see the cutest bunch of ducklings, thirty one blue herons and two nutria (Myocastor Coypus) having a snack of their own on opposite the river bank. we extend our guessing game to meals (I’m thinking of.. a meal you had once), restaurants, castles and beverages, but always referring to something related to a previous holiday.

the final ten kilometers to Decize are a bit more challenging because of the strong headwind, but we can almost smell the hot shower so we pick up the speed a little and arrive at the Hotel du Port de Decize around six thirty. the shower is indeed blessedly hot..

  • total distance: 219,5 km
  • distance today: 87,4 km
  • cycling hours today: 5:40 h
  • average speed: 15,5 km/h

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