Aujourd'hui nous sommes le jeudi 26 avril 2018. C’est la fête de Sainte Alida.


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Crocodiles, gendarmes and rain

From Cushla and John

More rain overnight and the result was we just escaped from the lovely La Seille river (pictured at left how it normally is and at the bottom how it was) - they were closing the locks behind us as we came down.  The water levels were just too high and at one stage was flowing over the top of the lock instead of through the gate control ports.

We breathed a sigh of relief to get back out onto the Saone and join the speed of the bulging river.  The alternative was to get holed up at a charming but very small village, maybe Cuisery  or La Truchere.   Not a bad option but we had plans to get Graham and Heather Cave to Lyon by the 19th. 

So next stop would be Macon.  We called the floating logs ‘crocodiles' that were competing with us in the race down river.  However, the river is by now wide enough to easily dodge them - mostly!

More rain at Macon so we pushed on after only one night stay in this lovely and safe Port, but we managed to fit in a good walk, a quick visit of the city and dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, 'Ma Table en Ville’  with its exquisite nouvelle cuisine and wine marked up 500 % on supermarket prices - as we subsequently found !

Next on the plan was a night in Trevoux but there would be no excursions along the way as all the parking places were completely submerged!     That’s when the joys of ‘cruising' really show themselves - we had all the food and drink on board anyway, so it didn’t really matter.  

At Trevoux we had to raft up as there were no spaces left on the small jetty, which meant we were hanging out into the path of the swift river flow …. until another larger, Dutch made, steel boat crewed by an Irish couple came and rafted up ahead of us so we had a small degree of protection by them;-).

Shortly afterwards, three Gendarmes complete with flac jackets, the universal ’cop’ demeanour, and Glock pistols, boarded our boat  for an inspection!   We had been warned that this may happen and therefore John has been pedantic about having everything in order. To obtain official NZ registration cost us $750. A kiwi that we know over here boasts about having just painted a number on the side of his boat to pass as registration, but has no paper work to prove it - which is just what the gendarmes are looking for! They checked the registration certificate, the ‘vignette’ or canal licence, John’s CEVNI certificate, and the lifejackets. They asked if we had a VHF radio (not compulsory) on board - John’s answer “Yes", - and a licence to operate it? - “Yes for NZ, No for France".

Whew we passed!  Thank you John :-)  They were very businesslike but pleasant enough, and then left.   The Irish boat ahead of us missed out on the inspection!

But next day the Irish boat also very nearly missed the entrance to the next lock.  He only just avoided going over the ‘Barrage’ (Spillway) beside the lock by putting on full power and turning once he realised his mistake.  We watched him just manage to get his nose around the corner into the lock but crashed loudly into the side of the lock entrance in doing so - the lesser of two evils !!   Better that than white water rafting upside down.  He sheepishly followed us all the way into Lyon and confessed there that he had been distracted talking on the phone to his son!        Definitely not the same lazy Saone as last year! 

We had one other bit of fun along the way.  

Graham had chosen a quieter moment to go downstairs to the "facilities", then was thrown into panic mode by a commotion from us up on deck.  We had spotted a floating fender which we tried to retrieve from the water with our boathook.  We immediately made a sweeping u turn to try to pick it up.  Poor Graham could hear yelps and squeals of excitement up top and felt the boat’s abrupt change in direction!   He came rushing back up to find out what was happening.

As it turned out the fender was flat (somebody else’s problem) so we let it go…. 

Having lots of fun despite the rain!

L’avis de Gault & Millau sur le restaurant Ma Table en Ville

Gilles Bérard nous reçoit en ville dans son resto simple, moderne où les coussins de couleur donnent une note colorée et décontractée. Ce Bourguignon pure sauce, ex de Bocuse, Meneau et Loiseau a bien des tours à montrer: galette de crabe, coulis basilic; pavé de veau tarte de légumes; pêche farcie verveine. La cave tient bien la route, et si ce n'est pas votre cas, vous pourrez repartir avec votre bouteille sous le bras.

NB: Gault et Millau [go e mijo] is an influential French restaurant guide. It was founded by two restaurant critics, Henri Gault and Christian Millau in 1965.

Gault Millau rates on a scale of 1 to 20, with 20 highest. Restaurants below 10 points are almost never listed. The points are awarded based on the quality of the food, with comments about service, price or the atmosphere of the restaurant given separately. Based on this rating, high-ranking restaurants may display one to five toques. Gault Millau does not accept payment for listing restaurants.

If they had been able to stop in Cuisery, they would have been in Le Village du Livre ...

Au coeur du village, au milieu des ruelles médiévales, se sont installés une quinzaine de libraires ou artisans des métiers du livre. Ouverts tous les jours de juin à septembre, et 4 jours par semaine le reste de l'année, tous ces bouquinistes vous proposent des milliers d'ouvrages sur tous les thèmes, classiques ou rares, BD, gravures, photos, enluminures, lithographies. Vous pourrez visiter l'atelier d'un imprimeur sur presse Gutenberg.

Le premier dimanche de chaque mois, une grande braderie aux livres est proposée aux visiteurs ou acheteurs.

Bonjour de la Vallee de la Loire

Greetings from Ouida

Luberon : La ruée vers l'ocre

The ochre rush: Luberon

Des randonnées en Suisse

Sandy & François hiking in Switzerland

Villefranche de Conflent

Postcard from Chris

Les platanes se font abattre

Chopping down the plane trees along the Canal du Midi

Un locomotive de Berry se présente

Introduction by a steam train

Céret: La Fête de la Cerise

Céret Cherry Festival

Le potager de Versailles

The vege garden at Versailles

Musée de la Résistance

Resistance Museum

La France de Jacques Tati

Jacques Tati's France

Le Précurseur du bungey

Precursor of Bungy

Les jardins de Keukenhof

The Keukenhof Gardens

Le Phare Amédée

Amédée Lighthouse

Segonzac: A l’ombre des alambics

Segonzac: in the shadow of the stills

Mur de l'Atlantique

The Atlantic Wall

Le grand marché de Bruges

Main Bruges Market

Le Carnival de Binche

The Binche Carnival

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