My Travel Blog

Back To France!

We’re back on our floating home.  Ireland was great.  We will definitely return, and cover all the things we missed.  While we were gone Rabelo was delivered back to her permanent mooring in Saint Jean de Losne with help from Kevin, our captain from last year.  Lisa doesn’t care for Saint Jean de Losne, and wanted to leave as soon as possible.  We spent two days taking care of miscellaneous chores along with a major marketing, and we were off.  Dijon was our next stop.

You may wonder why we keep Rabelo in a place that Lisa, and for that matter I don’t care for.  There are actually a number of very good reasons.  Saint Jean de Losne is in the middle of France. There are five different rivers or canals that connect to all the other navigable canals and rivers of Europe within forty miles of where we moor.  We are in the heart of the barging world in France, and therefore the easiest place to find parts or get things fixed, and that’s a big deal.

The Burgundy Canal between Saint Jean de Losne and Dijon is about as boring as any in France.  It is dead straight for 35 kilometers and surrounded by nothing but flat farmland.  Fortunately, once past Dijon you enter the Oche Valley, which is beautiful, and the reason everyone wants to experience the Burgundy Canal.

Rabelo on the Soane River, which is much better than the southern section of the Burgundy canal.

This was how they moved barges, or used women and children when mules were not available.

Rabelo’s main salon. No wonder I can’t get Lisa to help tow Rabelo.

On our way to Dijon we literally bumped into some old friends.  Rory and Caroline were moving their spectacular hotel barge Apres Tout from Dijon to the Soane River. When two 38-meter barges cross on the Burgundy Canal it gets interesting.  Apres Tout was in a lock when we first spotted her.  I pulled Rabelo over to the side of the canal where there happened to be a couple of bollards, and tied up.  It was so shallow we couldn’t get close to the bank.  Rabelo was sticking out almost to the center of the canal and Rory’s barge draws more water than Rabelo.  How were we ever going to pass?

Rory sliding Apres Tout past Rabelo.

Rory inched Apres Tout up to us, and stopped the engine. Then he literally slid Apres Tout past Rabelo by hand.  Rory’s been driving boats a long time and handled a difficult situation with great skill and finesse.  He made it look easy, and taught me a lesson.

The main reason we were headed to Dijon was to have our pilothouse worked on.  Kevin managed to perform a temporary fix, but I wanted the manufacturer to make sure everything was ship shape.

While in Dijon we tried a new restaurant. It was in the crypt of an old church.

One of our favorite dishes is Oeufs Meurette . In this image you can see the blue flame of burning alcohol, and a raw egg at the top of the jar. When the flamed burned out the egg was cooked.

Taking a nap next to us at the restaurant.

The other day we had an interesting, and oh so French, experience while on our daily baguette sojourn.  We paid for our bread and the evening’s dessert, and as we were leaving we both said, “Au revoir” to the cashier.  There were probably five complete strangers behind us.  As we passed each one they all said, “Au revoir” to us.  You have to love the French.

Man cannot live on bread alone.

Au revoir… Au revoir, Au revoir, Au revoir, Au revoir, Au revoir.

– Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.