On a rest day we take turns in writing a sporty and weekly summary for www.tibs.com. I'm telling you this for a couple of reasons: first, much of last week's TIBS article was spent predicting an end to the hot sun we've enjoyed (almost as if I'd already seen the weather forecast); second, I don't have much to say about the last three days. And that's basically it. It's rained a lot and we've canoed a lot.
The first day of the week was all about getting used to a new waterway: the Main-Donau kanal. Although we took a bit of a detour on the first lock which took us back to testy upstream work, from there it was plain sailing all the way to the campsite. The campsite was in fact a ditch behind the towpath that is excellent for cyclists and dog walkers but less good for continent-crossing-canoeists. It also rained quite a bit on day one - but nothing too heavy. So, end of the first day and we were used to fairly easy water, having not much to stop for, having to camp inconspicuously and being damp.
These lessons were to serve us well on day 70 as we got through 43.5 more km of grey and wetter than usual canal with a useful tailwind. We passed through the city of Nuremburg but the kanal actually only goes through the business park so it was once again a stopless day.
Day 70 was nonetheless a pretty good day. After our tricky detour the day before, we stuck to the locks and were rewarded with carts to walk the canoe around the lock. Looking like a massive shopping trolley with only 2 central wheels, these contraptions have made the 500m walk around the lock a lot easier than it would normally be. The other good thing - and this applies to canals in general - is that canoeists are obviously pretty rare on the Main-Donau. As such, we've been regularly cheered on and chatted to by two or three very friendly Germans. (When I've given you a paragraph on shopping trolleys and chatting you know it's been a quiet few days.)
And that brings us to today, day 71. Once again wet and once again a good distance made. I also boshed out a rapid intervals session this morning.
The high point of the day, in fact the literal high point from here on in, was our last ever upstream lock. From now to the Black Sea and however far we make it, we will never again have to push Dora up a hill. Last week saw the end of upstream paddling and today saw the end of anything upwards at all. We duly celebrated with sugary cashew nuts. Living the dream. Then it rained some more, we did some more Herculean kilometers and actually found quite a nice camping spot.
You may think I just like having a winge, but honestly the Main-Donau canal is not a famous cruising destination at the best of times and not at all on a wet week in September. At 2pm today, Jimmy said, "If all goes smoothly with the locks and camping then this will be the most boring day ever." All went smoothly with locks and camping.