Friday 29 June to Tuesday 3 July
St Leger to Chalon-sur-Saone
Friday was a catch up with cleaning the boat, shopping and getting ready for Karen’s friend Linda joining us.
St Leger is a lovely stopping place. It is a Locaboat hire base so has all the amenities. The wifi is sort of okay, but we had found a little local bar with cheap beer and wine prices and good wifi.
Linda duly arrived by train, but about an hour later than expected due to some issue with the train driver at Dijon who seemed to abandon his train! There is an ongoing rail strike here in France and the trains are a bit hit and miss.
When we got back to the boat I was demonstrating the workings of the various water system when we heard water running where it shouldn’t be!! The hot water pipe had come off at the cylinder. Fortunately, I am now in the habit of turning the water pump off when we leave the boat, or we would have had an empty water tank. Easy to fix but most inconvenient.
Then a lovely evening on board with Karen and Linda who are old school friends catching up on the past.
Next morning while having the usual look around the engine space I noticed something strange! The support for the oil lift pump appeared to have come loose and was lying at a funny angle. Discovered the bolts had vibrated loose, and one had fallen into the bilge. Again, not too serious but needed to be fixed before setting off.
Finally got going and did the 4 locks down to Santenay where we stopped and walked up to the village for lunch. Had a most enjoyable lunch with some local wine. Then carried on boating and moored up in Chagny marina.
Mixed feelings on this marina – Good finger jetties with electricity and water, but no amenities at all. Also, the surrounds are somewhat industrial and not particularly pretty.
But the town of Chagny is lovely and only a short walk away.
That evening we walked up there and found a café/bar with wifi and spent some tie catching up. It is also Soccer World Cup time and France were playing so there was much jollity around.
One of the main reasons for visiting Changny was the Sunday market. I dashed up in the morning to get some croissants and to find where the market was. That was not hard as it took place through the whole centre of town! And a very good market it was. All the usual lovely fresh produce as well as everything from clothes to mattresses.
We also paid a visit to the Tourist Info where we remembered that the lady there used to live in South Africa. While there we phoned the Canal Control Centre and arranged to be at the first lock at 11 o’clock. It is a chain of 11 locks down to Fragnes where we planned to stop.
Duly got going and arrive at the lock to find the locks off with no lights!! And set the wrong way. So frustrating. I phoned again and voila the lady turned on the system and things happened.
I fail completely to see why it is so hard for them to just leave the system in operation. And having phoned ahead why she could not have set the lock ready!!??
We got going locking down, together with a hire boat. All going well till about halfway when we arrived at a lock – and no lights!! Yet another phone call and so easily the lady switched it on. Again it escapes me what the problem is. They know we are on the canal, which direction we are going, exactly where we are so why we keep having to phone I will never know!!
Someone had mentioned that Fragnes had had a revamp. And indeed it was a lovely stopping place. Plenty of electricity and water points. Wifi that worked. Good ablutions at the Capitainerie (only when it was open though). A very pleasant young lady capitain came and collected the modest 12 Euros for the night. But there is not really much else there except a good boulangerie and a hairdresser.
It was still stinking hot so we collapsed under the trees until it cooled down. As can be seen in the photos we had to put up sun screens all over the boat!
Another lovely evening on board chatting and reminiscing.
Monday we made the short trip down to Chalon-sur-Saone. We planned it that way as one needs to arrive late morning in Chalon otherwise it might already be full. A relatively easy trip with the one very deep lock – 10.7 metres.
It was wonderful to be back on the Saone and open the throttle a bit after having to bumble along at 7 ks/hr.
Arrive at the marina just before lunch. Still plenty of room, but by 3 o’clock it was full!
We love Chalon. The marina is excellent, if slightly more expensive – about Euro 20/night. But this includes electricity, water, toilets, showers and the wifi worked! They also have the facility for dumping old oil or dirty water. Very handy as I had to get rid of the 20 L of now dirty water that had ended up in the bilge after the problem with the hot water pipe.
But there are loads of other reasons to like Chalon. Loads of shops. A big Carrefour, a Bricolage, a lovely health shop where we stock up with vegan and organic products, a good tourist info centre, some restaurants where we can get vegan meals etc etc!!! And of course loads of lovely old buildings, with some amazing wall art!
Karen’s friend Linda needed to get back home so we went up to the station to check out trains and buses. Booked her on the Flixbus! Never heard of it before but it is much cheaper than the train and only about 30 mins longer.
We tried to have a coffee at our favourite café – but it was Monday! Monday in France – most places shut!
But then another pleasant evening on board.
Tuesday morning was a late start with the usual smoothie for breakfast and then a stroll up to the Gare to see Karen’s friend off. On the way we had an early lunch, with wine and beer, and almost vegan as our salad had an hard-boiled egg on top. At home we are 100% vegan but when travelling we occasionally must accept that it is not easy.
And of course, have a look at Karen’s blog here for her take on things!