Barging in Burgundy Part 4

Barging in Burgundy Part 4

Barging in Burgundy

To read from the beginning use this link – Barging in Burgundy Part 1.

Day Seven – 4th July 2017
Tournus
There was no great rush to do anything so we had a leisurely breakfast and then went to do the walking tour of Tournus. It takes just over an hour. The main attraction is the abbey built around 1100. In excellent condition. We found little lanes and side roads and were able to read about their importance in times gone by. A man had accosted us as we started our walk and told us about his creperie. My mother was keen to try a French crepe so we made our way to Place de l’Arc and found his Sweet and Savoury Pancakes. Hellava friendly chap. Very proud that his food was made from local and mostly organic produce. And it was good.

My mother had been wanting to have Atlantic Salmon. Much as we adhere to a vegan lifestyle we didn’t have it in our hearts to deny her this, so bought her a piece of salmon to cook on the BBQ. I made marinated veggie and tofu kebabs for my husband and myself. A couple of salads and potatoes wrapped in foil to put on the fire. We have a portable mini kettle style BBQ that we place on the grass or jetty when we make an outdoor meal. Perfect in hot weather.

Tournus

Tournus

Day Eight – 5th July 2017
Tournus to Mâcon nord
The trip from Tournus to Mâcon was just under 3 hours. We should have made better time as we were going with the current but there was quite a strong head-wind slowing us down. It’s green and really pretty en route. It’s also much nicer to be moving on the water when it’s hot. Temperatures were around 32’C. We bought two 2 x 3 metres pieces of blue tarpaulin at the garden (jardin) section of the supermarket for €2. A steal really. The two triangles we had bought made a HUGE difference. We were still sitting around dripping with perspiration but it at least we had some shade. One of the other boaters had taken a drive to a river where they went swimming to cool off. My other half and I took cold showers on the boat and wore a nothing more than our sarongs.

Tournus

Tournus

The marina north of Mâcon is fabulous. The French Waterways guidebook recommends it over the moorings in Macon ville as it’s quieter. The amenities are spotless, air-conditioned and modern, they also have free bicycle hire. Bonus. And super friendly staff who are happy to speak English. It’s about a 4 kilometre walk to sightseeing in Macon Ville. Mâcon Nord has a massive supermarket and a free bus service nearby. The cost per night was €23 with an extra €2 for electricity.

We had met a lady at Tournus and encountered her again in Mâcon. Turns out her husband had always dreamed of doing the waterways of France. Sadly, he developed Parkinson’s disease. Not one to be deterred, she was doing most of the boating, and all the rest of the chores, to realise his dream. They would go for walks together and we even saw them cycling together. Can’t have been easy for her but what a beautiful love story.

Map of places of interest in Tournus

Map of places of interest in Tournus

On the other side of our boat was a hire boat with 4 French couples. I love how civilised they were. Full table of food with multiple courses for supper. They took their meals at a leisurely pace and spoke softly to each other. We barely noticed a boat full of people right next to us enjoying the evening. And I have to say, that is my experience of French people. Whether it’s their children, the teenagers or adults on holiday, they never seem to disgrace themselves.

Barging in Burgundy Part 3

Barging in Burgundy Part 3

Barging in Burgundy

To read from the beginning use this link – Barging in Burgundy

Day Five – 2nd July 2017
Chalon-sur-Saône
The plan was to have a day in Chalon-sur-Saône. One of our favourite spots. Also, a bigger place so, super handy from a shopping perspective. Sundays are slow at the best of times in France. You really want to be in a larger place like Chalon-sur-Saône on a Sunday. A village would have been deader than dead. It was a no brainer to lurk a bit longer. They have a fabulous food market on Sunday mornings so we hot footed it over the St Laurent bridge, followed the crowds, and immersed ourselves in the lanes that make up the market. Truth is French markets are not always good value. Supermarkets are often cheaper. But they are so seductive with their beautifully arranged produce and tastings. Vendors tout for business and it’s impossible to resist items you wouldn’t ordinarily see. Asparagus as fat as my wrist, black tomatoes, the freshest herbs and all sorts of berries.

Approaching Chalon-sur-Saone

Approaching Chalon-sur-Saone

We bought juicy summer melons, donut peaches and cherries. After our shopping, we stopped at a café next to the river for a French coffee. Caught up on Internet related stuff and moseyed back to the boat. There we did lots of non important things. Read, snacked, had a snooze and played cards. Late afternoon I went for a run along the river and came back to make Puy Lentil Rissoles with a chunky tomato sauce, minted peas and a cabbage and potato mash for supper. We washed that down with local red wine. It felt like the sun was never going to set. Still bright at 21.30pm. Across the river there was a festival of sorts and we could hear music.

Food Market Chalon-sur-Saone

Food Market Chalon-sur-Saone

Day Six – 3rd July 2017
Chalon-sur-Saône to Tournus
Before we left Chalon, we wanted to go to the hardware store (bricolage) and an organic food shop on the opposite side of the marina in a retail area. The weather had been cool and rainy but the forecast was for hot weather. On the boat, hot weather can be really hot. We hoped to find some shade cloth. What is shade cloth in French? No idea, but we tried to mime and use words we knew to explain and they seemed to understand as they took us to triangles of cloth with metal rings which we bought.

