Map showing Canal de Nivernaise area

 Back to the French recollections. I have been somewhat pre-occupied with buying Shangri-La, as you may have noticed.
This is part 5 of some recollections of our canal boat holiday on the Canal de Nivernaise in 2008.
I think Clamecy was a turning point for us in two ways.
Firstly it was the turn around point in our Canal du Nevernaise trip.
Secondly, it was when we realised that to enjoy the European waterways to their full extent,
we needed our our on boat.
Looking at the map in the first picture, one can see that we really did not cover much ground at all in a whole month! We started out at Joigny, turned around at Clemacy and finished at Auxerre.

The lock at Clamecy

The whole point of cruising the canal is to go at a leisurely pace. If you like a place and want to stop a few days there, you must.
The decision to turn around at Clamecy was somewhat influenced by locks! Had we ventured further, we would have had to ascend through a lot of locks, just to come back down
in a day or so.

Thus we stayed at Clamecy.
And it turned out to be a good decision.
Clamecy was a lovely little town.

Moored at Clamecy

The usual patissierie, boulangerie and a weekly fresh veggie market.
In the main street was Mon Oncle Benjamin – a bar come cafe which seemed to be the centre of all the action.
They had free wifi (the French call it wee fee), and tv screens giving continuous lotto draws.
We would pop in daily to check our emails, do any internet chores, and have a coffee or a ‘pression’ which is a small draft beer.
There was a continuous stream of young local fellas passing through, playing lotto and chatting up the barmaid, who was quite cute and knew it!

Main street at Clamecy with Mon Oncle Benjamin on right

Each morning, I would go up to the patissierie and buy us some fresh bread or almond croissants, which we would have for breakfast while watching the world go by. A most relaxing existance.
We also nearly had free mooring for the duration. French civil servants work strict hours and certainly not on weekends. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and the harbour master
was already off duty. About midday on the Monday, he came knocking at the boat, asking how long we had been there and how long we wanted to stay. We planned to leave on the Tuesday,
so owned up to having been there since Friday, and paid for our four nights. The exhorbitant fee of 4 Euros per night. For that we had electricity and water.
On the Tuesday morning, we headed back down through the lock, towards Auxerre. In true French style, the lock keeper was nowhere to be found so we simply had to wait till
he arrived. Nothing happens very quickly in France – which is half the pleasure. We go boating to relax, after all.
C’est la vie.

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