dimanche 23 août 2015

St Valliers

 We travelled on our way fron Lyon quite quickly coming across our first Rhone lock. We waited for ages, about 30 minutes, for it to open and then once inside we waited another 25 minutes for the gates to shut!


This was one of the most shallow locks but to us stuck at the bottom of this great cavern it felt much deeper than its nine metres!

The scenery is really beginning to change and the buildings are definitely changing in style. It is becoming quite hilly, even mountainous in places and the air is beginning to smell more Meditteranean... That kind of warm air smell that hits you when you get off a plane after flying away on holiday from the UK!
We moored our first night away from Lyon at St Colomb, right by this tower. This 30 metre tower is all that remains from the 14th century fortifications built by King Philipe VI de Valois when he defeated St Colomb. The tower might be very old but it has a definite modern roof on it!
We both thought that this was a very pretty house although the picture doesn't really do it justice. the stonework had all been treated to look like marble, and the sculptured heads and metalwork made the exterior look really interesting.
After a night on the free moorings which were really good apart from the turbulence caused by an enormous commercial who ignored where he was supposed to be on the shipping lane and decided to go past us and through the wrong arch of the passerelle bridge we carried on our way.
 The French are very proud of this nuclear power station. The waters of the Rhone cool its two 1,300kW reactors and they produce 18 billion kW each year, 10 times the consumtion of of the city of Lyon!

The scenery is just stunning, I would just love to be living in this beautiful chateau and gardens.

 Although also some inevitable industrial stuff, such as this chemical works but it all adds to the scenery!
When we emerged from the 3rd lock, the weather began to get rather windy. The river opened out to large expanses of water with very choppy waves... it got windier and windier with waves breaking over the bows of the boat so I had to shut the front doors as the water was coming in! We had about 10 Km of this and we were both getting a bit anxious as we could not find suitable and available moorings! At last an empty pontoon at St Valliers came into sight and with difficulty in the strong wind we managed to tie up and secure the boat.

We have breathtaking scenery behind us!
We had a lovely night without much disturbance, we are so pleased that we found this pontoon which is just big enough for us. We decided to consult the weather before setting off, and very glad we had done this! We have stayed put today with the southerly wind gusting very strongly from time to time, and torrential downpours of rain. The forecast is for more of the same tomorrow so I suspect we will languish here for another day tomorrow.

This enormous commercial ship was very aptly named the 'Wasp'! and jolly annoying it was too with the speed it went past us causing great waves which dislodged our stuff inside the boat.

vendredi 21 août 2015


We booked a two night stay here at Lyon but we extended it to three as it was just so lovely here! We went by tripper boat up to the centre of town and then spent nine hours exploring Lyons and then took the boat back again.

The new museum at the Confluence
Our moorings at the Halte Fluviale, behind us the French equivalent of Bluewater!

a typical French square where we people watched and had a beer.

The two rivers , Saone and Rhone, visible from the Basilica

The funicular railway which took us up to the basilica.

The Basilica,

A mosaic wall, one of many inside the Basilica

The high Altar

Part of the ceiling.

church Of St Jean Le Baptiste

Entrance to one of the secret passages connecting the roads in the old town, part of the silk routes.

Cortyard inside one of the passages

Marble Statue by the courts of Justice.

John cooling off in the fountains.

Inside one of the best wool shops ever!

Beautiful stained glass window at St Viziers

Inside St Viziers

A weird boat!

Sculptured heads at the beginning of Lyon

A pagoda?

Our first view of the Basilica when we arrived in Lyon.
We spent our next day topping up supplies and then this morning 21st August we left Lyon to join the Rhone.
The spot where the Saone joins the Rhone, the 'Confluence'

unusual painted building

Exiting our first Rhone Lock!!!
Tonight we are moored at Vienne, tomorrow the adventure continues!

We continue on our way......

