Barging in Burgundy
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Day Fourteen – 11th July 2017
Pont-de-Vaux to Cuisery
Our day started with us taking down part of our awning to get to the radar arch, which also had to come down. This is so we can squeeze under the 3.5 metre bridges en route. When my other half was looking to buy a boat, he factored in the depth and height with everything down so we could travel most of France. What we didn’t consider, is what a flipping nuisance it would be having a radar arch occupying most of the back deck while going in and out of locks. And when tying up stern-to (backwards). Most other radar arches seem to connect lower down. It’s merely a case of stepping over them. Ours joins at about waist height. So when it’s lowered, it’s too high to step over. And too low to climb under. The previous owners had two wooden planks they rested the arch on. My other half joined them together lifting the radar arch so you don’t have to duck quite as much. But we still trip over the thing or bang our heads on it.
I would have liked us to store the radar arch at one of the marina’s while traveling in France, but the horn, navigational lights and radio aerial are all attached to it. Having all that gear does improve the re-sale value of the boat. But it’s amazing how much gear people travel with on the waterways, that they never, ever use. Despite almost every boat traveling with a rubber dinghy and outboard engine, I’ve yet to see anyone using them. People schlep bicycles up and down the sides of their boats, through gates, along gravel and grass, when it would take less time, and be easier to simply walk. Most of the time they’re pushing their bikes.
As we got going, I untied the ropes and broke lots of spider webs that pop up over-night. How do they get into those tight knots? I don’t like upsetting the spiders as I open coiled ropes, but it must be done. The river Seille is beautiful. And our next stop Cuisery, is also a lovely spot. It was a fishing come camping come boating spot. A very nice bar restaurant and comprehensive facilities including a swimming pool and high-speed Wi-Fi. The village is a fairly steep walk up a hill with loads of quaint bookshops.
You can always tell a nice area by the amount of hire boats around. There were plenty of them in Cuisery. We shared a lock coming in with a young German couple. It was a manual lock and the young woman had no idea what to do. My husband was trying to show her and when he started opening the paddles of the locks she hastily opened hers without realising it has to be done slowly. Fortunately our boat was OK but their boat swung around and bashed on the walls of the lock.
Day Fifteen – 12th July 2017
Cuisery to Louhans
One of my favourite things about traveling the out-backs of France, is lying in bed listening to church bells. Near or far, one or many, they count out the time as night rolls on. I can also tell the time when I wake, by listening out for chimes. I would have loved more time in Cuisery. Some places are nice, some . . . not so nice, and some are like Cuisery, are really nice. We spent our last evening alongside other boaters, opposite mobile homes, beneath oak trees and next to an eatery come bar, listening to people, birds and bull frogs. The air was heavy with food smells, laughter or chatter and the damp scent of lots of trees. As the sun slowly dropped and it got steadily darker my better half and I felt truly grateful for our lovely boat and time on the waterways together.
The next morning bright and early, someone decided to start trimming the hedges between the boaters and the campers. We were woken by the sound of this machine slicing away the tops of the hedges. Which prompted us to get going sooner rather than later.
I can see why this is a popular boating area. It’s tranquil and lush. You can’t go very fast as the Seille is shallow in parts. Hire boats don’t seem to get that memo and race past creating a massive wash, thus causing the other boats to teeter and wobble. Louhans is known for it’s 157 shops with arcades. It’s well preserved. We saw wooden inserts in walls and ceilings as well as wooden pillars still holding out. Big stones in the walkways are polished smooth from years of use.
We would have liked to stay longer in Louhans but we were two days behind our planned schedule. One thing we didn’t factor into the scedule, was time for a bit of maintenance. My other half had a list of repairs that needed doing and it wasn’t happening. But a quick drink at a bar in the main town was definitely on the cards. And we found a LIDL and a Biocoop health shop about a kilometre out of town, so did a bit of shopping.
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