Barging in Burgundy Part 9

Barging in Burgundy Part 9

Barging in Burgundy

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

Day Sixteen – 13th July 2017
Louhans to Cuisery
It’s always nice when you know where you’re going. It helps to plan to tie up better, the wi-fi code is already in your phone and you know if you want to eat on board or eat out. We made our way back along the Seille for another night in Cuisery. The trees almost lean over and touch the boat. Various birds either sit motionlessly on the side of the canal or swoop on ahead. Behind the trees are farms with big rolls of hay and cows meandering. I even saw Chateaux (castle) Loisy up on the hill. The locks on the Seille are all manual. You wind and open the gates and paddles yourself. Which I think is easier than the remote-control locks. Less to go wrong. But then the locks aren’t particularly deep.

Cuisery Halt Nautique

Cuisery Halt Nautique

The mooring spaces for visitors, should in theory, be for visitors. But we saw some really forlorn looking boats for sale occupying public moorings. And worse, some of them tie up side-ways taking up extra space. In high season mooring space is at a premium, so not sure how they get overlooked. Back in Cuisery we saw three hire boats in a row with South African flags. We’ve seen lots of Brits, Germans, Swiss, the odd Scandinavian and people from down under. Even learnt to tell the difference between a New Zealand and an Australian flag. New Zeland flags have red stars and Australian flags have white stars. A few other minor differences, but that’s what I remembered. But it’s always a treat to encounter fellow Saffas on the waterways of France.

Day Seventeen – 14th July 2017
Cuisery to Tournus
Fortunately the locks on the River Seille are manual as turns out this day was Bastille Day. We kind of noticed loads of people out and about during a work day. There was a bit of a festive feeling to the day. That evening we were bombarded with crackers and various sounds like gunfire. It felt like we were in the middle of a war zone. Thank God we don’t suffer from PTSD or are animals. The stress off all the fireworks would have sent us clean over the edge. I would have been OK with a controlled Bastille Day thing. But some unsupervised kids were letting off a huge stash of crackers on the jetty right next to the boats.

Louhans

Louhans

The next day my other half noticed oil underneath the engine. I hate when he picks up something. I fear big fat bills. But am ever grateful he knows what to look for. En route he had his overalls on and was down in the bowels of the boat peering with his mirror at the engine. He seemed to think there was a leaking tappit cover gasket. Whatever that means. It would have to wait until we finished up in Roanne and put Shangri away until the following year.

We thought we had followed the Waterways Guide and tied up in the right spot, but an anxious looking French bloke came knocking on our boat muttering for us to move. He had three hire boats coming in and needed space for them to park. Since there was nowhere for us to go, he relented and said we could perch right at the end of the jetty. Not long after a Dutch boat made the same mistake and were also chased away. They tied up to our boat and double-banked. I remembered how the Dutch double, triple and even quadruple bank their boats. First time I had seen it in France.

River Seille

River Seille

I love trying to veganise French food. Supper was crêpes filled with leeks and green cabbage, sautéed in garlic and vegan butter. And that divine grated carrot salad (carottes râpées) you buy at the supermarkets. Can’t get enough of it.

Barging in Burgundy Part 8

Barging in Burgundy Part 8

Barging in Burgundy

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

Day Fourteen – 11th July 2017
Pont-de-Vaux to Cuisery
Our day started with us taking down part of our awning to get to the radar arch, which also had to come down. This is so we can squeeze under the 3.5 metre bridges en route. When my other half was looking to buy a boat, he factored in the depth and height with everything down so we could travel most of France. What we didn’t consider, is what a flipping nuisance it would be having a radar arch occupying most of the back deck while going in and out of locks. And when tying up stern-to (backwards). Most other radar arches seem to connect lower down. It’s merely a case of stepping over them. Ours joins at about waist height. So when it’s lowered, it’s too high to step over. And too low to climb under. The previous owners had two wooden planks they rested the arch on. My other half joined them together lifting the radar arch so you don’t have to duck quite as much. But we still trip over the thing or bang our heads on it.

