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Friday, October 4, 2019

Up the hill and past the Chateau


Autumn cruising is the way to go.  Sure, we have had some rain (a welcome change), breezy and cloudy days, but on our cozy boat that only enhances the experience. And. since Dijon, no hot weather. The rain has been sporadic and the sun makes an appearance a few times a day. I am very comfortable with these locks having gone through 333 of them last year so even the in rain it is not bad.  I can motor in slowly, slow the boat down and drop the stern line over a bollard from under the Bimini and tie it off.  The brings the bow in and I can dash out in the rain and drop the bow line on.   It usually only takes one adjustment to the front line as we go up so I don’t get very wet while the ladies watch in comfort from the cozy salon.

On Monday we treated ourselves to lunch at the Abbaye la Bussiere.  It was cool so we were not outside but in one of the lovely arched ceiling rooms.

Tuesday was cool and grey with a little wind and light rain as we set off.  Very pretty cruising to Pont d”Ouche where the  canal makes a hard right turn over the Ouche river and up a side valley towards the summit. A nice little, well run, port and restaurant.  With that and a washing machine we stayed two nights days and got some shopping done thanks to a ride from David on Christiana.

Clean and stocked up we set off for Vanderness after lunch to let the hotel boats get a head start. It seems every other pleasure boat on the canal had the same idea, all three of us.  So we had three in a lock: Us, a cruiser our size and a tiny little fiberglass boat with a nice German couple, Andrea and Thomas.  The eclusiers were careful, letting the water in so all was fine, if a little slow. Part of the time we were travelling next to the A6, the Autoroute from Paris to the south so there was some background noise but the road was behind trees or above us and the canal was winding, green and lovely.  Then as we left the autoroute and climbed the fairytale Chateauneuf-en-Axious appeared on its hilltop to our right. We have visited several times so we passed this time.

Vanderness is where the hotel boats stop and turn around but there was just enough room for us. It does not have a nice square or special layout but has some charming buildings that are being made even more so.  There are two restaurants:  the “cheap and cheerful” Chez Lucotte and the fine traditional l’Auxois.  We sampled and enjoyed both. The view of the Chateau from the port appears on post cards and calendars and most publications about the French canals. For good reason.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Off up the Bourgogne.

La Bussiere-sur-Ouche

Two posts today so see the other before this.

We are sitting in this lovely spot sitting out a rainy Sunday.  Well that was the plan based on the forecast but right now it is beautiful out with only a little light cloud. The forecast that said yesterday rain would start at 11am now says it’s possible at 6:15. If the predicted r20mm (0.8”) of rain fades away that will be par for the course of this summer. The day we left Dijon the regional water authorities were meeting in response to the shortage agreed on the closure of most of what is left of the canal system: including this remaining section of the Canal de Bourgogne by October 13th.  This will speed up our meandering  but we should still get up to Vanderness and back without too much rushing.

On Wednesday I called VNF to tell them we wanted to leave on Thursday at  9:30 - No problem they said..  Yes problem when we see a very slow Hotel Barge go off before us at 9:00.  We dawdled a bit and arrived at the lock at 9:45.  Half an hour later I called the VNF who sounded very apologetic (it was in French so I may have misinterpreted), seems like they forgot about us.   After another 45 mins the lock gates open and we motor in only to see the eclusier disappearing on his bike.  Another call to the VNF, a call back from someone who spoke English and finally the frazzled young eclusier appeared at 10:45 also apologizing.  Not his fault they had scheduled him to get the hotel boat and us through the first 6 locks.  .   He was a very nice young man who spoke decent English and was running everywhere -I told him he could slow down.  At one point in our intermittent travelling conversation I asked him where he grew up.  He pointed to the isolated and picturesque lock keeper’s cottage and said “there”.  His father still works for the VNF and he was doing a summer job since finishing his Masters in Biology and looking for a real job. He worked into the lunch hour to get us in to the little port at Plombiers. We left there late for the single mooring right by the supermarket at Velars.  Clear day with a cool wind.  Some weed but not too bad.

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Thursday took us the pretty village Fleurey for lunch where we noted how prosperous this area is looking with lots of construction going on.  It may be progress but the little village shops are casualties as they get replaced by supermarkets and the French version of strip malls on the edge of town where the cars can park.  After lunch and a walk we moved on to Ecluse 34 where the Baron d’Ecluse and his wife have a little restaurant. Sadly they are only opening weekends now, but we had supplies.

Believing the forecast for a hot Saturday and rainy Sunday we decided to get to La Bussiere where there is water and Electricity to sit out the weekend.  First we went one lock to the tiny Village of Gissey that we have enjoyed in the past. A walk around reinforced that view and as Terry admired a particularly nice house the owner came out and they started chatting. Christiane was a lovely lady who invited us in and show us her exquisite but cozy house. Terry was in heaven.  We hope to see Christiane as we return.
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After lunch in the local restaurant we cruised the next seven locks to La Bussiere in lovely weather and beautiful countryside.  This September is the perfect time. In La Bussiere we encountered Tom and Lisa and their giant barge (house) Rabelo whom Rosie and I hung out with a little last year.
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Yesterday we walked over to the little village that was attached to the Cistercian Abbey with its lovely old Church, prefect little square (that has been upgraded but not yet landscaped and old cemetery with the perfectly maintained war graves of an Australian, 2 Kiwis and 3 brits whose bomber was shot down on August 14th 1943.
Then we walked into the perfectly groomed gardens on the Relais Chateau Abbey de La Bussiere. The abbey is now a premier hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant that is reminiscent of a smaller but luxurious Abbey de Fontenay. Terry explored while I chatted with the English owner, Clive, who I met last year.  We will treat ourselves to Lunch on Monday.

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It has been very quiet here for a Sunday when the French usually get out and walk or bike.  They must have looked at the forecast and made the same plans we did. We had a short walk this morning,Terry has worked on her needlepoint and I on this blog.
It is now getting a little darker and cooler so it feels as if it really will rain but probably not until tonight when we plan to be sleeping.

A Week in Dijon

Dijon, Port

This post is delayed because the blogging software is acting up.  Apologies.

A week, well maybe a bit more.  Caroline and Annie left, the weather was superb, the port was clean and free, Dijon was looking better than we had ever seen it, so why not stay a while.

Not much to report. We did some walks and some shopping (some more than others), some relaxed lunches, caught up on the museums and had a very nice time. Here are some pictures

This tour group is admiring the church.  We are in the church. Here is the quirky Dijon church.