Tied up in Chalon-sur-Saone

Tied up in Chalon-sur-Saone

At the organic food shop, we went a bit crazy and stocked up on things you don’t easily find in the French supermarkets. Smoked tofu, veggie pates and organic toiletries. I love the soap they make in Marseilles. Back at the boat we untied and set off along the Saône toward Tournus. I was pronouncing it tour nos but it’s actually thoor noo. No wonder no one understood me. One big lock and a few hours later we tied up at the very last space in Tournus.

The mooring in Tournus is free. You get electricity and water. No amenities. There are public toilets scattered around the town but they’re not great. And defo no wi-fi. Free is always good so we weren’t complaining. You’re limited to 36 hours and then required to move on.

Tournus

Tournus

They say in the French Waterways map book that it’s around Tournus that the change between north and south France becomes apparent. The northerners have grey tall buildings with grey roofs. They are fair and reserved. The climate is cooler. Southern buildings are shorter with red tiled roofs and autumnal colours abound. The people are darker and more animated. It’s hotter in the south. And yes, I could see a difference.

Read more – on this link

Barging in Burgundy Part 2

Barging in Burgundy Part 2

Barging in Burgundy

To read from the beginning use this link – Barging in Burgundy

Heading down the Saone

Heading down the Saone

Day Three – 30th June 2017
St-Jean-de-Losne to Verdun-sur-le-Doubs
My husband made us a divine melon/banana/oat smoothie for breakfast. And the obligatory plunger of good coffee. Then we headed up on deck to untie and make our way south along the River Saône. First, we topped up with 250 litres of fuel which came to €318.00. We passed through two medium locks – one was 3.75 metres.

We gave Seurre a miss. Last time they charged us for full services which we never received. The office/centre was closed and we couldn’t access or use their amenities. Bit cheeky methinks. Verdun-sur-le-Doubs on the other hand we remembered fondly. Friendly and a full range of services. Even their wi-fi worked. It was a no brainer to stop there again.

Verdun-sur-le-Doubs

Verdun-sur-le-Doubs

A bloke came down and helped us tie up. Always handy that. We tied up backwards (stern to) in Verdun-sur-le-Doubs. On our previous trip we had done their village walking tour. The Tourist Info Office is right next to the marina. They gave us a guide and we followed little yellow fish painted on the road. This time we ambled about slowly and headed for their Atac supermarket. There is nothing you could possibly need that Atac don’t stock. It was still drizzly and cool so we stayed inside the boat. I made a big fat veggie frittata which we ate with French Carrot salad. You can buy it ready made in most shops. It’s divine. And of course, we had a few blocks of local Cotê d’Or chocolate.

Shangri La in Verdun-sur-le-Doubs

Shangri La in Verdun-sur-le-Doubs

Day Four – 1st July 2017
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs to Chalon-sur-Saône
My other half got up reasonably early and joined the queue outside the Boulangerie to buy pastries for my mother and freshly baked whole-wheat bread (pain complet) for brekka. OMW the baked goods in France are divine. As we were gearing up to untie and head off we got chatting to a friendly English bloke who had been cruising the waterways for the last 25 years. These guys need to download their info onto some sort of site. They know so much. One thing he mentioned was rainfall on the canals. This had contributed to more weeds in the water than normal. A possible problem when using canal water with weeds is blockages in toilets. Another thing we hadn’t considered – low rainfall means less water in the canals. Which could mean they have to close some of the canals. We needed to be vigilant and keep up to date with VNF news in this regard.

Shangri La arrived in Chalon-sur-Saône to find a super friendly bloke who spoke perfect English guiding us into the best mooring spot and helping with our ropes. Nice! After we tied up we had a lunch of bread, crackers, spreads, pâtés and fruit and then headed up to find a wi-fi (or wiffy as they call it in France) Café. The amenities at Chalon-sur-Saône are excellent but like most marinas, the wi-fi was useless. Chalon-sur-Saône is one of the best marinas in the area.

Tied up in Chalon-sue-Saone

Tied up in Chalon-sur-Saone

We’ve often wondered why the cafés and bars right next to the marinas can provide perfect high speed wi-fi, yet most marinas have rubbish wi-fi. C’est la vie. After catching up on life we wandered around a bit and then headed back to the boat just in time to miss the rain. The aromas of on-board cooking permeated the marina. We could see folks settled in with glasses of wine at the ready. Life on the waterways is truly idyllic.

Read more – on this link

My other half is also blogging about our trips. You can read his take on things – here.

