A Travellerspoint blog

Time to Catch Up

Time flies when you're having fun!

sunny 29 °C

Ok, so it has been a little while. Seriously every day is so busy we are exhausted by the time we make it back to our rom. Anyway we are now down in Tarascon and tomorrow is our last day of activity before we head back to Paris on Saturday. Boo!

It has continued to be fabulous. WE have only had one rainy morning that cleared up by lunch time. We have visited the Valhrona chocolate factory (well actually Dawn and I dashed there after our wine tasting and castle tour). Everything was on display to taste...and taste we did. YUMMMMMMMMMMM.

Posted by burgeea 11:50 Archived in France Comments (1)

What Day is it?

No seriously, what day is it?????

sunny 28 °C

Okay, so it is very easy to lose track of the days and even harder to try and find time to write this! We have been sailing since 1.00 pm and are currently going through probably the last lock before we reach our destination of Tournon shortly. SO as I sit in the room writing this the boat is dropping rapidly as the water goes out of the lock to take us down to the new water level. Quite ingenious things they are and fun to watch. It's like going down in a very slow elevator!

Early this morning we left Lyon for Vienne. Had a walking tour around Vienne and then walked around the Saturday market that is sort of a Vic market but all through the little streets and laneways. Great fresh produce and the usual clothes, bags, kids stuff etc that you would expect to find. We then set sail during lunch for Tournon and spent the afternoon out on deck watching the French countryside go by. They shut down the main sun deck leaving just the front one on top and the one below. We had fun watching the bridge lower and raise itself to make sure we fit under some of the bridges. I have to say it is not too much of a hardship sitting and watching the French countryside roll by.

Typically I have taken a walking tour of the city we are in. Have to say that Lyon was VERY crowded. There were several boats in dock (we had to walk through another one to get to shore) and I have to say ours always looks the best. In Lyon we were not only bombarded by other tour groups but also by busloads of school children. Clearly the year is about to end and they are all out on class trips trying to fill in the time. Shudder!!!! The last night docked there was very noisy as France beat Switzerland in the world cup. Car horns being honked, spontaneous fireworks being let off and copious shouting was the lullaby sending us off to dreamland!

In a recent development I actually won a French speaking competition on the boat. The tour director gave a French class to those interested. see photo with us practising the correct way to purse your lips! I had to recite a French tongue twister (without reading from the page) both first thing in the morning the next day and at our daily port talk that tells everyone what the timing for the next day is. The tongue twister in English is: The hunter who hunts without his dog is a good hunter. I will happily recite to anyone who wishes to hear the French version when I return!!!!! Anyway I was the only one who even bothered to try (yes I am a little competitive and knew my family would never believe me!!!). And the end result was winning a box of macaron from one of the best producers in Lyon. Desperately needed of course because it is impossible to get fed on this trip (NOT!!!!).

Last night we dined in the up market restaurant on the boat (we each get one booking). The staff here are brilliant and we had heaps of fun with them. They were photo bombing our snaps, served me an empty bowl at one point (it was later filled with soup) and did synchronised serving / removing of plates. We had a great laugh all night as did they.

Tonight we also dined at the even snootier table being one where a degustation menu is served along with paired wines. So all spelling, typo's etc are down to that! Oooh, plus we just lost power for a few minutes and were plunged into darkness!!!! And it's about 10.45 pm so it is finally dark here. ANyway, I digress. Woops - anther power loss. If this blog doesn' publish you will hear my anguished cry form there!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fabulous meal and wine tonight but everyone is glad we have a later start tomorrow than normal. ON our side of the boat things are not being helped by the start of a jazz festival that runs across the country starting tonight. We are on the town side of the boat rather than the river side. Could be interesting.

ANyway a fabulous time is being had b us both, los of fantastic sights, plenty of yummy food and wine but also a minimum of 12,00 stpes each day (alhtogh tragedy struck today when my pedometer reset itself late in the day after I had achieved my 12,500 steps. AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!. A lot of people recognise me as the lady doing laps of the sun deck!

Anyway. Bye for now and looj out for some new photo's being postex.

Posted by burgeea 13:17 Archived in France Comments (0)

On the Move

Chateau, Truffles, Wine Tastings......

semi-overcast 25 °C

So if this comes across a little muddled that 's because we are sitting on the balcony (window closed as it has just started raining) sipping French champagne (yes that is champagne and not sparkling!). Dinner is in about 45 minutes and in about 30 we go to our daily briefing of the events for tomorrow. I tell you, there is always something going on . We have actually blown off a 45 minute talk on Burgundy region to grab a few minutes to ourselves.

