Barging in Burgundy
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Day Twelve – 9th July 2017
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.
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 sweets 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.
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.
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.
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