Barging in Burgundy Part 1

Barging in Burgundy Part 1

Barging in Burgundy

This would be our 5th summer barging in Burgundy on our beloved Shangri La. When my better half bought the boat, I had grand ideas of traversing the Inland Waterways of all Europe. My other half was much more realistic. And thank heavens for that. We spent 2 and 1/2 summers in the Netherlands, a hectic season trekking through Belgium into France. This would be our second summer in France. We had barely moved from Burgundy the year before. And it didn’t look like we were making great progress anytime soon. And the best bit – it was entirely OK. We had been taking our time stopping off at myriad little villages. Languishing at markets and dropping back on our intended schedule to enjoy just a bit more of a lovely place we discovered. Barging in Burgundy is indeed. a special experience.

Shangri La lifted out for a scrub

Shangri La lifted out for a scrub

My husband went a few days ahead of me to get the boat ready and do a few small repairs. I was coming over with my mother on the Eurostar. This would be her first time on our boat. And her first time barging in Burgundy

Filling up with fuel

Filling up with fuel

Day One – 28th June 2017
London to St-Jean-de-Losne
The trip from London to St-Jean-de-Losne is always hectic. There are only a handful of trains to this itty-bitty village. Our entire trip hinges around making sure we don’t miss one of those trains. It’s tight. I didn’t want my mother to have to dash with all her luggage. Luckily my better half came up to meet us at Gare du Nord and helped carry her stuff. Would not have coped without him. There is a taxi we could take for the last leg from the station to the boat but it’s so expensive when we convert it back to our local currency. It’s just over a kilometre. So, we walked. My mother walked too. She was tired when we got to the boat.

Apparently, it had been hot and dry for 9 weeks prior to our arrival. It was a warm evening so we sat outside on the back deck listening to the frogs, fish and birds. Eating and chatting. The shops were closed when we arrived so it was a meal of leftovers and what was on board.

St Jean de Losne

St Jean de Losne

Day Two – 29th June 2017
St-Jean-de-Losne
Our second day was spent in St-Jean-de-Losne. I wanted Mum to see a bit of this important junction on the waterways. My other half had last dealings with H2O Marina. We needed to do major shop up for 7 weeks of boating and there is a lovely Casino supermarket easy walking distance from the boat.

One thing about H2O St-Jean-de-Losne is they have great wi-fi. And thank heavens as there was a major plumbing drama back home in South Africa. We did a little walkabout in the village. Visited the free Barge Museum. Popped into an eatery along the River Saône for a drink. And then back to the boat before the rain came down. I made a pasta packed full of French veggies, aubergine, courgette, onions, garlic and hearty tomatoes. Plus, some Violife vegan parmesan cheese I had brought over from the UK. Add a few glasses of Burgundy red wine. What more could a person want?

Sleeping in a boat is the best. The cabins are cosy with low ceilings. Add to that the motion and sounds of being on the water. I guess it’s a bit like being in a womb. Hypnotic. Definitely conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Read more – on this link.

Boating in Burgundy Final

Boating in Burgundy Final

Read from the start – here.

Finally we found the marina at Seurre. We didn’t expect the marina to be open on a Sunday and we were right. It’s looks a lovely place but we didn’t have access to any facilities or wi-fi. While we were catching up on things we heard a commotion outside. The Fire Department had arrived. They were trying to catch a swan. Couldn’t figure out why but my other half thought they said it had a fishing hook in it’s beak.

The villagers all flocked around to watch the dapper firemen chasing after the swan in a rubber boat. The swan wasn’t having any of it so it took a while. After all the fuss subsided we went for a walk. Not a lot going on. One pub open but that was all. Also not a big village so we covered it in no time.

Rescuers saving a swan

Rescuers saving a swan

Back at the boat I made a big fat salad with a galette type thing we bought with some Provençal tomato sauce. Not sure what the difference is between that and regular tomato sauce as it came in a tin but it was great.

Monday morning Patrick went to the Capitainerie to let them know we had been at the marina and were leaving. And we were charged full price! Bit cheeky since there were no services.

Making supper - galettes with provencal sauce

Making supper – galettes with provencal sauce

We untied and made our way to St-Jean-de-Losne. The second big lock wasn’t anywhere near as problematic for which we were very grateful. It could be that the lock-keeper was more experienced or the paddles didn’t open as fast?

Back at St-Jean-de-Losne we were hit with a bit of an anti climax. We usually have to clean the deck chairs, table, etc and bring all that down into the spare cabin. The washing has to be done and packed away. The engineer comes to service the engine and “winters” the boat which includes emptying the water tanks. We use up the last of our food. Our last night on the boat is always sad.

Locking up

Locking up

But the nice thing is we usually have a good idea of where we’re likely to go boating the following year. And it’s looking like we’re going down the River Saône toward Macon and then back up to the River Seille to Louhans. From there we’re heading toward Digoin and Decize where we will hopefully moor the next winter.

When Patrick bought this boat I had grand notions of us traveling all over – Scandinavia, Eastern Bloc countries, UK and more. But the reality is boating is a leisurely experience and it’s not going to happen. We will explore as much of France as we can and then travel the waterways of Germany. By then it will be time to let someone else enjoy our boat.

St-Jean-de-Losne

St-Jean-de-Losne

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