A little trip with friends and it is time to think about leaving.

Things didn’t start well. The weather was horrible, cold and wet, when our friends Debbie and Lloyd arrived on Saturday, September 17th, so we delayed our proposed trip up to Dole until Monday. Instead, on Sunday, they drove us to Château du Clos de Vougeot near Nuit-Saint-George, where in 1110 the monks of Citeaux Abbey started a domain that continued to produce wine until the end of WW2. It is very well restored and an interesting visit. Twice yearly they hold Le Tastevinage, when the jury made up of 250 ‘committed wine professionals’ gather in the Great Cellar to taste and answer these questions, “Does this wine reflect its appellation and vintage? Will it age well?” and “Would I be happy to offer a bottle to a friend?”. I know a few people who would like to join that committee!

We also drove to Domain Romanée Conti for a look at the tiny vineyard that produces one of the most expensive wine in the world. You can pay €10,000 a bottle in a restaurant. You can. I won’t.

Vosne-Romanée

Vosne-Romanée

The famous grapes. I wonder how much each of these will be worth.

The famous grapes. I wonder how much each of these will be worth.

Stunning landscape. Shame about the rain.

Stunning landscape. Shame about the rain.                 image

Back in the day...

Back in the day…

Chateau Clos de Vougeot

Chateau Clos de Vougeot today.

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Chateau Clos de Vougeot

Chateau Clos de Vougeot

On Monday the rain had stopped so we headed off up the river and onto the Canal du Rhône au Rhin, collecting our automatic lockdoor opener along the way. 9 locks later, having passed through the ‘Technologically Risky’ zone where a huge Solvay factory produces nasty chemicals like hydrochloric acid, bleach and all kinds of other lovely things (if a siren sounds you must hold your breath and get the hell out of there!), we arrived in stunning Dole.

Fabulous view of The Collegiale Notre-dame Basilica, Dole, and our little bateau in the foreground.

Fabulous view of The Collegiale Notre-dame Basilica, Dole, and our little bateau in the foreground.

We stopped at Dole for two nights. It’s such a beautiful town and one I waxed lyrically about (well, I like to think so) in 2014 so check out my earlier blog posts for the low down on Dole. We had dinner out one night and Lloyd cooked duck from the market the following night, along with a yummy cheesecake Debbie made for dessert. Delicious!

Dole

Dole

Market time

Market time

A few pics from a wander around Dole.

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On Wednesday the weather was lovely, the sun was shining.

Heading out of Dole, bound for Rochefort

Heading out of Dole, bound for Rochefort

We moved on up the canal to Rochefort, just an hour and a half away. It’s a 2 boat mooring with no electricity available but the scenery is beautiful with cliffs on one side of the river and a weir on the other. We walked up the hill for an awesome view of the Doubs river and surrounding countryside. This spot is a real favourite of ours. We brought out the bbq and cooked up sausages for dinner and watched the stars come out before the chill forced us indoors. It is definitely Autumn!

Stunning views from the hilltop in Rochefort.

Stunning views from the hilltop in Rochefort.

If you look really closely you can just see Silver Fern down below.

If you look really closely you can just see Silver Fern down below.

Thursday September 22 dawned sunny but very chilly and the river was shrouded in mist.

We woke to mist.

We woke to mist.

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Debbie and Lloyd rode our bikes back to Dole while we sailed back. I accidentally pushed the wrong button on our lock door remote control, causing the lock to set the wrong way, meaning I had to contact VNF to send a little man to fix it. Oops. He was an extremely cheerful man and we laughed gaily at my stupidity. He showed me how to fix the problem if it happened again and after a discussion about our on board herb garden we were on our way again.

We picked up our friends and the bikes at the lock in Dole and continued down towards the Saône river. The third to last lock, however, displayed two red lights meaning the lock was out of order. We nosed into the bank and staked up to wait. The VNF guy was clearing a lot of ‘herbes’ or weeds from around the lock gates, obviously blocking them. Eventually we were off again, dropped off our remote control at the last lock and headed back into the Saône and up to Auxonne.

