Mariner's definition: Cruising: Waterborne pleasure journey embarked on by one or more people. A cruise may be considered successful if the same number of individuals who set out on it arrive in roughly the same condition they set out in, at some piece of habitable dry land, with or without the boat
|Waterways of France overview|
Saturday, July 1st - St Jean-de-Losne, start of the Bourgogne (Burgundy) Canal
|First lock on the Bourgogne canal|
|Can't quite get close enough...Our keel is stuck in the mud!|
|Gerrit helping pound stakes.|
We pound in metal stakes to create our own secure tie points on land and....voila, we are set. Our mission for tonight is to go to the nearby supermarket to buy the fixings for a nice supper complete with a lovely red and white dessert to celebrate Canada Day!
Sunday, July 2nd - Chateau in the countryside
One of the reasons we decide to travel this route is our guide book says it provides one of the most spectacular routes in all the canals. With the countryside dotted with chateau's like this one hidden amongst the tall greenery, we are already experiencing the beauty. Oh, as well as on of the most beautiful routes, it is also the most heavily-locked route with 189 locks in 242 km and each lock takes 15 minutes on average to lock through!!
Monday, July 3rd - Steps to 'Locking-Up'
|Cruising along the canals|
|Entering a lock|
|Lock filling with water|
|Top of the lock|
|Lock keeper manually working the gates.|
Monday, July 3rd - Rue de la Liberte (Liberty Street), City of Dijon
|Rue de la Liberte, Dijon|
Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne (The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy)
|Palace of the Dukes|
This palace, originally just a simple fortress built to protect the town from the Barbarian invasions, was reconstructed from 1366 onwards by Philip the Bold (part of the Valois dynasty) and enlarged by other dukes. As Burgundy evolved and became the most powerful duchy of the kingdom of France, so evolved the magnificent palace of today. Out front of the palace is the semicircular square of Place de la Liberation, which was built to receive the equestrian statue of King Louis X1V. Unfortunately we are not able to see the statue as it was melted down to make canons for the revolutionaries in 1792!
|Panoramic of the Palace.|
Wednesday, July 5th - Dijon Mustard Factory
World Cup Football (Soccer in the land of the America's)
|World Cup Football|
World Cup Football is an event that happens only once every four years and it spells big business and rowdy rivalries between all participating countries. Germany is hosting the event this year and football matches have been being played over the past weeks as opening rounds and elimination games occur. As luck would have it for us, France has made it to the semi-final game against Portugal tonight. We cycle to the city center in search of a big screen TV to watch the action. It's a close match but in the end France prevails and the streets of Dijon go wild! What a cool experience as we ride through the ecstatic crowds giving high-fives and experiencing the electricity in the air.
|Joel gets into the celebration!|
Four days later, France isn't so lucky and looses the final game and cup to Italy in a match that was decided by 'shoot-out' kicks. Dijon has a totally different feel in the air that night. :(
Monday, July 10th - On the road again...or is that on the canal again??
|Enjoying the waters of the canals|
Peniche - a type of barge
Tuesday, July 11th - Lock keeper house
|Lock keeper house|
Wednesday, July 12th - Chateauneuf
We tackle the steep bike ride up to this chateau perched high upon the hill, though it is a tough slog in the heat now approaching 38 degrees Celsius. We are curious just to see the inside rather than get into its history....something about the lady of the castle poisoning her husband and being drug to her death as punishment. Anyway, the views are great and the screaming cool bike ride down even better!
Thursday, July 13th - Getting close to the summit - Ecluse 4 du Grand-Pré
|Inside a lock|
|Écluse-du-Grand-Pré - beautifully kept|
Many of the lock grounds are extremely well kept and manicured. Such is the case at Écluse-du-Grand-Pré
4:30 PM Pouillenay Summit & Tunnel
|Literally "The light at the end of the tunnel"|
The tunnel experience is very cool....not only in a unique way, but it is literally a refreshing 10-15 degrees cooler inside!! Bizarrely enough, when we first enter the tunnel, we can see a pin-hole size light 3.3km away at the end of the tunnel. Never has the saying 'the light at the end of the tunnel' been so clear.
|Exiting the tunnel|
|Stunning route to Pouillenay Summit.|
Thursday, July 13, 11:00 PM - Fireworks for Bastille Day - Pouillenay Summit Pound
We proceed on to the mooring basin in the town of Pouilly-en-Auxois for a couple of nights to regroup and to figure out a different route of travel to Paris.
Pouillenay Summit Pound
|Bastille Day fireworks|
There are fireworks in town tonight to kick off tomorrow's national holiday, Bastille Day. Bastille Day is celebrated annually on July 14th since the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, when the former French prison fortress in Paris, was attacked and captured by a mob assisted by royal troops.
