Thursday 30th July Laura and I catch the early Eurostar train and get back to Auxonne for around 6 in the evening and are treated to home-made spaghetti bolagnaise – Charles has excelled himself.
On Friday Kevin and Debs (Rangali) return from their trip to the UK and join us for drinks on deck before walking over to Restaurant Barrage for an enjoyable meal before returning to our boat for a few more bevies – they are such a bad influence on us!!
Laura takes Charles place this morning when we go for a little 4 mile run/cycle and then we borrow one of Kevin’s bikes so the three of us enjoy a 16 mile cycle ride along the river. It really is time to move on from Auxonne but not before Laura samples some Fischer Ambre beer which we discovered when my brother Paul was over. It is quite delicious and rather morish and we are pleased that Laura also enjoyed it too. We set sail for St Jean de Losne but unable to find a mooring on the key go back on ourselves and moor by the river bank where we find some mooring bollards – it’s a good job we don’t need to get off the boat though as it really is a case of ‘mind the gap’.
On Monday morning (3rd August) we notice quite a lot of boat movement on The Saone so hope there is some space on the quay as we want to bob into Blanquarts for few boat bits and bobs – there is always something Bluegum needs. We then hire a bike from the Tourist Office being impressed at only 10 euro for half a day hire and we all go for a 19 mile ride into the countryside visiting Chaugey, Tontenans and Pagny le Chateau but believe it or not, not one of these villages has any form of shop when we are desperate for an ice-cream – our one bottle of water soon disappears, slightly naïve of us to take only one bottle considering it is piping hot today. Tuesday afternoon I decide I need to go for a run and just as we are getting ready we hear the sound of a horn and see Gesina approaching with Maggie and Nigel requesting permission to moor up along side us. What a lovely surprise and a great excuse to invite them aboard for drinks.
Not to be deterred the three of us first go out for our run/cycle and then enjoy catching up with Maggie and Nigel’s news. We decided to stay another day so once again hire a bike for the Laura and cycle from Losne to Dole where we enjoy a very nice lunch which we feel we deserve as the whole round trip was 33 miles – Laura may think she has come on holiday for a rest but we have different ideas!!! In the evening we are invited onto Gesina for drinks and are joined by Terry and Terry on a widebeam ‘Renaissance’.
Time is flying by and we think we need to make a move so on Thursday the 6th we move onto the Canal du Rhone au Rhin and moor up at Choisey, a small quay for 3 or 4 boats with a very steep climb to the shops. We are treated to a magnificent vista half way up and can actually see The Alps – a photograph would not do it justice so trust me it is a fantastic view and we can see for miles.
We have a lazy day on Friday so by the evening I am getting fidgety so suggest we walk into Dole as it’s only 4 or 5 kilometers – big mistake by Laura and I wearing flip flops but for some strange reason swapping our pair with each other seemed to help the situation. It was our intention to have a couple of drinks but end up having a superb meal at Café du Cours where Charles and I shared a lovely bottle of Chateau de Preneaux: Cote de Nuits Villages – highly recommend it.
For some reason Laura is not up for an early morning cycle so Charles and I go for a cycle/run into Dole and back and check on availability of moorings. We then take a leisurely cruise and find a mooring by Eugenie a barge owned by a couple who have lived in South Africa for over 30 years. As the Capitainnaire is closed we visit it on Monday morning only to be told we are too long and it is dangerous for us to moor on the pontoon so pay up and move off. I walk over the bridge to sus out possible mooring on the quay while Charles and Laura bring Bluegum around but I receive a stern telling off from a French guy who has a small trip boat for even thinking about mooring near him – he must be a crap driver if he needs so much space to moor his boat up. So we make a number of attempts to moor up but are finding it difficult to secure the boat with the unhelpfully placed mooring rings in conjunction with making use of the stone steps to enable us to get on and off the boat. Then to make matters worse the heavens open and we proceed to get wet through. Charles manages to get the gang plank down and proceeds to walk back and forth to demonstrate how safe it is. By now the horrible French guy’s trip boat is full of people and I can tell (no I am not paranoid) that he is making fun of us or me and everyone is looking and laughing but to be honest we are making a complete fiasco of mooring up. Charles is encouraging me to get out of the rain and get into the boat but I refuse as I think we need to move up to the next mooring ring so just stand there getting wetter and wetter refusing to move until the bloody trip boat moves out of sight. Then we move Bluegum down stream a little and just as we finish securing her and are all happy with the situation yes you’ve guessed it up pops the stupid trip boat and to be honest I just wish it would trip up and sink but no it passes us with everyone looking and smirking……perhaps I have become paranoid.
It is Laura’s last night so we go for a stroll and enjoy an evening meal at Le Demi Lune in the Little Venice part of Dole which is the birth place of Louis Pasteur. Asking Laura what he was famous for she replied ‘yoghurt’ – good job she is a maths teacher!!!! Probably less known is in January 1573, Gilles Garnier was put to death after being found guilty of lycanthropy and witchcraft – he had in fact confessed to murdering and cannibalizing four young children…..It is also twinned with Northwich, Cheshire!!!!
Tuesday arrives and we put Laura on the train to Paris –It is sad to see her go as we have had a lot of fun.