Back onto the Saône river.

Back onto the Saône river.

Two nights in the Auxonne marina allowed us to peruse the Vendredi (Friday) market and Debbie and Lloyd to do some sightseeing. There is a military school here that Napoleon attended, apparently he was particularly good at maths! There was a market on but not a lot of produce. I guess it’s coming to the end of the season

Aperos on the deck in Auxonne.

Aperos on the deck in Auxonne.

Sunset in Auxonne. Notice the strange piece of a rainbow on the left.

Sunset in Auxonne. Notice the strange piece of a rainbow on the left.

We were adopted by a tiny ginger and white cat who made himself at home in the sun on the aft deck.

New crew member.

New crew member.

On our last morning we could hear him crying and along the pontoon he limped, soaked through having somehow fallen into the water. He had dragged himself up into the swim platform of a nearby boat and was drenched and shivering. Poor little guy. We wrapped him in a towel, dried him off and fed him. After he had finished some warm milk and had time in the sun we had to say au revoir and left him sitting on the pontoon watching us forlornly. If we lived in Europe full time he’d be coming with us but sadly we fly home to NZ in two weeks. Still feel horrible leaving him there, not knowing if he had a home to go to. 😪

This picture breaks my heart.

This picture breaks my heart.

We cruised back down the Saône to our home port, St Jean de Losne, and today we waved goodbye to Lloyd and Debbie as they headed back to Normandy. It was lovely having them on board and getting to share our adventures with them.
We will be packing up and heading back to NZ in two weeks so the countdown has begun! Lots to do. Maybe another little trip out if the weather holds. It has been amazing the last few days. Long may it last!

One of the hundreds of herons who make their home on the Saône river.

One of the hundreds of herons who make their home on the Saône river.

St Jean de Losne to Dole 5 hrs, 23 kms, 9 locks

Dole to Rochefort-sur-Nenon 1.6hrs, 7 kms, 2 locks

Rochefort-sur-Nenon to Auxonne 7.4 hrs, 39 kms, 12 locks

Auxonne to St Jean de Losne 1.6 hrs, 14 kms, 1 lock

About khodges2013

Alan and I divide our time between our apartment in Christchurch, New Zealand, and our 11.5m Dutch Cruiser, Silver Fern, on the canals in France. We started out hiring and eventually bought our boat in 2014. The two summers lifestyle is wonderful and we feel very lucky!
This entry was posted in Burgundy, Canal Rhone au Rhin, Dole, Doubs River, eclusiers, French Canal boating, French markets, Holiday 2016, Rochefort-sur-Nenon, Saone river, St Jean de Losne. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A little trip with friends and it is time to think about leaving.

  1. Terry says:

    ok Karen, u know the rules, no diets – no budgets. And why was Lloyd pointing you to the cheap Romanee Conti ? The good stuff is more like EUR20,000 a bottle… He’s bringing me back a bottle, but since you and Hodgie are home first, why dont you bring me one. I’ll square you away when you get here; honest (would I lie to you? Would I? )

    Like

  2. roz says:

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh how could you have left your latest crew member sitting there… Thats so unfortunate – Deb could have taken them for a few months! So cute

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lee Gossett says:

    Another stunning collections of photos. Had Mary found that kitten, she would have smuggled it home for sure. How much does a sip of that wine go for? Do people actually pay that for wine? Guess we move in different circles and will never know. Sad to know you folks will be heading for New Zealand soon and our visual treats will end. Hope to see you in New Zealand in April.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cheryl Hodges says:

    another great trip we have enjoyed your blurbs and photos
    thanks alot
    cheryl and Jim

    Like

  5. Lovely descriptions and story telling and pics, That rainbow is called a “sun dog” I believe. You can get them both sides too. Lucky you to see one. Xx

    Like

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