Friday, July 14th - The direction not traveled
Friends from Calgary, Canada!!
|Emily, Gerrit and Joel|
|Kids have fun catching up as do us adults!|
|On our way back down...|
|Emily and Monica|
Mistletoe - is this where it comes from?
We had noticed many of the trees are filled with these huge green clumps, but we did not know what they were. Monica immediately recognized the clumps as Mistletoe, which are parasitic plants that depend entirely on the host tree for nourishment. We are not sure if the problem is being controlled in any way or if the fate of the trees is in the same hands as the canals!
|Cab pick up. Cya back in Canada.|
Thank you Monica and Emily for making such an effort to visit us.
Sunday, July 16th - Willie Jeep...what fun!
|Joel, Sheila and Gerrit with Joel and his Willie Jeep|
One of the greatest things about our lifestyle is never knowing what adventure we will find next. This morning saying good-bye to Monica and Emily, tonight off for dinner with a local family. Chris briefly met Joel one morning on our way up to Pouilly. He recognized our boat for the ocean-going vessel she is and scrambled through the bushes to talk. Joel saw us this afternoon on our way back down and graciously invited us to dinner and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. It turns out Joel and his family had cruised the world on a sailboat for 15 years and currently they are working on another sailboat in their yard for their next trip!
Tuesday, July 18th - Mirage Jet Fighter
|Mirage jet fighter|
On our way up the canal we were suddenly blasted by the deafening roar of these fast moving jet fighters. They were on us and gone before we even knew what the heart stopping racket was all about let-alone snap a photo. Well, we were ready for them on our way back down and Chris snags a photo of this one landing at the airstrip right beside the canal. Our on board aviation experts say it looks a lot like the French-built Mirage.
Friday, July 21st - New route to Paris
|Melted After Eights|
Sunday, July 23rd - Villegusien-le-Lac
|A day on the beach|
Monday, July 24th - Hello down there!
|Tioga about to raise in a lock.|
|4.82 km tunnel ahead.|
Later today, once at the top of this summit, we have a 4.82 km long tunnel between Balesmes-sur-Marne and Noidant-Chatenoy to transit before beginning to lock-down.
Tuesday, July 25th - The heat continues
|Sheila secures us before our turn to enter the lock.|
|Gerrit and Joel|
Monday, July 31st - Fogged in!
We really enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside and more often than not we find ourselves tied for the night in locations like this one rather than in towns. We're not too sad when our early morning departure from this spot is delayed due to fog. We don't really want to meet a commercial barge in the fog, so we make a tea, sit in the cockpit and wait for the sun to come bursting through.
Tuesday, August 1st - Epernay, Heart of the Champagne Vineyards
|Joel and Gerrit|
Knowing very little about Champagne, we decide to visit one of the many champagne houses for one of the tours. We end up choosing the Mercier champagne tour for a couple of reasons. Not only have we heard good about the tour, but the name Mercier pops up in Chris's family tree, and Joel and Gerrit are hoping to be related to this prosperous family!
The tour takes is 30 meters beneath the town streets, into the Mercier cellars where we are whisked about in a small train through some of the cellar tunnels listening to the tour guide explain the process. In a nut-shell, making champagne is a highly delicate and complex art requiring a whole series of meticulous operations with a combination of age-old know-how and technical innovation being applied at each stage.
What amazes us most is that the Mercier cellar tunnels are only part of the 100 kilometers of tunnels under the streets of Epernay, containing the 200 million bottles of Champagne on hand at any given time.
|Giant vat wagon train replica|
In the Mercier showroom is the giant vat of 1600 hectoliters (equivalent of 200,000 bottles) built between 1870 and 1881 for the purpose of large-scale assemblage, or mixing of the champagne. In 1889, Eugene Mercier (founder of the Mercier champagne house) came up with a novel idea to bring his champagne to public attention by putting his giant vat on display in Paris for the World Exhibition. It took eight days, twelve pair of oxen and eighteen horses to transport the twenty-tone 'Cathedral of Champagne' from Epernay to Paris. Along the way, 3 bridges required reinforcing and 5 houses had to be bought and demolished to make way for the giant!! The cask won second place that year....first was the Eiffel Tower! Our photo is of the little replica of the original, as the giant vat is monstrous!
Sunday, August 6th - EuroDisney
|Off to EuroDisney|
Monday, August 7th - Arsenal Marina in Paris
|Arsenal Marina, Paris|
Stay tuned for Log 50 in Paris, the WW1 Battlefields and Belgium. Getting close to the end.