Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey
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  • Day36

    Advanced Beginners

    June 8, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Our first full day on the water and, like yesterday, we didn't travel very far. By the time we moored for the evening, we had only covered a collective distance of about 18km. We're going to have to step up the pace a little to avoid a cannonball run on the last day of our boat hire.

    The locks on the Canal operate from 9.00am so super-early starts aren't an option ... we're very pleased with this arrangement. It also suits us that the locks don't operate for an hour from 12.00pm so we're forced to tie up somewhere scenic and enjoy the quiet peacefulness, which is only disturbed by the sounds of our own munching.

    This morning we needed a few things to supplement our munching plans so we stopped at Brienon-sur-Armancon after negotiating our first lock for the day. The simple task of dropping by the shops is not a quick activity in The Tub. Finding a place to tie up; checking that it isn't too shallow and we'd be beaching rather than mooring; throwing ropes ashore to tie down; someone leaping off the boat to actually tie the ropes to something; getting the front of The Tub tied down; bringing the back around and securing the back rope; adjusting the front rope; putting out the 'gang plank' ... it's a major exercise with all hands required on deck ... and it didn't necessarily happen in the order described or without several attempts. After all, we're still learning 😁😁
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  • Day35

    Novices

    June 7, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After 10 minutes of instruction from the boat company representative we signed for the keys to 'Celeste', a 14m long floating tub with a dodgy steering system. The rep went with us from the port at Saint Florentin to the first canal lock to help us get accustomed to the boat .... a distance of approximately 100m. It's amazing how much desperate learning you can cram into 100m but there's a heck of a lot that you don't know if, like us, you've never been in control of a canal boat. Perhaps the word 'control' gives the wrong impression at this stage of our journey.

    Armed with maps and manuals in three languages we waved goodbye to the boat rep mid-afternoon and set off on our own down the Canal de Bourgogne. We had the canal to ourselves which was a very good thing as we tried to get the hang of keeping a giant bath tub travelling in the direction we wanted it to go. It was very easy to over-correct when The Tub started to wander off-track and we had a hilarious stretch of slow-mo chicaning and drift sliding down the canal, at one point almost ending in the opposite direction to where we should have been. The lock-keepers must have been laughing themselves silly as The Tub weaved it's way into the locks, bouncing off the walls on both sides with the extremely inexperienced crew getting themselves tangled in the ropes.

    When we weren't giggling at our own ineptitude or making unhelpful navigation suggestions, we were slowly wobbling down the canal to the sound of birds and lapping water. We didn't go very far on our first outing ... just through a couple of locks until we found a nice spot to tie up and start tucking into our pre-delivered supplies. This is going to be a very relaxing part of our holiday ... just as long as there are no icebergs to run into Titanic-style.
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    Wargren Ventures

    No-one looks too concerned. 😊

    6/18/19Reply
    Wargren Ventures

    Love this!

    6/18/19Reply
     
  • Day35

    All Aboard

    June 7, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    There has been trains, planes and automobiles ... and now we're adding 'canal boat' as a holiday mode of transport. We had a bit of a kerfuffle getting to the port this morning. We were originally meeting the boat at Tonnerre but a minor problem with the boat meant we had to meet it at Saint Florentin instead. The boat company sent us a timetable yesterday for the local bus which would get us to our new starting point.

    Changing our transport plans should have been as easy as catching a different bus but no such luck. Apparently the bus simply doesn't run if no one contacts the bus company by 5.00pm the previous afternoon to advise that they want to catch it ... and we discovered this well after 5.00pm yesterday.

    Thinking that surely someone, somewhere must want to catch a bus hence the bus would be running today, we asked the hotel reception to ring the bus company this morning to check if the driver was intending to get out of bed. She confirmed that the bus existed and would be at the identified stop at the appropriate time. We were there well in advance of said time and we were still there over an hour later. Perhaps the message to pick up passengers was lost in translation but there's only one bus opportunity each day and today wasn't our lucky day. We rang the boat company to share our plight with them and they very helpfully arranged for a private car to collect us from the bus stop.

    It started raining just as we stepped out of the car at the port and there was no immediate sign of our boat. A very friendly couple from the UK invited us all to join them for a cup of tea on their boat to wait out the rain or until our boat materialised, whichever happened first. As luck would have it, the two coincided and before long we were getting our 10 minute lesson in diesel motors, generators, boat steering, lock navigation and rope tying.

    The explanations were in Franglish so at the end we knew about as much as we did at the beginning ... and then we were let loose on our own for the next 5 days. Hope nothing gets in our way, we don't really know how to steer and there's no hand brake.
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  • Day34

    Road Trip ... The Last Leg

    June 6, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    With barely a glance at the half timbered houses in our rear vision mirror we set off for a very picturesque journey to our next destination and a new adventure. Purposely avoiding toll roads and motorways we zigged and zagged through the countryside for a couple of hundred kilometres to Auxerre. Rolling green hills, lots of vineyards and, bonus, villages with houses made of stone 😀

    We got into Auxerre with plenty of time to wander around the old town and riverside. At this time of year the sun doesn't set until after 9.30pm, it's lovely to roam the streets when there are less people out 'n' about.
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    Wargren Ventures

    So much potential wine.

