Two days in a row now we have been up at the crack of dawn, or what would have been the crack of dawn if the sun hadn't risen so early. One of the reasons for this, apart from having a monstrous sixteen kilometres to travel in the course of the day, is that our new friends on the good ship Anthonia are travelling the same route, and being larger than we and slower (in theory) they kindly suggested if we were to leave before them we would not be held up on their account.
So here we are in Bar-le-Duc, having only been held up by six or eight of the sixteen locks breaking down on the way, our destination for a few days respite.
It's an old industrial town with not much of a history at all apparently as these things go, even the church only dates to the 12th century although there is a second century remnant of the original settlement somewhere, and a monument or two to the Michaux brothers who invented the pedal velocipede and a few thousand relics of the Renaissance scattered through the old town not counting the bits of the village rebuilt in that time.
The port is quite pleasant and leafy, and as quiet as a port can be when it is wedged between a freeway and a railway yard. Perhaps it is better described as "leafy" with the rest left to the imagination. Eddie the harbour master, is an Aussiphile just back from two years circumnavigating our island and he, perhaps only he in all of France would understand as we watched the setting sun reflecting on the sheet piling of the collector road opposite and were given to ask rhetorically:
"Ahhh, how's the serenity?"