Au’revoir and Kia Ora. It’s time to chase the Summer south.

Autumn has definitely arrived. Here is our local heron on pontoon duty in front our our boat. Loving the colours!

Autumn has definitely arrived. Here is our local heron on pontoon duty in front our boat. Loving the colours!

It’s that time of year, folks. We have only three more days in France and then homeward bound (to our other home because Silver Fern really does feel like a home now).
Someone said it doesn’t feel like we had been gone for long but since leaving Christchurch in early May we have been to Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic (or should I say Czechia), Cornwall, Devon, Farnham, Paris and Normandy. Then onto the boat we traversed the Yonne River, the Canal de Bourgogne, the Saône river, down to Lyon and up to Auxonne, as well as the Canal Rhône au Rhin/Doub River. It feels like we left NZ a long time ago.

This years boat cruising totals are:

773 kms, 263 locks and 145 engine hours.

On the Canal de Bourgogne alone we traversed 189 locks in 242kms. No wonder I have a sore arm!

So we’ve been pretty busy this year but now it’s time to start the process of winterising Silver Fern before we depart on Saturday. She is staying in the water this year and there is lots to do including eating up any food that won’t keep, hence a big pasta cook up. It’s amazing what you can throw in a pasta dish, even grated Morbier cheese tastes good on top. I cut all the best bits from our herb garden to throw in as well before the rest get binned.

Big pasta cook up.

Big pasta cook up.

Tasted pretty good.

Tasted pretty good.

All the sheets and towels need washing and drying before we go.

Lots of laundry to do before we tuck Silver Fern up for the winter.

Lots of laundry to do before we tuck Silver Fern up for the winter.

The Bimini is coming down to be stored in the V berth.

The weather has turned chilly. Overnight temperatures have been dipping as low as 5° and the blustery wind is cold. I’ve been reduced to sleeping in thermals as our cabin is near the waterline and so particularly chilly at night. This is all excellent as we can now look forward to our Southern Hemisphere summer in NZ!

We needed to top up our diesel tank one last time so we had a quick jaunt out onto the river on Tuesday. Although really chilly it was so nice to have one last potter up the river before we tied up onto the fuel pontoon and filled ‘er up.

Captain Hodges at the helm taking us out of the port de plaisance one last time this year.

Captain Hodges at the helm taking us out of the port de plaisance one last time this year.

Shameless selfie.

Shameless selfie.

On Saturday lunchtime we need to get to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and, bizarrely, we will take a train from St Jean de Losne south to Bourg-en-Bresse, change to another south bound train, arriving in Lyon where we board a north bound TGV to CDG airport. There were a few other options but they either required an overnight stop in Dijon with a 7am train departure the next morning or hiring a car. We chose the train so we can relax and watch the world go by in reasonable comfort. The downside is lugging our luggage (so that’s where that word comes from!) on and off three different trains but that’s what husbands are for, right?

Saturday night we’ll stay at the Novotel in the Terminal and board our flight to Singapore at 12pm the next day. 13 hours later we hit Singapore (hopefully not literally) where we have a 13 hour layover so we’ve booked 6 hours at the Ambassador Hotel in the departure lounge for a shower and a lie down before back on board at 7.45pm for our last leg of this rather long journey, 9 hours 45mins to Christchurch arriving at 10.30am Tuesday local time.

Phew. I feel tired just thinking about it! But it’s all worth it and we are really looking forward to seeing the kids and grandkids and catching up with friends.

Here are a few pics from our last few days in St Jean de Losne.

Yarn-bombing is all the rage en France at the moment!

Yarn-bombing is all the rage en France at the moment!

image image

Too far?

Birthday lunch for me this week.

Birthday lunch for me this week and no I didn’t eat all those frites.

Dragon boats ready to battle at the champs last weekend.

Dragon boats ready to battle at the champs last weekend.

When dragon boating meets yard bombing beautiful things happen. Ok weird things happen.

When dragon boating meets yard bombing beautiful things happen. Ok weird things happen. Clever though, hein?