    6/18/19Reply
     
  • Day33

    Road Trip ... Alsace (#3)

    June 5, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Our determination to avoid quaint villages, half timbered buildings and cobbles took us to Colmar ... the 'capital' of the Alsace region. Guess what we found there ?!?!

    We checked the tourist info, found 3 things that we thought might be nice to see and tracked them down. Tick, tick, tick ... then we found a fantastic cafe and had a very very long lunch.

    Interesting fact ... the guy who designed the Statue of Liberty was born in Colmar.
    Interesting sight ... there is a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Colmar in his honour.
    It's in the middle of a roundabout and we're much better at negotiating the roundabouts in the wrong direction now so we went looking for it.

    An afternoon drive through the countryside in a easterly direction brought us to the banks of the Rhine River. We promised the hire company that we wouldn't take the car outside France so we only got to look at Germany across the water. We didn't immediately spot any half timbered buildings, maybe Germany is the place for us 😀
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  • Day32

    Road Trip ... Alsace (#2)

    June 4, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    A day of Alsace touring, after a lazy morning and a very slow start. Similar to yesterday we explored some areas on foot and were drive-by tourists in other areas.

    After rummaging around in Riquewihr for a couple of hours and then gawping at Haut-Koenigsbourg castle we buzzed through the villages of Bergheim, Ribeauville and Hunawihr before heading to Kayserberg for dinner.

    There's lots to see and everything is pretty, scenic, lovely, etc etc but by the end of the day we'd had our fill of half timbered buildings. And cobbled streets ... enough of them for a while too.

    We're going to expand our horizons tomorrow and range further afield than the quaint villages.
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  • Day31

    Road Trip ... Alsace (#1)

    June 3, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    This morning we picked up a hire car in Strasbourg and everything seems wrong. The steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car, all cars are driving on the wrong side of the road, everyone drives around a roundabout in the wrong direction and the road signs have the wrong words on them. We have some adjusting to do ... and quickly 😀

    Our plan is to tour the Alsace region for a couple of days. Our expectation is a plethora of charming villages full of half timbered houses on narrow cobbled streets ... with tubs, pots and window boxes full of flowers. And wine, lots of wine.

    Day 1 absolutely met those expectations. We walked around some villages and poked our noses into their business, others were drive-through tourism with pics taken from the car window while our feet recovered from the cobbles of the previous village.

    The weather wasn't kind to us in the middle of the day but we avoided the heavy rain while having a long lazy lunch inside.

    After leaving Strasbourg this morning, we crossed Obernai, Barr, Mittelbergheim and Andlau off the village list before checking into our accommodation at Ammerschwihr. This is base camp for our Alsace adventure.
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    Wargren Ventures

    Too pretty!

    6/9/19Reply
     
  • Day30

    Where Have All The Tourists Gone?

    June 2, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    We must have missed the memo advising tourists that Strasbourg is not the place to be on a Sunday ... the streets were comparitively empty and most of the shops were closed. We had intended to actively avoid the tourist and shopping areas anyway but no need, there were very few people to avoid.

    Taking advantage of free entry into all museums on the first Sunday of the month, we wandered into Palais de Rohan to gaze at the sumptuous interior of the state apartments. This section of the palais is actually the Decorative Arts Museum but we were primarily there to see the gilt.

    Also on our To Do list was to find the very small remaining section of the original city walls. They were on the other side of the river and well out of the main tourist zone so there were no signs, plaques or information boards ... just a few metres of old stone wall almost invisible behind scaffolding and restoration equipment.

    We spent the afternoon walking along the river, enjoying the gorgeous weather and bouncing from cafe to brasserie to cafe. A very relaxing non-tourist day.
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  • Day29

    Tourist Mode In Strasbourg

    June 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Today we operated in full Tourist Mode and joined the throngs of annoying people who wander around historic places using the 'self guided walking tour' ... constantly stopping to take photos AND juggling the audio handset AND trying to follow the map with the numbered 'sights' on it AND listen to the appropriate info when standing somewhere near we thought we should be. FYI, if you have fumble-fingers when entering the number into the handset and accidentally enter 3 digits instead of 2, the language changes from English to something completely unrecognisable 😀😀

    We spent most of the day in the historic centre of the city on the Grande Île (large island) ... the entire island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Half-timbered medieval buildings, grand and imposing [former] private homes, canals and the Petite France quarter, and a cathedral so tall that it's impossible to fit it into a single picture unless you stand on the other side of town or own a drone. Christmas gift idea ?!?!?

    The weather was gorgeous and the crowds weren't too bad ... you only have to step one or two streets off the main tourist path to have the place to yourself. We ticked off all the numbered sights on the tourist map, returned the handsets to the Tourist Info Office and steered our cobble-weary feet towards the closest brasserie.
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    Wargren Ventures

    Rohan’s palace? When do we get the invite?

    6/5/19Reply
    Wargren Ventures

    Like Rohan? 😉

    6/5/19Reply
    Wargren Ventures

    Looks like you had a lovely day weather wise.

    6/5/19Reply
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  • Day28

    On A Train ... Arriving In France

    May 31, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    It was a long day ... 3 trains, 3 countries and many hours sitting in a seat with things zooshing past the window at hundreds of kilometres per hour.

    We left the hybrid Italian/German city of Bolzano this morning and have arrived in the hybrid French/German city of Strasbourg tonight. We found our apartment, found some food for a late dinner and then our heads found the pillow. We'll explore tomorrow.Read more

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