Imagine being on a river cruise and getting stuck for 3 days in one location because the river is flooding. And it’s in the fall! That’s exactly what happened to us on our Rhone River cruise a couple of years ago. The Rhone River flow was far above the level to close the locks, thereby bringing all river traffic to a halt. One morning when we got up there was this tree lodged against the bow of the ship.
All luck, or Mr. Murphy would have it, we were anchored by the smallest town on the cruise. Of course this town had no services either. So we were stuck making the best of it with lots of wine. Sometimes there are unexpected benefits on a wine cruise. Once the tree was removed a day later we continued our journey.
When a river goes starts to flood, what happens to all the cruise boats on the river? A lot of rain fell in northern France in areas that drain into the Rhone and its tributaries. When the cruise started the flow rate of the river was 2,000 cubic meters per second. After all the rain fell it went up to 4,000cms. Unfortunately when the flow rate exceeds 3,000cms navigation on the river is halted and the locks are closed. And the boats? They stay in whatever city or town they stopped at and we’re left with a painfully slow internet connection that makes it impossible to update a blog. No wifi cafe in Viviere.
In our case the town was Viviere; a town without much. 25% of its buildings are inhabited, the rest crumbling and empty. A great town for a ghost tour but not much else. In a town of minimal population and street lights the upside is that the Milky Way stands out and the stars are bright. This was an unexpected treat. For three nights the river kept us here. That and watching trees floating by in the river was the only entertainment that was found outside of the boat.
However our tours continued as scheduled. AMA Waterways was very proficient at re-arranging the tours and having buses pick us up and take us to our destinations. While the drive to the locations may have been a bit longer we did get to see more of the French countryside. We still got to taste wine and see the sights. And each night we had fantastic meals.
After the third night of being stuck in Viviere, the river was opened to navigation and we were able to move on. Of course that was after the tree that was lodged on the bow of the boat was removed. The boat sailed all night and when we woke up we were in Lyon with one last day of touring before our next part of our trip begins.