Greenie

Greenie

I would have liked us to store the radar arch at one of the marina’s while traveling in France, but the horn, navigational lights and radio aerial are all attached to it. Having all that gear does improve the re-sale value of the boat. But it’s amazing how much gear people travel with on the waterways, that they never, ever use. Despite almost every boat traveling with a rubber dinghy and outboard engine, I’ve yet to see anyone using them. People schlep bicycles up and down the sides of their boats, through gates, along gravel and grass, when it would take less time, and be easier to simply walk. Most of the time they’re pushing their bikes.

As we got going, I untied the ropes and broke lots of spider webs that pop up over-night. How do they get into those tight knots? I don’t like upsetting the spiders as I open coiled ropes, but it must be done. The river Seille is beautiful. And our next stop Cuisery, is also a lovely spot. It was a fishing come camping come boating spot. A very nice bar restaurant and comprehensive facilities including a swimming pool and high-speed Wi-Fi. The village is a fairly steep walk up a hill with loads of quaint bookshops.

Pont de Vaux

Pont de Vaux

You can always tell a nice area by the amount of hire boats around. There were plenty of them in Cuisery. We shared a lock coming in with a young German couple. It was a manual lock and the young woman had no idea what to do. My husband was trying to show her and when he started opening the paddles of the locks she hastily opened hers without realising it has to be done slowly. Fortunately our boat was OK but their boat swung around and bashed on the walls of the lock.

En route to Cuisery

En route to Cuisery

Day Fifteen – 12th July 2017
Cuisery to Louhans
One of my favourite things about traveling the out-backs of France, is lying in bed listening to church bells. Near or far, one or many, they count out the time as night rolls on. I can also tell the time when I wake, by listening out for chimes. I would have loved more time in Cuisery. Some places are nice, some . . . not so nice, and some are like Cuisery, are really nice. We spent our last evening alongside other boaters, opposite mobile homes, beneath oak trees and next to an eatery come bar, listening to people, birds and bull frogs. The air was heavy with food smells, laughter or chatter and the damp scent of lots of trees. As the sun slowly dropped and it got steadily darker my better half and I felt truly grateful for our lovely boat and time on the waterways together.

The next morning bright and early, someone decided to start trimming the hedges between the boaters and the campers. We were woken by the sound of this machine slicing away the tops of the hedges. Which prompted us to get going sooner rather than later.

Amenities in Cuisery

Amenities in Cuisery

I can see why this is a popular boating area. It’s tranquil and lush. You can’t go very fast as the Seille is shallow in parts. Hire boats don’t seem to get that memo and race past creating a massive wash, thus causing the other boats to teeter and wobble. Louhans is known for it’s 157 shops with arcades. It’s well preserved. We saw wooden inserts in walls and ceilings as well as wooden pillars still holding out. Big stones in the walkways are polished smooth from years of use.

We would have liked to stay longer in Louhans but we were two days behind our planned schedule. One thing we didn’t factor into the scedule, was time for a bit of maintenance. My other half had a list of repairs that needed doing and it wasn’t happening. But a quick drink at a bar in the main town was definitely on the cards. And we found a LIDL and a Biocoop health shop about a kilometre out of town, so did a bit of shopping.

Read more – here.

Louhans

Louhans

Barging in Burgundy Part 7

Barging in Burgundy

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

Day Twelve – 9th July 2017
Mâcon
We had this day all to ourselves, so got up late. My husband had a few paint touch-ups he wanted to do and gave the boat a good sweep. I changed the linen, towels and kitchen cloths and did two more loads of washing. You never know when you will see a washing machine again on the waterways. There was intermittent light rain and it felt so good not to be hot. It’s impossible to predict what the weather will be like when you plan a holiday, but the best time for boating is out of the very hot seasons. We prefer to avoid the European school summer holidays. But it doesn’t always work like that.

We could have squeezed another day in Mâcon, but we had so many other places to see. Apparently Mâcon has survived all sorts of disasters and many heritage buildings have been destroyed. The plan was to pop into Pont-de-Vaux which is 3 kilometres along a tiny little canal off the Saône. Our new neighbours highly recommended it. After that we would make our way back to the Saône, then up the Seille with two stops, the last one being Louhans.

