Barging in Burgundy
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Day Twenty-Two – 19th July 2017
Chalon-sur-Saône to Chagny
This was a busy day to start off with. We had twenty-one kilometres and 12 locks to cover. The Canal du Centre is not the deepest canal, so you can’t go very fast – which we expected. There were some particularly deep locks, one was 10.7 metres. Our climb for the day was 49.98 metres. And we were locking up. It made sense for me to follow the boat on the tow path so I could help with ropes and activate the locks. What we didn’t expect – was sitting behind a big hotel boat that was either stuck to the bottom of the canal or in no great rush to get anywhere. We couldn’t pass the boat. And we couldn’t fit in a lock with them.
It was hell hot again. I walked most of the day next to the boat in the sun. When we finally arrived in Chagny there was no mooring space left in any of the places marked in Waterways guide to tie up. One nice thing about Chalon is they out out a “We’re Full” sign so you know there’s no space left. We had to tie up out of the town with pegs on the sides of the banks of the canal. Neither of us had the urge to walk back and explore Chagny by that time. All we wanted was a cold shower and somewhere cool to rest. I treated us to vegan ice cream that we bought at Carrefour the day before. Absolutely divine. Just as we were settling down a hotel boat came past us. And warned us that the big one we were stuck behind, was coming past first thing the next day. If we knew what was good for us, we should move.
All good and well but where to? My husband went walking about trying to find a better spot to tie up. He finally found a place further along the canal where it widens a bit and we removed our pegs and ropes to tie up all over again. Neither of us was particularly hungry so I made a soup. But we both felt we more than deserved a chilled beer and a glass of wine or two.
The thing about wild stops is they are so nice. We wondered why we hadn’t done more of them. They’re free. They’re away from people. And it’s so peaceful in a secluded spot. We sat naked on the back of our boat sipping wine when a squall started brewing. Thunderbolts and lightening – the full works. The rest of the evening was spent enjoying the beautiful storm before tucking up in bed.
Day Twenty-Three – 20th July 2017
As expected, the hotel boat was heading for us 08.00am the morning and we were ready to fend and hold on to our ropes. Canal du Centre is so shallow and Danielle is so big and so powerful, that she displaces a vast amount of water with great force. We could feel her coming a long way off. An unsuspecting hire boat heading in the opposite direction was spinning violently from the force of the water. They lost total control of their boat and nearly crashed into us. Their boat lurched back to front and side to side. No amount of trying to use the engine would work. Poor boat was flung against the side of the canal repeatedly. By the time Danielle had passed, all our mooring pegs were uprooted. I wondered how many other boats are casualties in boats like Danielle’s pathway, and if there had ever been serious damage.
We walked down to Chagny and it’s a gorgeous town. I imagine it’s sort of place where people retire and artists or creatives escape city life. Chagny has lots of nice looking eateries and brasseries including a 3 Michelin Star restaurant. We had a peek at their menu. The cheapest item was a ‘tasting menu’ consisting a ham and foie gras starter, a poultry main course and a rhubarb cream dessert for €82. Clearly not for us. The Waterways Map Book said there was a Market Day on Thursdays but it turned out to be more like three traders who set up and sell their wares.
My better half had been stung by what he thought was a bee. He developed an itchy, hot, raised red spot on his arm, which wasn’t getting better. I vaguely remembered nettles were good for stinging conditions so picked nettles from the tow path next to the boat and brewed them to make a tisane for him to apply. We decided to spend another night having a wild stop between the canal and a cycle path. So peaceful. It’s not possible to be stressed in such surroundings.
Much later in the day we did a two-for-one – exercise and explore – and walked 3.5 kilometres along the tow path, down through the valley, to Santenay via Remigny. Hoped to have a glass of wine there since it’s part of a wine route. Both are also picture postcard pretty towns. We saw a few full-on restaurants but no pubs or street cafes. So walked the 3.5 kilometres back through the vineyards and along the canal to our boat and had wine on our boat instead. It was nice to have a change from the canal. Between exploring Chagny and the other two towns, we clocked 20 000 steps.