Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing, and a self-piloted canal cruise is no exception. Tom, my in-laws, Dagny and I went on a canal cruise in Alsace in September and had a wonderful time discovering the region, the canals and the locks along the way. If you’re thinking of booking a similar trip, read on for my canal cruise tips.
If you’ve been following along on the blog, you know that Tom, Dagny, my in-laws and I headed east last month to the Alsace region of France for a canal cruise. We rented a boat and set out on the canal for a week full of locks, relaxation and nature. You can get all the details here along with info on going through a lock. Today’s post is all about the destinations. Be sure to scroll to the end for the highlight of the post — a video I put together giving you an overview of the whole trip!
Canal locks are a given on a canal boating trip, and on our recent canal cruise in Alsace aboard a Nicols boat, we must have done at least 40 over the course of the week. At first, we were total amateurs, but after a couple of days, we figured out a good system to safely and efficiently pass through the locks. What are locks, how do they work, and what are some tips for operating them?
France is roughly the size of Texas, so it’s hard to imagine that such a relatively small area could pack in so many diverse landscapes. From rivers and canals to rugged cliffs and snow-capped mountains to lavender fields and vineyards and beyond, France’s beauty doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s truly an outdoorsman’s paradise. Ever since I moved here almost 5 years ago, it’s been important to me to see as much of the country’s beauty as I can… and from varying perspectives including the land and the water.
As I mentioned in my intro to canal cruising post, Tom suggested that for summer vacation, we do a self-guided canal boating trip and was familiar with a company called Nicols because their boats are built not far from where we live. He showed me the website and I was sold. Seeing a new-to-us region of France from a different vantage point sounded exciting, so a few weeks ago Tom, Dagny and my in-laws set off for our getaway on the canals of Alsace. And wow, what a fabulous time we had!