Storm brewing over Macon

Storm brewing over Macon

That afternoon a lovely thunderstorm hit the marina. Seems to happen in the hot summer months. Delicious thunderstorms brew, black clouds gather, thunder and lightning strike, winds swirl up and the heavens open dumping welcome rain. Can get a bit hectic on the boat. Have to make sure we’re tied up securely and all the hatches and windows are closed. Of course heat and rain bring mosquitoes. My other half and I had been indulging in French sweeta and chocolates. How can you not in France? Apparently mozzies have a sweet tooth. We were covered in red spots. I resolved to increase our garlic intake even more.

Day Thirteen – 10th July 2017
Mâcon to Pont-de-Vaux
We got up fairly early and did a last shop-up at the supermarket (supermarche) on the other side of the marina. Found some bargain wines. Love that. Topped up with water. With three people using water for the last 5 nights on the boat, and low water pressure at the tap, it took forever to fill the tanks. Our tanks were almost empty. I find the smell and taste of the water in the tanks after standing during the winter a bit unpleasant. All this clean water would make a difference. As I sat waiting for the tanks to fill I was watching the flashes of silver fish swimming in circles catching insects on the surface of the water. Traveling on the waterways is about being in the moment for me.

Trundling along Pont de Vaux

Trundling along Pont de Vaux

Mâcon Nord was a perfect marina. Who knows what we were going to find next? We back-tracked along the Saône and then found the canalized tributary river that lead up to Pont-de-Vaux. There’s a tiny little manual lock as you enter. And it’s shallow. At times we had nothing underneath us. When it came to tie up we got stuck. The boat would not move. My better half was jumping about, trying to wiggle the boat and giving it extra power. He got Shangri La to slightly deeper water and luckily we managed to get alongside.

Not much happens in little towns in France. The Tourism Info Office in Pont-de-Vaux is closed on Mondays. As was most of the town. The Capitainerie closed from 12.00pm to 14.00pm. They had a book exchange section so I off-loaded my mother’s books and some of mine. I love this free donate or exchange books thing we occasionally find on the waterways. What a good idea?

Pont de Vaux at dusk

Pont de Vaux at dusk

We did a quick walk-about of the town. It’s small. But they have two great supermarkets and a good few nice looking bars and brasseries. I suspect Pont-de-Vaux could be lovely on a weekend. We only just made it back to the boat before another thunderstorm broke. I set about making us a mushroom and courgette risotto for supper to go with a Beaujolais wine. We have a good life on the waterways. It’s our happy place.

Read more – here.

Barging in Burgundy Part 6

Barging in Burgundy Part 6

Barging in Burgundy

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

Day Eleven – 8th July 2017
Mâcon to Lyon
We left the boat behind and started the trek to Lyon Airport so my mother could fly back to London. The marina organised a taxi for us to Mâcon station for €22. About 3 kilometres down the road, my better half asked what I had done with the keys and tag to get back into the marina. I had left them on top of my mother’s suitcase. The taxi driver had not seen them when he loaded the luggage. When we got to Mâcon station, we left my mother, dashed down to the Tourist Info Office and asked them to please phone the marina so they could look out for the keys. Unfortunately, our planned evening in Lyon wouldn’t happen as we had to get back before the marina office staff went home.

Lyon

Lyon

As the train gets close to Lyon the terrain becomes lovely and verdant. We passed over the Saône and the Rhône. I would have liked time to show my mother around Lyon, which is without doubt my favourite place in all our waterway travels so far. It’s clean and bright. Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France. There are a good few veggie friendly paces to visit. Such a pity their marina is so small and situated in a heavily built up residential and shopping area. To make up for not boating there, we planned to Airbnb a few days in Lyon at the end of our waterways holiday.

From Lyon Part Dieu Station, we took the Rhône-Express tram to the airport. It’s a fair distance from the city. The airport is busy undergoing a major renovation. Took us a while to figure out where to go. And then we had too much time on our hands before my mother’s flight. We always over-budget travel time just in case. And more than once we’ve needed it. What’s a person to do? Have a French meal of course.

