Sunday 31st May we get up early for three more trips to the supermarket for fuel. The gauge reads half full so we can stop fretting about running out. We then set off but only travel a few hundred yards to moor at the public mooring so we can buy our Sunday morning treat of croissants and pain du chocolat.
We have been told by numerous boaters that there is nothing to see on this stretch of the canal but both Charles and I disagree. I guess it depends on what you want, for us quiet canals and beautiful scenery is all we want and this canal certainly provides a variety of changing landscape from not so pretty industrious to hillsides, forests and farmlands. The only stress is at the end of the day when we are looking for a mooring as they are not plentiful and the ones we find do not have a great deal of room but so far we have had not trouble.
Its a pleasant day so we moor up at Donjeux, a pretty place with a very small village nearby. We go for our Sunday run/cycle and decide at the end of it that I run best in the morning before the sun comes up as its quite hot and I am warn out after 9 miles. If proof is needed that men cannot multi-task then today is a good example. As I’m running with Charles cycling alongside I make some comment about a particularly beautiful spot but as he turns his head to take a look he looses his balance and falls off the bike – don’t worry the bike is fine!!! so is Charles apart from a grazed knee and dented pride….
We take a look at the guide and as usual realise that we need to get a wiggle on. So on Monday we travel to Viéville for the night, get up reasonable early for a 6 mile run/cycle and then move on to Chaumont. This is quite a large town which we get to by walking up a very steep hill. We both comment that we could neither cycle or run up this and in fact are finding it difficult to walk its so steep – its worth it though. The town was originally developed around its castle which dates from 940 and we enjoy strolling around the narrow streets and churches. We decide to have lunch out and ironically the best place is at the bottom of the hill near to our boat. La Belle Epoque restaurant has a very pretty terrace and offers a very reasonable plat de jour.
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On Thursday the 4th June we move once again this time to Foulain. It is only 14 kilometres away with 7 locks but we are behind a peniche which travels very slowly so its late afternoon by the time we arrive. We have a quick lunch and then get the bikes out and cycle back to Chaumont – I suddenly decide it might be a good idea to get ingredients in for a couple of meals for when Paul and Shirley arrive next week as we never know when we will find a shop. Its only 10 miles to the supermarket – there that is – we have to do the same back. Charles is cycling behind me at one point and suddenly says ‘your thighs are getting fatter’ – I think you might mean my thighs have toned up……they are not fat!!! – ‘you know what I meant, it was supposed to be a compliment’ says he. He might have a long wait for dinner tonight.
We arrive back to find a boat moored against us with a very apologetic French man telling us he would not normally moor without the owners permission but could not get his boat close enough to the side because of the length of his boats draft – pas de problem. Henri and his wife Monique are travelling with friends Claude and his wife Marie-Claude on their boat Aroma. Friday we travel to Rolamport after a run/cycle and are soon joined by our new French friends and later in the day by another boat with a French couple called Claude and Franscoise who moor up against us as there is no other room.
Its all very cosy and we are later invited for a drink with them all. Interesting as only two of the six speak English but we manage and its the best way for us to improve our French. They are all sharing a bbq and are invited to share their meal but understandable couldn’t cater for a veggie – they could offer me bread so we just take our own food. This is a first – a meal with all French folk and it is lovely. We finish off the meal with something I could eat – pineapple flambéed in rum!
We are off again – this time to Langres and decide to cycle up to the town. We thought getting to Chaumont was a challenge but it was nothing compared to the route up to Langres. We are well and truly shattered when we get to the top but it is once again worth it. Langres is an old fortified town dating from Roman times with a complete 3km wall which we cycle round. The views are absolutely stunning and we can see for miles. An ice cream for our effort – going down is a great deal easier and faster. We even find a supermarket on the way down so make a quick stop pick – there is always something we need.
Charles has a siesta to recover from the long trek while I write this blog and then I suggest I do my long run as its 6.30pm and seems a lot cooler – Charles’ face is a picture and he grunts ‘what after that long bike ride?’ to which I retort ‘its useful having these fat thighs!!!’ I do have an ulterior motive – if I run tonight I can have a drink with my meal so off we go running and cycling along the canal – its actually not that cool but we manage a 10 miler and I am increasing my long run by a mile each week which keeps me on track. Treat time – steak for Charles and for me some chocolate.