Having left Gigny we continued on our way intending to spend the next night at Tournus. When we arrived there we found that although Gesina had found a place there was no room for us so we said our farewells to our friends Maggie and Nigel and continued to Macon. Parts of the Saone here were very wide, the weather wasn't that good and it was all a bit bleak. We had bow waves breaking over the boat and I hid indoors for some of the way.......
Our moorings at Macon were not very nice but we didn't want to pay 30 euros a night to stay in the Port de Plaisance..It was also a long way from the town. We decided to spend two nights here to get some provisions and to look around the shops. Of course it was 15th August, a bank holiday in France so very few shops were open! We found this interesting signpost by the Port where the monstrous River Cruisers dock.....

This beautiful church was locked so we couldn't see inside!
An incredible wooden house in Macon.

St Nicholas Patron Saint for Sailors has been engraved into the bridge where  it can only be seen from the river.

We continued Sunday 16th on our way taking in the sights of this lovely town from the river.

I loved seeing these swans who were all standing on apparently nothing..... I decided that this was the Swan equivalent of Terraced housing!!

Some of the houses are very beautiful. We spent the next night at a free Halte Fluviale at St Romain des Isles. That night at gone midnight a huge hotel ship went past us at such a speed that they broke our stern rope. Fortunately the bow rope held, we also had our anchor down and were chained at the bows, but our stern got sucked out into the river caused by the monsters speed......

The next night we found this lovely rustic mooring right by some beautiful woods. Sadly Patrice took himself off his lead and got lost in the woods. We spent a horrid two hours calling and searching when it was beginning to get dark....and there he was by the boat drinking from the river. I enticed him in with a promise of 'ham' and I think we were both very glad to see each other!

Mr Heron was keeping his eye on us from the top of this red marker!

We left there Tuesday morning intending to just cruise for a couple of hours but all the moorings were either full or not suitable for our size of boat so 4 and a half hours later we moored in the Halte Fluviale at Lyons.

The Grand Adventure Begins For The Puddle Stone.....

We left St jean de Losne on 11th August together with our friends on Gesina and set off on our mighty task of navigating the Saone then the Rhone on our quest to the Mediterranean.

The Saone is a beautiful river, the following picture is the junction between the Soane and the Canal de Centre.

The downside of this huge river is definitely these River Monsters, masquerading as a holiday for some 250 odd people!

We spent our first night at Seurre then continued to reach Gergy for our second night. It was extremely hot and these three riders had just taken their mounts for a dip in the cooling river!
The second night we spent at Gigny, a disused lock used as a Port de Plaisance. It was very expensive for what we got (1Euro per metre) but a windwhipped up from somewhere the sky suddenly went black and a torrential rainshower ensued. We were paying for our stay at the time and had to run around the entire lock to reach our boat and found the sunumbrella destroyed and our belongings scattered over the top deck with some of our belongings having fallen into the river. My kindle was found teetering on top of the disused lock gate and its cover had reached a watery grave..... not happy!


We just spent one night there and then set off again!

samedi 15 août 2015

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Well, I know we promised regular blog entries this year but it hasn't happened so far and all I can say is sorry and I will endeavour to do much better. We made our way very slowly up the Burgundy Canal, not helped by two returns to the UK for family reasons but we finally reached StJean de Losne on the hottest day of the year in melting blistering sunshine in excess of 40degrees!!
Unwelcome sharing of the staircase up to Pouilly Tunnel with two tiny boats that did surprising things in each lock..they didn't really know what they were doing and it kept us on our toes all the way! Eventually we got to Pouilly and after a while met up with our friends Maggie and Ni on Gesina and Patrice was happy to share his dinner bowl with their dog 'Tashi'!

We set off through the Pouilly tunnel on our fial leg towards the mighty Rivers of the Soane and the Rhone. John had been leap frogging the car along with the boat which meant that we didn't go far each day. The Burgundy was very familiar to us but we gloried in these beautiful surroundings with the weather gettinh progressively hotter. We stayed close to Dijon at Plombieres as we had nasty experiences of staying in the port at Dijon. Here we topped up the boat with food, and met up with Elodie, Jean-Matthieu and beautiful little Clemence.
She really is one of the happiest children I have ever met!
We've met up with many old friends along the way and made loads of new ones but eventually there we were at the steps at St Jean de Losne and ready to start our big adventure to the Mediterranean....