Bisous and Kia Ora


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 boat, France, French Canal boating, Holiday 2016, Paris, Saone river, St Jean de Losne, Travel, Yarn bombing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Au’revoir and Kia Ora. It’s time to chase the Summer south.

  1. L Whelan says:

    Wow that is some adventure and all put into km and lock numbers , you will have more wonderful memories to tell over a fire side chat and a small glass of whatever.
    Will catchup when down Christchurch to exactly that.
    Safe travels on the return journey.


  2. philstevo says:

    Catch ya back in NZ, and bring some summer with you please!


  3. Lee Gossett says:

    It’s a sad day here at Gossettville, knowing your travel adventures will end soon. So enjoy tagging along with you. Look forward to meeting you for lunch in Christchurch in late March and ‘shin dig’ in Queenstown in April. Much catching up to do.


  4. shelbr says:

    We will be in Burgundy on a 8.8m LeBoat end of May to June 2017, travelling from St Jean-de-Losne (thanks for the headsup on how to pronounce) to Louhans and return if we get that far in two weeks. I hope we don’t have to rush it. We did same on Charente River this year for two weeks, which was absolutely wonderful. Even though the few locks were manual, the towns were most convenient and welcoming with free electricity and water and we managed to be in the right place at the right time for the markets. Even the smallest villages had a boulangerie, coop, and the news agency sold wine. I think our trip in Burgundy next year has a greater degree of difficulty. On the Charente there was always a landing or pontoon at each village and if we had to (which we did not), it was easier to moor in the wild as the sides of the river/canal were vertical. We found the electricity essential for mooring for warmth before we went to bed and first thing in the morning as it was too cold for us from the tropics, and to charge up the IT equipment, so I fear that there may be moorings which don’t have electricity. And I see that you had to pay mooring fees – so different from the Charente. Do we have to take the long diversion from SJdL to Seurre? Any advice, warnings, headsups on towns, moorings, cafes, etc. would be most appreciated. Love what I have read so far.


    • khodges2013 says:

      Hi. Thanks for reading. I’m pleased my blog is answering same of your questions. St Jean-de-Losne to Louhans is a nice return trip and not too far. Two weeks is plenty. Seurre is a picturesque stop with shops including a supermarket and a few boulangeries to choose from.
      You do have to use the derivation heading down there but from Seurre you can cruise part the way up the actual river. I’m told there is a nice restaurant at the top end . But it is a dead end so you’ll have to come back again.
      Chalon-sur-Saone is also an excellent stop. It’s a beautiful small city with loads to see and an island of restaurants close to the marina. A fantastic boulangerie too! There are three markets a week.
      The Saône is a lovely river with a bit of commercial traffic. Don’t forget you need to wear your life jacket in those big locks.
      Once you are on the Seille river there are only 4 or 5 locks. The first one is manned then the rest are self operated but simple and easy to handle. It sounds like you did some on the Charente (I haven’t been done there but it sounds lovely).
      The Seille is quite rural and pretty. One of the villages, Cuisery, is known for its second hand book shops. La Truchere is another good spot with some lovely restaurants. You can order your next mornings bread from the Capitainerie. Very handy!
      Check out my posts for that area and if you have any questions let me know.
      Thanks again for reading. Oh and there are so many people cruising on their boats well into their 70’s and even 80’s!


      • shelbr says:

        Thanks so much for responding. I am reading all your blogs for the area and making notes to see what is left to raise questions about. I am at the part where you describe your weefee problems. At Le Boat base, we hired a pocket modem for (I think) 10 euros a day which is ok for 2 weeks but not so good for 4 months for you. But you may be able to find an equivalent much cheaper for a longer term. In another blog, I read a while back, an Australian couple while in France were lent what sounds like a similar gadget.

