England - Italy - France
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  • Day43

    The End !!!!

    June 15, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Six weeks has flown past so quickly. We've seen a lot, done a lot, eaten A LOT and, without doubt, drunk too much. We'll atone for the excessive eating and drinking when we get home.

    What a fantastic trip with a huge variety of experiences ... hiking across moors and up, down and around coastal headlands in the UK; whizzing across the Venice lagoon in a private speed boat and experiencing that fascinating city from the luxury of an apartment on the Grand Canal; enjoying the scenic beauty of the Italian alps; exploring the Alsace in France on the wrong side of the road and then pootling along the canals of Burgundy in our private floating bathtub.

    The first half of our trip was just the Lemmeys (Mr FitBody and Ms OfficeBody and, of course, let's not forget Grumpy Toe) but the addition of the Hammonds for the second half, to become the Lemmonds, bought much laughter and much love to the trip.

    From here, the Hammonds continue their adventures and fly to the UK whilst the Lemmeys start the long flight back to Australia.

    Our holiday has come to an end and, if you've been reading this online diary, your vicarious holiday is also over. We hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures as much as we enjoyed having them.

    Now we can start planning our next trip !!!!!
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  • Day42

    Penultimate Paris

    June 14, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We went our separate ways on the second to last day of our holiday. Mr FitBody was keen to spend some time at Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum) so he tootled off after breakfast to get his fill while Ms OfficeBody and the senior Lemmonds has a leisurely day wandering around the Le Marais district.

    We all met mid-afternoon for a cruise on the Seine. After our success with The Tub we were tempted to offer to drive the tourist boat 😀😀

    And then it was time to head back to our accommodation and, sadly, start thinking about packing to come home. All good things must come to an end.
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  • Day41

    Montmartre

    June 13, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    A day of roaming and exploring with no specific agenda.

    Once the haunt and muse of artists and other creative folk, Montmartre is simultaneously quaint, quirky and cosmopolitan ... and a very popular spot for tourists.

    When we found a place with a large group of people gathered around a tour guide we occasionally hovered on the edge of the crowd for a few minutes to hear what the guide was saying. Much of it was "Van Gogh ate here" and "Renoir slept there" or talk about a particular building which featured in a famous painting.

    Here are some pics from our day.
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  • Day40

    Le Gai Paris

    June 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Arrived ... tackled the Paris metro system ... with luggage ... found our accommodation ... phew !!!!

    We're in Montmartre, just around the corner from the Moulin Rouge. The area is full of restaurants, cabarets and theatres.

    We must be getting old ... we just had dinner and went to bed.

  • Day40

    The Last Leg

    June 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Our final day on The Tub was the easiest and not just because we know what we're doing. We only had one lock to get through on the Canal du Nivernais before turning onto an 'embranchment' canal towards Vermenton. This last canal was quiet and peaceful, back to the sounds of lapping water and birds which we'd been missing on the busier Nivernais canal and River Yonne.

    We tied up at Accolay and gathered all remaining food supplies from the cupboards to cobble together a lunch of sorts. It was hardly a gastronomic delight but it was very colourful and almost all food groups were represented.

    It was then only a short pootle to the port at Vermenton in the afternoon where we demonstrated our excellent Tub driving skills and nailed a perfect parallel park in an almost-not-quite-big-enough space on our first attempt. Pity there wasn't anyone there to act as an independent witness ... you'll just have to trust our account of the event.

    We've loved every aspect of our Tub experience. Sure, we may have preferred to not have had the occasional rain storm or the rather chilly weather but the rain only dampened the deck, not our enjoyment of the adventure. Bonus, we earned an honourary scout badge (self-awarded) for rope tying 😀😀

    After packing up and leaving The Tub in a very clean state, with a few new rub marks and gashes on the bumpers, we dragged our bags around the corner to the train station.

    Next stop: Paris
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  • Day40

    First In, Last Out

    June 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    The advantage of being the first boat to arrive at a port is you get to pick the best mooring point.
    The disadvantage is you could then be hemmed in by the later arriving boats who moor where they can, even if it means tying up to another boat.
    You can't leave until they do so don't moor overnight in a small port if you have to be underway by a set time the next day.

    Being in the middle of the huddle didn't bother us this morning. We've paced our trip well so we don't have a mad dash to the finish line this afternoon. We had plenty of time to wander around Cravant before eventually heading out at about 11.00am for the last leg.
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  • Day39

    Experts

    June 11, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Yesterday's dream run with the locks put us in a great position for a cruisy day, pardon the pun. We had a very late start (well past the 9.00am kick off for the lock keepers) but only had a handful of locks to tackle and we're moving faster now that we know what we're doing. The Canal du Nivernais and the River Yonne have gone their separate ways, today was all canal. A lunch stop and village stop rounded out our day before we pulled in to Cravant as our mooring point for the night. We've got the hang of how to keep The Tub under control, or at least give the impression that we've got it under control, so all this stopping and starting is much easier and efficient than it was when we set off last week.

