The journey begins . . . here.
Friday 6th July 2018
This turned out to be a bit of a frenzied day. I’d been wanting to do a deep clean of the boat, and since the potential Swiss buyers were coming for a viewing while we were away, I knew they might open cupboards and have a thorough look around. Shangri La needed to be spotless. My other half decided to go up and visit the market. Chalon-sur-Saone have an excellent market but I had seen it before. With him out the way I could move things and wipe down everywhere. Even polished the ceramic hob and stainless steel taps.
We should have gone up the road to watch France play Uruguay in the Soccer World Cup 2018 quarter finals but by late afternoon all I wanted was to shower and relax. I went up to the facilities at the marina washed my hair and gave myself a good scrub down. Was feeling glowing after that. Then we heard cars hooting and people whooping with delight. Quite obviously France had won the game. For a nation that is remarkably subdued, the French were relishing having made it through to the semi finals.
We sat in our favourite place – the back deck – and had a glass of wine. The motley crew of Frenchies on the minuscule boat next to us were already at the rose and jabbering away. Maybe disecting and ruminating the recent game? How could we want to give up this life and sell our boat? We’d been at Chalon-sur-Saone a good few days and seen countless boats had come and gone.
Saturday 7th July 2018 – Monday 9th July 2018
My brother, his partner and children were taking a summer holiday in Europe. First a week in Amsterdam, then two weeks in Paris. Since he lives in Seattle and I live in Cape Town, it was convenient that we were both on the same continent, and even better, in the same country. I really wanted to see them. My husband and I packed up a backpack each and walked to the gare (station) where our Flixbus was leaving. Paris is a 4 hour trip away. So much for the trains being on strike. There were trains running at the station. Perhaps less services than normal, who knows?
The Flixbus left bang on time. Lovely bus. Not 15 minutes later, it stopped at a highway stop where there were a few Flixbuses. We thought maybe a changeover of some sort but no, the driver took his 50 minute lunch break. To be fair he had driven up from Lyon. So we sat around doing nothing. It’s France. That’s how it is.
There’s always that one person when you take public transport that has to behave like a git. A young girl who spoke a foreign language shoved right in front of the queue and jumped on first. An old chap who had been patiently waiting for quarter of an hour at the right spot tried to fend her off but she wasn’t having it. On the bus, she promptly got on the phone to her mother whom she had just said goodbye to at the station. Her mobile was on speaker phone – full volume of course. And she spoke – loudly of course – the full 4 hours of the bus trip. She went to the loo with her phone in her hand next to her head speaking the whole time. Not once, not twice, but THREE times. She could be heard speaking inside the loo. And didn’t flush once.
We arrived in Paris Bercy and it was utter madness. Humans everywhere. A person forgets how busy cities are after so long in the country. My brother had a gorgeous place in Le Marais and it was Gay Pride weekend. The onslaught of people intensified as we got closer to his accommodation. We were shuffling along streets edging through crowds. The other big shock was how much English is spoken in Paris. Every second person speaks English on the streets and all the shops greet you in English first. I don’t think that Paris is a true reflection of France. It’s very cosmopolitan. It’s most very definintely a fashion capital. People were dressed in the latest fashions. It’s fabulous to see all these beautiful people and beautifully dressed people. Makes a person want to try harder and have a bit more fun.
We had a wonderful time with my family. Food options for vegans like us in Paris abound. It was as hot as it had been in Bourgogne (Burgundy). We had a last late breakfast at a cafe together and then my husband and I ambled back to Paris Bercy station. A train ticket cost us €35 each back to Chalon-sur-Saone. Back at our marina the exact same Frenchies, were in the exact same spot, quaffing yet more rose and blabbering to each other animatedly. It felt like we were back in our neighbourhood
The journey continues . . . . . . here.