        It was incredibly valuable for us. Le Boat supply an app where we can follow our progress on the river, know where we are and know what is coming up around the bend, ie. a lock, a pontoon, a bridge, a village, etc. Although I suppose we could have done the same on my iPad maps app, but not without the pocket modem. I carried both the modem and my iPad open at maps through the towns and villages – helped us find the way and, in some cases, if not all, where the boulangeries, restaurants, cafes, supermarches, etc are. Market places don’t seem to be marked though which is a shame.

        I really missed that pocket modem when we left the boat, as like you, we found our Orange prepaid quite useless. We were told that as we were now Orange customers, I could use the telephone account for internet on my iPad. It did not work that way, as another Orange outlet informed us. We were told we had unlimited calls and texts. However, after a flurry of texts back to Australia because an emergency had occurred while we were away, we kept getting messages to pay some more (in French of course), which I ignored. Suddenly, we could not send another text. Next Orange outlet told us, non, we only get 5 Euros worth of international calls and texts, so we had to top it up.

        We had also visited SFR. In Australia, Telstra Air had been widely promoted. If we join that we can use our home internet data allowance via their equivalent called Fon in France and other countries. In Australia, it means if we pull up outside a house that is connected to Telstra Air, we can use their modem as an antennae (laywoman’s terms) to connect to our home internet data allowance. Except there are very few connections in the city where I live, although I can do same sitting beside a Telstra Air public phone box if I had need to. I know that works. I checked a Fon website for a village in France and nearly every home and business had Fon. So there should be no problems …

        SNF denied the possibility, although it is described on their own website, as they have an affiliation with Telstra Australia. In Australia, a young woman told me she uses her Fon connection everytime she travels to Singapore, for example.

        So there are two options you could follow up with. I am sure Telstra NZ would have the same deal as us in Australia (it was free) but it took months to get the connection right as no one seemed to know what to do. And maybe talk to Le Boat people at SJdL, or maybe Paris is better, because once your know what to do, you will need to be at a major centre to see if you can purchase a pocket modem and plan for long term. I am going to hound Telstra about using Telstra Air overseas, but so far keep getting new people who do not have a clue about it.
        Regards, Sheryl


      • khodges2013 says:

        That certainly sounds interesting, albeit a little complicated. The Le Boat deal at 10€ a day sounds very expensive but handy if you’re only hiring for a short time. We have heard Free might be a good option as they allegedly accept international credit cards and have a good monthly deal. Orange not accepting our NZ credit card is our main problem and SFR told us they are the same.
        Thanks for your comments, I’ll check it out. Good luck with your trip planning!


  5. shelbr says:

    I must add we will be 66 and 69 years old next year, so not spring chickens!


  6. carol palmer says:

    Just read this Karen! Another very enjoyable commentary – so true about ‘luggage’ and lugging!! And those yarn photos … well what a thing that is …. a first for me. xx


  7. shelbr says:

    Hi Karen, I hope you and yours faired ok during/after another earthquake. I have an uncle living in Wellington and he said they had some destruction there. I finally read ALL your canal trips. Canal boating is addictive … almost tempted to buy one ourselves. The waterways where you go are quite extensive, giving you lots of different options.

    I have checked my records and I think we paid 7 euros per day for the pocket modem plus a deposit which was refunded (still expensive long term). I have made notes of the mooring charges where you have mentioned them (we were spoiled on the Charente) and restaurants. We had planned on staying 2 nights at each centre and explore the town during the day as we did on the Charente but there are too many towns to do that on this trip to Louhans and return. So maybe we will stop for lunch at every 2nd town and stay 2 nights at next. However, it does not seem possible to just moor for lunch and ‘hunting and gathering’ without having to pay a night mooring fee as there does not seem to be any casual (free) pontoons. I am hoping you can advise me differently on that, please?

    Maybe we will have to just go on to Macon instead of Louhan/Branges before we turn around again.

