Barging from Loire to Burgundy

Monday 4th June 2018
London to Roanne
The journey to our boat is always long. We’re not from Europe. And we don’t have a car we can use. Hence, we rely on public transport. Which is fine if all goes well. Unfortunately, the French rail services were on a protracted strike. Three working days followed by two strike days. My husband had to spend two nights in Lyon to be able to catch a train back to our boat in Roanne. Not a huge hardship as both he and I LOVE Lyon. We think it’s nicer than Paris. Lucky for me I arrived a week later on a non-striking day. I left London at 09.00am and took a series of trains and flights before I arrived in Roanne at 19.45pm. Absolutely exhausted.

Roanne marina
Roanne marina

It never ceases to amaze me how culture transcends borders. If one looks at the demographic profile of people on a bus in the UK. And the demographic profile of people on a bus in France. There are huge similarities. Yet behaviourally, they are worlds apart. The French culture inhabits all who live in France. People from other cultures in France may eat different food and dress differently. What makes people in France different from those in the UK is subtle. It’s how loud they are in public. It’s mannerisms. It’s choices in clothing. Even body shape comes into it.

My better half had made a big fat ratatouille and salad. And had the wine ready. He’s a keeper. It was damp on the back deck, but not too cold. So good to be back on our beloved boat – Shangri La. I crashed soon after that and slept well. I always sleep well on the boat. It is a happy place for both of us.

Tuesday 5th June 2018
I never unpacked my suitcase the night before so that had to be done. I usually take photos of what gets left behind on the boat but despite that, I ALWAYS overpack. My brain seems to remember using every hat I had and then I pack extra hats or not having enough comfy shoes and pack far too many of those. I had three loose dresses on the boat and had brought over four more. Let alone shorts, skirts and pants. My hat count was eight. Not even going to say how many shoes. Comfy shoes are heavy. I was already dreading taking this stuff back home. Especially since we were hoping to sell Shangri La the upcoming summer. Something we were both very sad to do.

The plan was to leave Roanne and head toward Digoin, and on to Decize. Apparently very nice and we’d never been there. Then back to Digoin and branch off toward Chalon-sur-Saone, along the River Saone to St-Jean-de-Losne where we would leave the boat for 6 weeks. If we’ve learned anything about the waterways of France, it’s this. July and August months – are full on. Full on summer and hot as hell. Lots and lots of holiday makers. Many French places close to escape the hoards. I can’t begin to name places we had hoped to visit that were not open during that time.

Off to top up on provisions
Off to top up on provisions

So late July and early August, we would take a 6-week break and explore a bit of the south of France. Go back to the UK for a month to work on an organic farm in Cornwall. And do a hands-on cooking course at an academy in Bath. Hopefully by then things would have eased up and then we would go back to boating. The second stint we would go from St-Jean-de-Losne along the Saone toward Gray and see how far we wanted to go for one last month. Then back to St-Jean-de-Losne and that would be our boating for the year.

The journey continues  . . on this link.

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