Tuesday, 3 December 2013

13th - 31st October 3013, Briare, our winter mooring

So busy was the trip, like a crossword puzzle, 6 up and 11 down (locks that is), that we didn't take any pix of the trip, but eventually we were moored (well, 6pm on the 13th, after leaving at 09:00) as you can see:
On the right?  See, okay, here's a closer view:

Lovely central location (oh dear, Estate Agent speak), right in the town, restaurants on the right, etc.  Lots of other boats the other side of the bridge, and in another boat yardy sort of place, and behind me:
Nice and warm again, using our fancy new chairs (somehow squeezed into our car last time).  Someone decided to go explore in the canoe:
Then some other friends of ours decided to come and check us out in their inflatable!
Now Briare is chiefly famous for its long viaduct (canal above the ground, or in this case, over the hugely wide Loire river) which was built by Monsieur Eiffel (wasn't he a busy man?!) and is ridiculously elegant:
That's all made in cast iron, don't know how they moved it!
Here's someone to give you a better sense of scale:
We did some exploring downstream, that's on the right of where you're looking now, beautiful area, we walk and cycle(d) there a lot:
This here Loire is a proper river (a fleuve in French, meaning a river that flows all the way to the sea, rather than a tributary) and is in December is flowing at around 6mph for all of its width here.  That's a challenge!
Here is the view from the other side of our view, the bridge, showing the last lock we came through (it's actually the last working lock, as the next one is a historic and leads, via another, down onto the Loire itself.  It is used for special trips, and before Eiffel put up his viaduct that's how they reached the canal on the other bank, quite a long way to go and tough.  So here's the view, and the nice building on the right is the Capitainerie office, our showers, loos, social area, swap shop and secondhand stuff:
They do like their flowers, one in the form of a boat:
We have a number of aquatic/quacky supplicants, notably these pretty little fellows:
There's also a Llama and Alpacca centre a little walk away:
Then at the end of November they removed all their flowers, and started doing some topiary all over the place, this right opposite us:
I must remember to show you their winter flower arrangements, which figure a large number of decorative cabbages!  They look so nice I'm surprised some poor soul hasn't saved himself the considerable expense of actually buying one!  One last view from the viaduct:

12th to 13th October Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses

This was an even smaller place than Chatillon-Collingny, and what facilities it had were in a state of suspended animation (closed).  We walked quite a bit in case there was something to see, and the rain pretty much held off.  We had to pay for the mooring, power and electric, whether you wanted it or not, 12 Euro/night, but I think they undercharged us a little so don't bank on that price!  Nik is nearly obscuring us:
Rogny's claim to fame is the locks of its name, a sequence of 7 staircase locks, so called because you climb from one into another, without a break, and you can only go all the way in one direction.  This is limiting, but the system was build by Henry IV in 1604 so you have to give them credit for that!  No, look at this:
Oh, and they look pretty impressive, the remains of them that is, nobody uses them now, as the one way traffic makes them inefficient (they now have 6 more normal locks instead).  Here's how it looked from the top:
The last one is behind me:
Here is the view looking from the village itself:
And just when you thought I couldn't find another reason to show you this fine set of derelict locks, here is the view while we were steaming past them to leavce Rogny, on the way to the first of the 6 new locks:
So there you have it, we're on our last leg, a long leg, to our winter mooring in Briare, which is next, bet you can't wait!

9th to 12th October, Montbuoy to Chatillon-Caligny

The journey was short, and it rained almost all the time we were there, so that while we remember it, and quite a nice market (in the rain) and a very adequate and relatively inexpensive lunch in a nearby Hotel (out of the rain), I find we didn't have anything to take a picture of.  Maybe the sun'll shine next time.  It could be nice in good weather, I expect!

Then, en route to our next overnighter, we encountered some wildlife:
Nik tried to feed them, this was while we were in the lock, and a bit vulnerable really:
Then it was my turn, and I can tell you they were keen, on my fingers as well as the food:
It was a little distance so we had a lunch stop.
The white boat is a Penichette (we are a Peniche, so they're a little one of us, really?).  These are hire boats, short enough to hire to users who are not licensed, and who (as in UK) treat the boat as a dodgem.  We saw many who were seriously damaged, and their internals were usually in a pretty poor state, if working at all!  Nonetheless, a useful way to try before you buy, had we known about it in time, and a lot of accommodation in a small space.  Now we have a long way next day, so arrive at our next stop, Rogny, in good time, about 1pm, avoiding the locks closing.

8th-9th October, Montbuoy

Our first stopover was at a little place called Montbuoy, and all we really knew here was to look out for a Roman Arch on the otherwise relatively unremarkable church.  Anyway, here there were yet more flowers, and our boat is in the distance:
The aforementioned church is just behind where I'm standing taking this, i.e. :
See, shorts, but a lightweight jacket too.  Another view from further away, over another bridge, looking in fact over the river Loing itself:
That's another old wash house on the left, and more floating flower boats.  They do take civic pride seriously in France.  Anyway, that Roman door, here it is, with a person in the way for scale:
As you can see, it hardly fits in with the church itself, and it does say it is Roman, but dates from ~1000 AD, rather than AD 200.  Roman in style, anyhow, who knows, how do you date stone?  Tricky.  A few more nice views:
So back to the boat, and the next, short leg to Chatillon-Calligny, where we'll be a few days as our friends from Montargis are coming down this way for an outing with friends coming for a short break.  Last view:

26th September to 8th October, Montargis

Little to show for this time, because I suppose we knew Montargis well and were revisiting familiar haunts.  So few pix, just this of a window display of food!
I know, their displays are quite mouth-watering.  So were the patisserie displays, but they seem to all have curved windows that reflect too much so my pix are not worth showing.  Next time I'm outside one with a camera I'll take one. 

Then I just have a picture of the lovely boat moored next to us in Montargis, lovely to look at but built in Turkey, with all the problems that went with that of poor equipment.  It was so wide it should've been ugly, but it was done so well, and the wood was lovely.  We weren't invited indside sadly.
Then we had to say goodbye to Montargis, for a while at least, and friends there kindly took a picture of us just before departure:

It seems I stayed in shorts for a long time, certainly quite a while after this!  It was a really solid frost here last night, the first we've had, as I'm writing this on 3rd December!  Anyway, back to catch-up.