    With the help of prepurchasing Editions du Breil “Bourgogne Franche-Comte” and “Loire Nivernais” (our possible next trip 2018 – either the Sancerre section or the Nivernais canal) and apple maps, I have gone over our route (and yours). I had chosen this section of the Saone River because of its minimal locks. I empathise with you regarding the fatigue and fibrositis from all that lock work. I was told I had CFS and fibrositis, etc, but after 9 years of complaining, my hips broke up and I actually had Haemochromatosis – the aggressive kind (a mix of Scandinavian and Scottish heritage). The delay in diagnosing caused all sorts of problems so I have limits. My husband has it too but the less aggressive kind.

    Now, ‘unfortunately’, we are arriving from Italy (by Thello through Switzerland – bed bugs – yikes!) after a week in Tuscany and back to Rome, at Dijon early Sunday morning, hopefully in time to catch the early morning run to St Jean-de-Losne. We are booked into Les Charmilles Sunday night, with walking distance to Le Boat base. As we know Sundays and Mondays can be dicey for dinner and food shopping, I am hoping you can help out here too. I think Auberge de La Marine is open Sunday evening, (it was booked out accommodation wise when I tried to book months ago), but hoping for somewhere closer. It is not market day in St JdL on Monday (and often Coops shut on Mondays), so a heads up there would be appreciated too.

    In fact, I think we will manage to match our stop overs with market days only at Chalon which seems to have numerous market days.

    We found Auberge meals the best for a nice meal out (they usually serve vegetables with their main!), fish/seafood and salad good too, but we avoid the expensive gourmet with dots of sauce on the plate which are really works of art. And the 13 Euros fixed price places are most welcome.

    Now you often mention “time for a Peneche!” which I am thinking is the local aperitif, but I cannot find any mention of that except that it is a Portuguese town/area and a canal boating company. On the Charente, we had Pineau de Charente. So what is the local tipple – apart from wine, of course?

    Sorry for all my questions (probably missed some). Oh, another one – do moorings require cash payments, or do they take credit cards?

    Looking forward to your answers, much appreciated


    • khodges2013 says:

      Hi Sheryl. Thanks for your comments.

      Tournus is a free mooring but popular so get there in the early to mid afternoon. Half the pontoon is reserved for hire boats (but from hire company Canalous, if I remember correctly) but the other half has free power and water. On the other side of the bridge the quay is also available. Tournus is a great town too.

      In Mâcon there is a short quay on the other side of the town and a new marina a km or 2 out of town. The marina has a charge but is very smart.

      Regarding St JdL the Casino (supermarket) has started opening all day (8.30-1930) except Sunday (8.30-12.45) so no lunch break (yay). It is very close to Le Boat so handy for your supplies.
      Regarding the restaurants you can never tell whether they will be open or not. The Auberge de la Marine does have good food though. It might pay to book. Perhaps Le Boat can do that. There is a very nice woman who works there, at Le Boat.

      A Peniché is a shandy! Bought in a bottle already mixed. Delish on a hot day. I also quite like a Kir (creme de cassis and wine) or Kir Royale (using champagne). Otherwise Pastis if you’re brave 🙂 For Alan it’s all about the vin.

      Lastly moorings usually accept credit/debit cards. It pays to have some cash though. Occasionally if the mooring is run by the Mairie the person who comes around in the evening may not have a portable eftpos machine.

      So, hope this helps. Your trip sounds amazing. You know my experience of the Thello! I’d bring a sleeping sheet if you’re planning to sleep. Maybe they’ve picked up their game now. Good luck 😉



      • shelbr says:

        Hi Karen, Yes, I have enjoyed a pastis or few while in France – the anise taste is very refreshing. As far as I can gather, it does not contain “the green fairy”.

        Perhaps the moorings where we pay might offer a couple of hours at a reduced rate just for stopping for lunch. Asking the Le Boat lady to book the Auberge for dinner for us sounds like a good idea. We have to ask her to organise a taxi from railway station on the Sunday too. I looked at the 2kms and I thought dragging suitcases along the road might be their undoing, if not mine.

        Thanks for your help and advice. Let me know if you think of anything else. I envy the time you can spend canalling while we have only limited time. I expect you will be much further away by the time we are there next year.


        Liked by 1 person

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