We finally set sail yesterday during the gala dinner (ie dress up a little bit people!!!). We did pass through a lock during dinner. It was impossible to tell whether we were going up or down and there was no discernible change to the sailing apart from a dirty great wall surrounding us. We had spent the morning in Beaune - gorgeous town with a 14th century hospital for the locals that was in use until about 1974. Amazing multi coloured tiled roof that is specific to this region. You had to be there! After that we wandered the town before a tour of one of the town wineries cellars in an old church across the road from the hospital.. I do have a spooky picture where a face appears. Wine was so-so. They only do Chardonnay and Pinot noir in this region so that was what we tasted along with Blackcurrant Cassis. Mix with Champagne to ma e kir royale.

Today was a visit to a chateau followed by a visit to a truffle farm (the fungus, not chocolate). Instead of using pigs, these days they use dogs. IN this case it was a gorgeous one called Chinook who was 10 years old and was so friendly she won even me over! Didn't look a day over about 4 and clearly loves her job! Although she was finding far too many that are close to the surface and not even close to being ripe!

We then set sail at lunchtime for Macon. Supposed to be a 2 hour trip but ended up being three. That was fine. We had some free time and spent it up on the sun deck watching the countryside roll by in the sun. Captain Jane, fear not I am at 18303 steps today as I spent about an hour walking the track on the sun deck (another lady joining me after a few laps) as we sailed.

We then went into Macon once we docked for another stroll around. Went into a church and a US choir were rehearsing for a performance tonight. Magical.


Posted by burgeea 09:11 Archived in France Comments (0)

We Are On The Boat!!!!!


sunny 25 °C

So day 2 in Paris saw us travelling around on one of the many different HOHO buses. After doing two different routes that took us around central Paris, Champs Elysee, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame and Montparnasse, we hopped off at Notre Dame to get some lunch. Deciding to forgo the tourist ones on the main drag, we headed down a side street and found a cute little restaurant with loads of character. Some wine, some cheese and a snooty waiter made for a perfect afternoon in the sun with the top of Notre Dame just visible above the maintenance workshop we were sitting opposite. We meandered back to the hotel (nothing to do with the mount of wine drunk!) through the back streets of the real Paris. A Pierre Herme macaron shop crossed our path so we had to go and buy some (renowned macaron chef). We still have not had them yet - awaiting the right occasion.

At the very quick tour briefing that evening we were told the trains were still on strike no so fast train to Dijon for us to get to the boat. Instead the much slower bus. So we headed out of Paris at 8.00 am and reached Dijon around 1.00. After a lunch of croissants pilfered at breakfast we wandered the gorgeous streets of Dijon. Such a beautiful centre with the former Dukes of Burgundy building a MASSIVE palace there for themselves. After a couple of hours free time wandering around, we then boarded the bus to the boat. Dawn and I were gobsmacked when we saw the cabin. It is superb. Lots of happy dancing ensued! Our butler came and introduced himself and we played with all the buttons we could find, lowering and raising windows. After not very long it was down to the buffet welcome dinner. Kerrie and Jane avert your gaze now - wine, cheese and bread were my vice. I can easily see how you could put on 10 kgs in 5 minutes in this atmosphere. And the staff encourage you along.

Anyway, it has exceeded expectations and we haven't even done anything yet!!!!

Tomorrow is our first tour to Beaune and a winery. We set sail for Tournou as we dine.

Stay tuned....

Posted by burgeea 12:38 Archived in France Comments (1)

Bonjour Paris

On foot

sunny 25 °C

First to Jane, 23,000 steps so far today and counting!!! Yes my legs are tired. As our room was not to be ready until 3.00 pm we headed out to some nearby sights. First the Opera Garnier, which was stunning. Richly decorated there was a lot to take in. From there it was a short hop across to Gallerie Lafayette (Dept Store) with an amazing central dome of stained glass and a rooftop view of the city including that tower thingy Paris is famous for. We then decided to have lunch in a café with on street seating (SOOOOOOOOOO Paris!) and then tackled finding Sacre Coeur on foot. Given it sits atop one of the only hills in Paris it should have been in our sights more often than it was. Still my steady navigating (helped by the ever increasing number of souvenir shops meant we were nearly there. It is a spectacular sight. Unfortunately there are a lot of mainly Africans swarming and bombarding you trying to get money. So we had to run the gauntlet of that which was not pleasant. A short wait and we were in the church and lit a candle for Claire there (even though we aren't religious and especially not Catholic!). We then wandered the very touristy streets of Montmartre. Filled with shops trying to flog paintings of anything. By this time our room was ready so we wandered down some other back streets - these clearly the places the locals go to shop, have a coffee with friends etc. And arrived safely back at the hotel relieved to rest our aching feet. Tomorrow will be a HOHO bus around town to get the lie of the land for when we return.

Posted by burgeea 18:49 Archived in France Comments (1)

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