To read from the beginning use this link – Barging in Burgundy
Day Thirty-Nine – 5th August 2017
Middle of nowhere to Briennon
We could have happily stayed another night in our wild spot. But we were keen to get to Briennon as it had a great write up in the French Waterways Guidebook. Much as we wanted protection from the sun, the bridges are so low, that all the gear on our boat had to be taken down to scrape through. It’s a daily ritual. First the rear awning, then the radar arch and then the front awning. Leaving us with no protection from the elements. I had gotten sunburnt the previous day even though it was cloudy. This day I had the usual works going. Three layers of sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat and light clothing to cover as much of my body as I could.
We passed lots of lovely looking potential wild stops and eyed them longingly. But we resisted as the plan was Briennon. We arrived there to find – a festival about to start. It wasn’t noisy earlier on, but by 18.00pm all the world had arrived. A mix of fun fair rides, an announcer, music and drummers were all competing to be heard. People were getting ready for a running race around the canal. What a contast from the night before! If we were going to be inundated with noise, we may as well join in. Off we went to have a drink at the bar, catch up on wifi and see what locals get up to.
They started with a children’s race. So cute. Followed by a race for adults. We couldn’t work out if there were various distances all happening at once or quite what was going on. What I did notice at the end of the race, the French give out fresh fruit, chocolate and mineral water. Classy. Back in South Africa we get Cola!
My better half went to pay for our stay, the first night at Briennon is free. Sort of. You pay for water and electricity. Once the action started to subside, we went back to our boat for a shower and supper. More of that heavenly grated French carrot salad and a home-made Lyonnaise Lentil Salad with smoked Tofu Cutlets.
Day Forty – 6th August 2017
Briennon to middle of nowhere
I awoke to the sounds of donkeys braying, cows mooing and roosters getting chickens up and about. Along the banks of the canal were about 50 fishermen. It looked like a competition on the go. With the end of our journey almost upon us we decided to head off after lunch for a change. My husband phoned the VNF (Voie Navagale France) offices to arrange a lockkeeper. We also had superb wi-fi signal on the boat. Something that rarely happens on the waterways. My phone apps were all out of date so was able to get them going again.
Meanwhile bumper cars and accompanying music were going full throttle. We went exploring and discovered a flea market that went on forever. Who knew there were so many people in Briennon? We bought a second-hand garden umbrella for €5. Maybe it would provide some shade on the back deck? At the Capitainerie they sell 750ml local craft beers for €5 each. That was a no brainer.
After a noisy previous day we were craving more peace and quiet. It was decided to get close to Roanne, but find somewhere nice and tranquil just before the town. Once we found a space to tie up, we had a bit of a job getting alongside the canal bank. It was simply too shallow. We managed to get the nose of the boat in and tied up a bit skew. All our tarpaulin sheets came out to cover the boat. One reason is to provide shade. The other is to protect her from the zillions of leaves that settle on the deck and leave brown marks.
We walked along the tow path to Roanne to see what this end point had to offer. The marina is absolutely enourmous. We walked right around it trying to find the Capitainerie. It’s closed on weekends. That took care of that. Next thing we wanted to do, was find a supermarket. No-one we asked could think of a place that was open. We walked into the main town and eventually found a mini supermarket. It was use up-time for us and we were buying only what we needed.
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