August 2000

Our barge about to enter a lock

We have been dreaming of cruising away for quite awhile now.  We thought we were ready to go last month, but then we found a few more jobs that needed to be done before we could leave.
We have had the same dream so many times now, we can picture it clearly.  Everyone that we know in Saint-Symphorien-sur-Saône and Saint-Jean-de-Losne will come out to wave goodbye to us. 

people standing on an old stone bridge, watching our barge pass underneath them




In fact, in our dream, we are surprised to see that the whole town of St. Jean turns out to say, "Bon Voyage", as we cruise under the bridge.




The shopkeepers, who have been so kind to us, come out to see us as we cruise down the main street of Saint-Jean-de-Losne.

Our friends Marc and Nelly standing in front of their store with our dog Toby


We float past our favorite hardware store, France Décor.  The owners Marc and Nelly Lesaulnier are out in front, and Toby hops off the boat to go see them. They put in our kitchen floor, did all of the wallpaper, and laid the carpet in our barge.  Not an easy job with all of the curves on a boat.

They always smile when we come into their shop; they seem to enjoy listening to our struggles with French. Toby likes going there, because they give him lots of duck flavored dog cookies.  If he ever runs away, we'll know where to find him.

We wave goodbye. We will miss their friendly smiles and their funny jokes.

  Joel standing in front of his newspaper store ready to hand us our newspaper



Just across the street Joel is outside of his shop, La Maison de la Presse, where we buy our newspapers, maps, and where we bought our huge French-English dictionary.  He has our newspaper, and hands it to us.  We wave to him and tell him to give his dog a little pat for us.

Madame Breuil in front of her bakery




We turn hard to port to sail past our favorite bakery lady, Madame Breuil. She is always so nice to us, and she has the very best croissants. She taught us all about how you should use small coins to make exact change in the bakery, and she patiently helped us learn how to ask for each item. She was always surprised to see that we were still in town. Most boaters don't stay here for seven months.  Now we really are saying goodbye.


 our butcher and his wife in front of their shop


 Now a turn to starboard, so that we can say goodbye to Les Morais.  They have the very best meats, cheeses and patés.  They also make wonderful prepared dishes of Coq au Vin, Porc Provençal and other tasty recipes. It was great not to have to worry about what to make for dinner when we were painting the boat all day.


 Madame Linda in her laundrymat


We see Madame Linda from the Laundromat in Dole, a town 30 kilometers from St. Jean de Losne.  In our dream she has apparently moved her shop to St. Jean. She has helped us do our laundry once a week for the past six months, until we moved onto the barge, where we have our own washer & dryer. She was so sweet that when we brought her a present on our last visit, she already had a present ready to give us.
 our dentist and her assistant

Suddenly we are back in our Dentist's office. But we don't mind because Dr. Nowak and her assistant were always very nice, and they never caused us any pain.

Then instead of cruising on the river, we float right along our favorite road on our way to St. Symphorien.  We drove this road everyday going from our gîte to our barge and back, and we watched the scenery change with the seasons.

a very pretty two lane windy country road



The little pony that lived in a field along the road was all by himself during the lonely winter months, but in the spring we were happy to see two ponies in the field.

The fields themselves, barren in the winter, looked beautiful in the spring and summer.




tiny two room building, the only bar in the village

We come to the little bar that is the only business in the village. We went there one night with friends, even though Nathalie had told us that they talk about strangers. We tried not to make any faux pas. We didn't want to be like the two English guys that we heard about. They each ordered a beer and a pastis at the same time. That was the talk of the town for quite awhile. We didn't stay long. The locals may not have even known that we were there, because we could barely see across the little room for all the cigarette smoke.


photo of a couple and their 10 year old daughter


We are on our way to see the owners of our gîte, Nathalie, Georges and their daughter Nina. They live just across the street from the bar. We use the bow thruster to make the tight turn into their courtyard. We cruise around to the backyard and moor in their swimming pool.

pool party behind the gîte






We come down the gangplank from the barge to find that they have arranged a going away party for us. Nathalie has prepared the food, and Georges has selected the wine, so everything will be delicious.

It is a great party, and as evening approaches everyone climbs on board, and we all sit around the table  on our back deck.

Our dream ends well, because this is what we have been looking forward to for the past seven months.

Soon we hope to make our first real cruise, and at the end of that long awaited day, we look forward to enjoying the sunset from our back deck with good friends, good food and a nice bottle of wine.


                           beautiful sunset which is also reflected in a glass of wine sitting on a ledge in the bottom left of the photo