After leaving Avignon just before dinner the previous evening, the Viking Heimdal traveled a bit more than 40 miles north to dock at the village of Viviers around 1:30 AM. Though it was late in November and the day started off foggy as we began our morning walking tour of the village, by the time we returned it had cleared up for our day of scenic cruising farther up the Rhône.
Viviers is a small village that is a bit run-down and doesn’t really seem to be thriving. They do, however, provide an official greeter for the river cruise passengers:
The route from the dock into the village goes up one of the typically French beautiful lanes lined with heavily pruned plane trees:
The group climbed through the narrow winding lanes of the old village with our guide toward the top of the hill as the fog began to break up. It was very quiet in the village on this Saturday morning – no commuters up and rushing to work.
At the top there was a pleasant vista, where we could see our longship docked on the river:
Our guide took us inside the Cathédrale Sainte-Vincente de Viviers, which was originally built in the 11th century. The interior is adorned with some striking tapestries:
When we returned to the ship, numerous rowers moved around the ship in their 2- and 4-person boats. (They need a bit of work on synchronizing their strokes…)
Airplanes don’t carry along their own jetways, but river cruise ships do have to bring along their own gangplanks. It was interesting watching the crew pick up and stow the ships gangplank using the ship’s crane:
One of the cool things about the ships is how maneuverable they are, especially given how long they are. The thrusters on the sides of the ship can push it directly away from the dock. We got a kick out of this sign on the river; destination signs are not just for freeway exits:
Soon after leaving Viviers we arrived at a lock. I fired up a time-lapse video to capture the experience. We began moving into the lock but, for some reason, we had to withdraw:
Eventually we moved into the lock. No matter what the temperature is during a cruise, it’s always cool inside the locks:
Here is the hyper-lapse video that captures the entire passage through this lock:
As we continued cruising we passed churches, views of the Alps, and umm…a nuclear power plant:
There was also a lot of birdlife along the river:
Sailing along on a river cruise ship, sometimes you feel like you’re in your own little world:
At a subsequent lock we documented just how tight the squeeze is when a longship goes through:
We wouldn’t arrive at next stop of Tournon until later in the evening, but even at night there can be some beautiful sights along the river:
Next on this trip: Sunday steam train ride in the rain, and a Roman temple.