    It's our last night on The Tub and we tied up at the port rather than camping along the edge of the canal like we have on previous evenings. This is the first time we've moored with shore power and unlimited water. Long hot showers and kettle boiling without having to run the generator ... what a luxury.

    Our onboard supplies are running very low so we walked into Cravant to have dinner. There's only one cafe/brasserie in the village and they only have 4 things on the menu ... 2 entrees and 2 main courses. Deciding what to order was pretty easy but they had a slightly larger choice of beers, that's when thinking got hard.

    By the time we got back to The Tub the little port has filled up and boats were double-parked. The guy behind us had given The Tub a serious nudge while jostling into place and almost dislodged our front mooring peg. Perhaps he'd only received 5 minutes of Franglish instructions when he hired his boat.
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  • Day38

    Proficient

    June 10, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We had the luck of the locks with us today and we blasted through 9 locks in record time. Almost all of them were in our favour when we got to them so we could chug straight in without waiting for locks to empty or for other boats to come through. We have refined our wall leaping and rope tying but that doesn't mean we didn't make hilarious mistakes ... like lasso-ing a family member instead of the bollard ... and then the same family member lasso-ing herself !!!! 😂😂😂😂

    The best part about the favourable lock conditions was it meant less time outside the cabin of the The Tub in the unfavourable weather conditions. It was very cold and very wet for most of the morning. Ms OfficeBody has been wearing sandals whenever possible in the last two weeks to give Grumpy Toe a long rest but with the cold weather she has been forced to endure the horror of wearing socks with her sandals !!! Luckily there are only 3 people in this country who witnessed this footwear atrocity and they are sworn to delete all photos.

    We pootled into Auxerre in the rain and were thankful that we'd explored the town last week when we returned the hire car. The port was 4 and 5 boats deep in some parts, all moored side by side and tied to each other. We are now quite good at controlling The Tub but parallel parking is a big ask. We kept pootling and just enjoyed the views through the drizzling rain.

    After Auxerre we left the River Yonne and entered the Canal du Nivernais ... then we dropped back into the Yonne ... and then back into the Nivernais again ... and back 'n' forth for the rest of the day. The rain stopped, the sky cleared a little, the socks came off and we enjoyed lovely scenery as we made our way to Champs-sur-Yonne for our overnight mooring.
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  • Day37

    Competent

    June 9, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    In an unbiased self-assessment of our Tub steering and navigation skills we rated ourselves as 'competent' and ready for today's new experiences. Full of breakfast and bravado, we headed towards our first 'up' lock. So far all locks have been 'down' locks i.e. the lock is full of water when we enter and The Tub is gently lowered down to the next level as the water is drained from the lock. All we had to do was keep The Tub steady with a guiding rope at the front and back.

    For the rest of our journey all locks will be the opposite ... we pootle into the empty lock and The Tub will be raised up to the next level as the lock fills. We'd been warned about what to expect in the 'up' locks, especially the movement of the boat as the water surges in to fill the lock. Our Franglish instructions stressed the requirement to secure The Tub in the lock to avoid being whoosed backwards with the surge and then forwards as the water hits the rear lock gate. We were a little nervy as we approached the lock but forgot about the pending surges as we encountered an undisclosed challenge ... how do we secure the ropes to the bollards when they're 8 feet above our heads ?????

    We added 'leaping from the roof of The Tub onto the top of a lock wall' to our rapidly expanding list of skills.

    Once through the lock we turned left, leaving the Canal de Bourgogne and joining the River Yonne where our newly acquired steering competency came to the fore ... there were other boats, currents and bridges across the river with big yellow diamonds indicating which arch we needed to pass under. Pleased to report there were no collisions or close calls.

    After a stint on the river, we bounced back into a deviation canal where Mr FitBody took one of the bikes off The Tub. He scooted along the tow path while the remaining Lemmonds manned (and wo-manned) The Tub. He met us at the next locks so we weren't one deck-hand down for roof-leaping and rope-tying duties.

    We covered a reasonable distance today and got through 7 locks but it was slow-going when we had to wait for locks to operate for the oncoming traffic before it was our turn ... especially the larger locks on the River Yonne. At one lock we had enough waiting time to set up a banquet of snacks and have drinks on the upper deck ... we were happy to wait.
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