Barging in Burgundy
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Day Thirty-One – 28th July 2017
Montceau-les-Mines to Génelard
Earlier in our trip one of the people at a Capitainerie had told us that water levels were only 5 centimetres lower than normal. From we could see there was more than enough water on the canal. At some locks there was a bit of water flowing over. Not enough to partially fill the locks – which can happen – and then they don’t open. But enough that there was no danger of the canal being closed. Lots of hot days cause evaporation and then a canal has to be closed. But . . . . . . what 5 centimetres does affect . . . . . . . is the gap under bridges. Low water levels allow a bit extra space to fit under the bridges. We didn’t have that luxury.
We had a nice early start with a great eclusier (lock keeper). She had all the locks set up for us so no waiting about. Weather was great. My friend was helping with the ropes. Perfect boating day. We decided to stop in Génelard. It’s a small town. The amenities aren’t great but still usable. An English toilet and two French toilets. There was free water and electricity. Boats tie up on the side of the canal and mobile homes park right next to them. It was quite a festive atmosphere. People were sitting on the grass eating al fresco or reading books. One woman was knitting.
A person never knows what to expect of a village or town. It’s all new at each town. Génelard is lovely. Up the road is a quirky hotel with wifi. The interior is a riot of colour and fun and unusual decor. I couldn’t pull off something like that but it’s wonderful. The woman who either owns or runs it was fabulous too. She told us about an art exhibition. Also suggested we visit Chateaux Digoin, the local castle 4 kilometres out of Génelard next to the canal
That evening we decided to fire up our little BBQ, or braai as we call it in South Africa. I wrapped potatoes in foil. Mixed some greens with olive oil, lemon and garlic and wrapped that in foil. I also stuffed some courgettes with a tomato, breadcrumbs, garlic and herbs and wrapped those too. Lastly, I marinated tofu which I cut into cubes and put them on a skewer to cook on top of the fire. A perfect evening.
Day Thirty-Two – 29th July 2017
Génelard to Paray le Monial
This was another nice early start. Our lady lock keeper had us locking down in tandem with New Zealand boat. Their boat went quite a bit faster than ours. They kindly helped us with our ropes and activated the locking process. The skipper had a great sense of humour. I liked him even though he stripped down to a teenie, weenie, extra tight bikini bottom leaving not a lot to the imagination. We saw Chateaux Digoin after the second lock but there was a field full of bulls and a few fences between us and the castle. Neither of us was willing to take that on. But the other thing that deterred us was we were going nicely through the locks. If we dropped out, things might not work as well.
Paray le Monial is apparently a mecca for Christian pilgrims. As we came in we saw big marquees and what appeared to be a festival on the go. We didn’t fancy being so close to all the action, so tied up a bit further along the canal. The New Zealanders also stopped at Paray le Monial for lunch but were in a hurry to get to Paris. Once they left we moved the boat to where they were, under the trees to get some shade as it was 31’C.
After lunch we went walk-about, found tourism office and availed ourselves of wifi. The main attraction is a beautiful big cathedral which has some significance to Christians. The main town looked like a vibey place and we resolved to go back later for a drink. It was my friend’s last night with us so we bought a bottle of real Champagne to share.
Early evening we showered and dressed up. Cracked our bottle of sparkly and then went into the town. We’d missed a social occasion the night before called ‘Le Blanc Nuit’. Clearly there were still lots of people about. As it got darker the buildings were lit up with different coloured lights and projectors shone stars down on the streets. A bit Hollywood. In one shop they had black and white photos of French and Hollywood celebrities. We had a wonderful