Last part of the trip – Dole to St Jean-de-Losne
It was lovely to have our friends El and Mo an board for the next few days. El got the full lock experience, with 9 locks in one day, down the canalized part of the River Doubs. The weather was great and all locks except one operated okay. Of course we arrived at the troublesome lock at lunchtime, so lost an hour waiting for the VNF man to come and sort it out. At the last lock, No 75, we handed back the remote control unit, and then we were back on the wider expanses of the River Saone.
Our route – to St Jean-de-Losne, back up to Auxonne and again back to St Jean-de-Losne might seema bit strange. But we had a good reason. Our friends had left their hired car parked at Dole. Due to infrequent trains from St Jean, as well as the different train lines, it would have been a nightmare for them to get from St Jean to Dole. But from Auxonne to Dole is about 10 mins by train. So it was easier to go by boat to Auxonne, drop them off and return to St Jean ourselves. And the river Saone is very pleasant at this time of the year, and hardly flowing at all, so no problem to go upstream.
Back on the Saone
So, after a short 2 hour trip down the Saone, we arrived back at H2O marina in St Jean-de-Losne. It really did feel like coming back home, as this has been Shangri La’s home berth since we arrived here at end of 2015.
After a brief walk around the town, supper at Sauconna hotel, where I had stayed for a week while working on Shangrai La at the beginning of the year, and a short stroll along the river looking at other boats it was back on board for a final eveing with our friends.
Next morning it was hot and sunny again. We made an early start upstream, through the one lock and arrived at the H2O marina in Auxonne. Bonus! Because we have a permanent mooring in St Jean with H2O, we did not have to pay for mooring here!
El and I walked up to the station and took the short train ride back to Dole, collected their car and were back in Auxonne by about 1 pm. Last good-byes, and they were on their way – to Switzerland!
One lovely thing about this sort of boating, is meeting other boaters. Karen and I walked up town for a few supplies, and we bumped into 2 Danish chaps who had helped us tie up in Auxonne. It was still very hot so their offer of a cooling glass of rose wine was gladly accepted! And some lively conversation ensued, and we learned much about boating in and around the Baltic. It had taken them 4 months to come from Denmark to France.
Following day it really was the final leg, back to St Jean-de-Losne, where we would leave Shangri La while I went back to work.
The next few days were spent cleaning the boat, doing laundry, a few small repairs – and trying to keep cool!
On Saturday night, we found out there was a free concert at the marina. A live band called ‘French Floyd’ with a tribute to Pink Floyd. Definitely our kind of music. And they were very good too!
Sunday night our Danish friends had also arrived here in St Jean, and visited us on our boat, with of course a bottle of wine! Another pleasant evening on board.
And next morning it was off early to the station for the trek back to London.
Next up – we take a short trip down to Chalon-sur-Saone and back.
You can read Karen’s accounts of our travels here