Lyon

Lyon

Then we checked my mother in with assisted passage. I would have thought British Airways would have someone who could speak English at their check-in point. But no. We managed to get my mother’s luggage checked through and were told to wait near the check-in point. She would be collected 20 minutes prior to departure. I was getting anxious when it got past the 20 minutes and raced around to find the boarding gate. Of course, no one spoke English there either. I managed to figure out my mother was waiting in the wrong place. We frantically dragged her as fast as we could, what seemed like kilometres, to the boarding gate. No-one was overly interested in us, so we stood in full view of the staff. The flight had minutes to go before someone eventually came to speak to her. In French. First, they had to find a wheel chair which took more time. Finally, they wheeled her out of sight. We later heard from her that they tried to load her onto a flight bound for Algiers. She could see the BA plane getting ready to go on the tarmac and was trying to tell them they were putting her on the wrong flight. Thank heavens someone looked at her boarding pass and put her on the right plane. Unfortunately, her luggage ended up in Algiers.

Lyon

Lyon

We made it back to the marina 10 minutes before it closed. They had found our keys in the car park. After a drama filled day we had a cold shower, put on our sarongs, filled our glasses with a Bordeaux my mother had bought for us and sat on the back deck to cool off. There was a slight breeze which was most welcome. Sometimes people keep to themselves and barely greet you. Other times people just start chatting. We had a New Zealand couple next to us, A French couple and a Swiss couple opposite. It’s handy to find out from others what they think of the routes, water levels and marinas. Share tips and ideas. The swiss guy had found a device that stops people being able to steal fuel. Something we didn’t know happened to unoccupied boats.

Read more – here.

Barging in Burgundy Part 5

Barging in Burgundy Part 5

Barging in Burgundy

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

Day Nine – 6th July 2017
Macon Ville
If it was hot the previous day it was even hotter on this day. The predicted temperatures were around 35’C. Forecasts were climbing. Although we were happy in Mâcon Nord, my mother was with us, and no way could she walk 4 kilometres to the centre of town. The bus stop was also going to be too much of a walk for her. We decided to take the boat down to Macon Ville and check out options.

The jetty in Mâcon can only accommodate 4 – 6 boats. Certainly wise to get there as soon as possible. There are a few eateries right next to the quay. And a public toilet which I would not recommend. No services available. Maximum stay 3 days. And it was free. They were gearing up for some event so we decided to explore Macon and return our boat back to the lovely marina to escape the noise.

Heading for Macon

Heading for Macon

The super friendly ladies at the Tourist Info Office gave us good advice for our travel plans. We asked if Mâcon had any vegan friendly eateries. No. We did a short walk around Mâcon and then the heat got too much, so we tried to find somewhere to eat. None of the kebab places would do a falafel for us. One nice looking place was full. The other nice looking place had only one person working there, a queue out the door, and dirty tables. No way could she take on more people. We headed back to the quay and settled at one of the eateries there. The prices were good. Too good as it turned out. Our food was disappointing.

We resolved to make a lovely meal on the boat to make up. I made spinach flatbreads, home-made hummus, with lots of fresh vegetables and crudités, plus some vegan cold faux meat slices. For the rest of the evening we sat around waiting for the sun to set and the ambient temperature to finally drop. Usually around 9.30pm. The coolest spot was on the foredeck so we draped ourselves across the deck and chatted, planning what we would do when we won the lotto.

Food on the back deck

Food on the back deck

Day Ten – 7th July 2017
Mâcon
This was mother’s last day with us on the boat. She spent 10 days with us in London and 9 days with us on the boat. Her flight out to London was 15.30pm the next day via Lyon. My favourite city in France. We’d resolved to take a taxi to Mâcon station. A train to Lyon Central Station. And the Rhone Express out to Lyon St Exupery Airport. Her plan was to take a few days off in the UK before her long-haul flight to the USA and Canada.

We had a heap of clothes washing and linen to do, so a day out of exploring was overdue. Each day was hotter than the day before and the last thing we wanted was to be hanging around in the blazing sun. A washing and cleaning day it would be. Luckily the marina at Mâcon Nord had brand new washing machine and dryer. With English instructions. And tokens. A wash or dry at €3 which was hardly expensive.

Macon Marina

Macon Marina

Next to the marina is a bar come cafe which overlooks the river flowing past. My mother treated us to some drinks. My mother had a cafe, my husband had a beer from Louhans and I had a red wine from Corsica. All very good and one of the best wines I have ever tasted. So good my other half and I had a second round. The bill came to €28. It was so hot we weren’t hungry. I made us a salad and we ate fruit.

Read more – here.

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