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The Spy Who Loved Me

Beer, Wine and Cider 7: Closely Inclined Planes

Friday 23rd August

Today we were heading deeper into France, to the little village where our friends' party would be held the following day. I managed one last swim before checkout.

Our first stop was the Plan Incliné de Saint-Louis Arzviller, a lift that allows canal boats passage through the Vosges Mountains, replacing 17 locks. We were lucky enough to see it in action, raising a boatload of tourists before our very eyes.

After coffee, it was time to press on. We chose to avoid tolls, so the route was a mix of motorway, dual carriageway and straight, almost empty country roads. My fly-by treat for the day was a Mirage 2000 fighter, spotted near a French air base.

"No, when was that?" said Howard when I asked later if he'd seen it.

"When I slowed down for no apparent reason."

"I should remember to check the sky when that happens."

We arrived at half-past five, precisely when we'd said we would. Our friends had very kindly offered us a room, and I was allowed to unpack and change before their daughter whisked me off to inspect her treehouse.

Other guests had arrived, or were arriving. We had a tour of the village, which took about 20 minutes, then ate pizzas outside in the dusk before bed.

Miles: 293.4

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Oh! So that "inclined plane" has boats go right into the "trough", for lack of a better word, and then the entire "trough" is lifted by the mechanism, water and boat and all, and the boat released at the top? That's very neat.
Yes - and it takes very little force to make things happen, because the balance and counterweight system works so well.


A bit like the Falkirk Wheel only different?

Auntie Frances
Yes! I asked Howard if he had a whole list of canal-related sites to visit, and apparently he has...