My Travel Blog

Harvesting All The Way To Nevers – Barging Has Its Moments

Our next stop was Nevers!  This part of the canal was lined with big juicy black berries.  We had to stop and pick some.  Just around a sharp bend was a peach tree loaded with peaches.  Unfortunately this one caught me by surprise – you don’t stop a 200-ton barge on a dime, so we continued on.  Three locks further there was a peach tree next to the lock so I picked a dozen and off we went. There were also apples, but they weren’t ripe.  Barging does have its moments.  When was the last time you picked fruit at a stoplight?

“Fresh picked black berries.”

Nevers sits on a bluff above the Loire River, and is about two miles off the Canal Lateral a la Loire.  We made a hard right and took a small side canal that ended at a marina.The side canal was listed as being 1.2 meters deep, and coincidently Rabelo draws 1.2 meters.  Fortunately the chart was accurate.  We only rubbed the bottom part of the way.  I don’t know what we would have done if the canal were only 1.1 meters deep.

There used to be a lock at the end of the side canal that allowed barges to enter the Loire River.  It was filled in a number of years ago and turned into an extensive swimming pool complex.  Nevers was full of interesting buildings and narrow streets. They even have their own miniature Arc de Triomphe.  Saint-Cyr Cathedral was impressive, as much for its size as the fact that it was mostly destroyed during WWII.  The stained glass was very modern rather than the traditional glass we usually see in churches.  On our walk Lisa insisted that we buy a bag of Nevers renowned candy covered chocolate caramels called Negus.  I swear that woman is trying to fatten me up!  At the marina there was even an excellent restaurant where they served great moules (mussels).  We will make a point to return to Nevers.

“An old lock turned into a swimming pool.”

“Saint-Cyr Cathedral.”

“Some of the stained glass in Saint-Cyr Cathedral.”

“Nevers, Hotel de Ville.”

“The narrow streets of Nevers.”

The next day we moved Rabelo to Marsellies-les-Aubigny, and took the car off.  Lisa’s 82 years young Aunt Mac was flying into Paris where we would pick her up.  That evening we went for a short walk.  Someone had decided that old bikes make for interesting artwork.  There were brightly painted relics in every corner of the village.  I even found a sculpture of an old barge skipper that looked like he needed help. There used to be a canal that ran through the center of town.  They filled it in years ago. Now all that’s left is an old lift bridge in a roundabout.

“And they call this art.”

“Here I am helping out an old barge captain.”

“An old lift bridge that used to go over a canal.”

What a nightmare.  Aunt Mac owes me big time.  When we first set out for Paris, Peaches, our GPS said we would arrive twenty minutes early. There was road construction everywhere.  Paris street signs proved to be an oxymoron.  They are impossible to see.  Peaches even got lost because of all the tall buildings.  Traffic, as usual, was impossible. We arrived an hour late. The drive took so long we stopped at a McDonalds to use their toilets.  The second floor where the bathrooms were was cordoned off.  We ignored the ropes, and went upstairs to find a company holding a business meeting.  My advice to anyone looking for a job, don’t apply to the company that holds its business retreats at McDonalds.

It had rained most of the day.  In fact for the past two weeks the weather has been pretty sucko.  Do you feel my pain?  When we returned to Rabelo we were treated to a good luck omen in the form of a rainbow.

“Aunt Mac brought us a rainbow.”


-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.