Lézinnes - Pouilly

On Monday the 22nd of April we traveled from Lézinnes to Ravières. In a book, called 'Frankrijk per Boot' ('France by Boat'), we had read about a Dutch couple, former boaters and francophiles, living in a house next to lock 'Argenteuil 82'. This book was published in 2002 and their age was already 76 and 83 eleven years ago. So we wondered if they would still be alive and kicking. Of course we were planning to say hello to them. The two of them are still alive -nearing 87 and 94!- and living in their house with the flags raised of both The Netherlands and France. Unlucky us: they were not at home when we passed 'their' lock.

Ravières - it took us a little over 4 hours and 9 locks to get there. A baker's and butcher's shop, electricity and water for free. Not for the first time this town looked deserted.

From Ravières to Montbard the next day, April 23. It's spring at last and it shows!

Last week the river l'Armançon, one of the rivers the adjacent canal takes water from, was mentioned. This bridge over the river, next to a lock, simply was too picturesque not to take a photo of it.

Several lock keepers warned us about an encounter with a hotel boat that day. So we were well prepared! There she was, shortly after the lunch break. We passed, waved and did not touch. Phew!

No further comment. It's just too lovely a vieuw not to share it.

Montbard, after 11 locks and 6,5 hours. An eyewatering 15 euros was what we had to pay for one night! A real rip off! Or are we a little bit spoiled?

Although we found ice on top of our boat that morning -followed by a gorgious day, no less- these two young men jumped into the ice cold canal in Montbard. Perhaps this had something to do with a couple of girls in their company. Just a wild guess. The announcement on the pontoon is a mere coincidence.....

The next day, Wednesday the 24th of April, our destination was Venarey-Les Laumes. In bygone days every lock had its own lock keeper (and lock house). Nowadays the VNF (Rijkswaterstaat in The Netherlands, BW/EA in England) provides its lock keepers with a moped or small motor scooter and their task is to operate several locks for their customers - being us. Here is one pictured while following us on the tow path. It's luxury for us and works wonderfully well. The vast majority of the lock keepers, often female, well deserves the decription 'polite, cooperative, friendly' - you name it.

Again we have to share this. Burgundy, France, just another day in spring.

Venarey-Les Laumes, nine locks, four-and-a-half hours. On the other side of the canal a sign said: 'Supermarché 500 meters'. 'Great' we said, as we urgently needed to do some shopping. So we walked in the indicated direction. It took us a long time and we were in doubt about the right direction. A friendly police officer assured us that we should just continue. He was right, after a lot more walking we reached this supermarket. Diny suggested she should get a marker and add a big zero to the suggested distance.

This goose belongs to Venarey-Les Laumes' inventory. Swimming was not it's first interest, begging for food was. The animal had quite a pot belly. He/she allowed the feeders to stroke him/her. We declined the honour.

On the way we went again the next day, Thursday the 25th. That day we had a crew of two, yes: two, lock keepers helping us through the locks. It was an impressive flight of locks we had to do: we did 29 of them and needed almost seven hours for this job, starting 09:00AM. As one has to agree with the lock keeper(s) about the time of departure this sort of days tends to feel like genuine work. We enjoyed it, though, but forgot to make any picture during this day; a lot of times the distance between tw locks was just a few hundred meters. So this is one of our overnight mooring spot at Marigny-le-Cahouët.

Opposite the mooring place in Marigny-le-Cahouët we spotted this lovely animal. When the fence was approached he walked towards us and we still don't now how he could see us! He was absolutely fabulous looking and 100% gentle. Ohhh, give us such a big pony, a harness and a carriage - if only for one day (again)!

On April 26, a Friday, we traveled from Marigny-le-Cahouët to Pont Royal. Only 13 locks in a bit more than 3 hours - easy job. After we arrived it started raining like we had not experienced yet in France. (In the UK we had!) The rain kept coming down for more than 1,5 twenty-four hours period. On Saturday we waited for our daughter and two grandsons. They arrived late that day and it was still raining, raining, raining. Fortunately the next day, Sunday the 28th, the rain stopped so we felt able to be on the move again, together with our grandsons. On this picture we are helping the lock keeper. Her moped is visible, too. She would accompany us the entire day, 12 locks of the total of 13 to do.

Cruising from Pont Royal to Pouilly-en-Auxois we saw this floating something on the canal. From a distance the dolphins looked like paintings. They turned out to be windows! The purpose of the thing remained unclear.

Pouilly-en-Auxois, reached after more than 4,5 hours and, see above, 13 locks. We did all the upstream locks, being 113, from the river Yonne to the summit level of the canal. As there are 189 locks in total, we have to do 76 downstream locks the coming weeks, before reaching the river Saône. Tomorrow we'll have to negociate a 3,333 km long tunnel. About that more next week, when you can see our boat without a wheel house.....

This electric tug boat was used in the tunnel before. The chain laid on the bottom of the canal and the boat moved either direction by using cogs and, of course, the chain. Nowadays all boats go under their own steam, using a system of previous arrangement, traffic lights, CCTV and VHF Radio. The tug boat is now permanently in dry dock - litteraly in this case!

The Sunday ended in a tragedy, for the 'master' of the black pieces that is. One can think 'he's only ten years of age, can't be that hard'. Wrong! Concentrate or you are doomed! Well done, eldest grandson! My revenge will hit you hard! (Will it???)