My Travel Blog

New Friends on the Burgundy Canal

It’s springtime in France. Life’s palate has blossomed, or should I say exploded into a rainbow of colors, musical birds, the smell of fresh cut grass, and so much more to savor. It’s a combination that’s guaranteed to bring joy to our hearts. With the new spring we also met some new friends on an old familiar boat.

We originally met Georgie and Greg six years ago on their boat Zambezi. We’ve stayed in touch, and met on the canals a couple of times over the years. We were driving by the harbor in Saint Jean de Losne, and noticed that Zambezi had just been launched. Grocery bags were lined up on her deck. Naturally we assumed our friends were aboard. I stopped the car. We ran over excited to see them. When we knocked on the boat, and called out their names we were in for a surprise! Michael popped his head up and asked if he could help us. We told him that we were friends of Georgie and Greg and were wondering if they were aboard. Michael explained that they were not, and that he and Carol had chartered Zambezi for five weeks. Being boaters we began to talk, and rapidly discovered we had a great deal in common. Michael invited us aboard. Carol brought out hors d’oeuvres, and Michael opened a bottle of champagne.By the time were done Michael and Carol had been invited to Rabelo for dinner that night. Needless to say we had a delightful evening, and agreed to meet further up the Burgundy Canal.

A new family of ducks.

Heading to Dijon we found fresh fields of yellow mustard.

The next day we met our friends Sandy and Alain at the train station in Dijon. This was their second time on Rabelo, and we were looking forward to sharing our amazing life on the canals of France with them. Our fist stop was the Chateau de Chateauneuf. It is just a short 45-minute walk up a moderate incline from one of our favorite moorings at Vandeness en Auxois. Fortunately there are a couple of nice restaurants in the village on top of the hill where we typically enjoy lunch after our walk.

Note the road we walk up to visit Chateauneuf.

Sandy and Alain next to the well at Chateauneuf.

Some friendly Charolais cows on the walk up to Chateauneuf.

I can’t say if it’s the new spring or just being back on our barge, but Lisa and I can’t help being overwhelmed by our good fortune. Be it surrounded by vibrant colors, or the children that want to know everything about Rabelo. The silly smiles on our faces won’t go away. Even the dogs that come to visit us are special. Be it a house for ducks that looks like a windmill, a mural on the side of a building, a young family riding along the canal, or the amazing clouds that fill the sky above, we can’t help but feel blessed for what this special country has to offer. Did I mention the wine, cheese, baguettes or all the other incredible foods we love so much? With tongue in cheek we call this, “suffering.”

An unusual duck house.

The children want to know why Rabelo goes up in the lock.

We always have treats for the local dogs.

We love this picture of a young man staring at the canal.

Lots of families out riding their bikes.

The clouds never cease to amaze us.


– 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.