Wednesday, 27 August 2014

17th - 23rd August

The Luciole crew were happy to welcome on board Nancy and Mike, their two daughters, KC and Kamin, son-in-laws Frank and Matt, and six lovely grandchildren for a week full of celebrations and firsts. We toasted to Mike and Nancy's 50th wedding anniversary, Frank and KC's 9th wedding anniversary and to our youngest ever pilots Maggie and Matthew, only 3 and 4 years old, who sweetly joined Captain Cisco at the helm of our mighty barge!

Lots of 'Little Captainettes' on the Luciole this week
We were also joined for the week by chef Damien visiting our regular Chef Marc and together they produced a plethora of celebration cakes and meals for both the younger and elder generations to enjoy. They were frequently visited in the galley by Matt and his daughter Maddie, age 10, who took great interest in the culinary prowess of our chefs. Tom aided in the loading and unloading of bicycles and our very special trailer for the little ones between locks when the family would head off along the towpath to enjoy the scenic lanes along the Nivernais canal.

Cycling along the towpath beside the Nivernais Canal

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

10th - 16th August

We've had an interesting last few days, a week of mishaps, adventures and rare occurrences. But this is the Luciole and happiness and laughter always prevail, the rest is simply a backdrop. Especially with a group as charming and friendly as these.

The lock of Basseville was unusually closed for two days causing us to stop at a couple of new mooring locations and attempt a number of extremely complex manoeuvres, testing Captain Francisco and Matelot Tom to the limit. As a result we spent Thursday and Friday nights respectively at the lovely Chatel Censoir and the wild and beautiful Pousseaux. We also decided to forego Noyers this week and instead visited the fascinating museum de la mode in Avallon, an excellent find by tour guide Anna.

Captain Francisco and Deck-hand Tom.

The other unfortunate news of the week was the hospitalization of one passenger before his arrival on the barge, the passenger in question being the father of the matelot in fact. Thankfully he was released before the end of the week, we only hope his shorter cruise and half a week of Marc's food was enough and that he had a good time regardless and makes a full and speedy recovery.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

3rd - 9th August

Our chef Marc had this week highlighted on his calendar since the beginning of the season.  The reason being, his mentor and hero chef Robert MacPherson was cruising on the Luciole, with his wife Jacqui.

The starter on the Sunday night paraded succulent scallops, crispy pancetta, cauliflower swipe with a garnish of curried cauliflower beignets and pea shoots and lastly, not forgetting, all the way from the Highlands of Scotland delicious 'black pudding'.

Wish we could have bottled the laughter that rang out throughout the week from breakfast to late.  Such delightful passengers.  Sadly two ladies were thwarted joining the Luciole for this cruise - but we greatly look forward to welcoming them aboard at the end of the season.  No doubt it will be here befoe we know it!

We may well have taken a record on the Luciole of having three crew members whose parents crewed barges, decades ago.  George - whose father Richard began hotel barging, Alice - her parents worked on barges on the Burgundy Canal and Tris - youngest lad of John and Penny Liley.  As ever, the Luciole family atmosphere continues.

Chef Marc with his mentor Robert
Delicious starter of scallops

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

27 July - 2 August

A delightful charter group on board of friends and family, gathered together by Stephen and Clare.  The sunflower season is in full swing now, great swathes of flwoer fields.  Appropriately in France the flower is called 'Tournesol' meaning 'turn to the sun'.

Sunflower season is here again
The cruise took us from Auxerre to Clamecy and William, matelot from a few seasons ago returned to steer much of the route, including the famous Basseville lock entrance, when the Luciole navigates across the current of the River Yonne into the lock beyond.  The video on our YouTube chanel shows the entrance into the lock:

Saturday, 2 August 2014

20th - 26th July

Xin chào and càm õn to our extremely excellent Vietnamese passengers who have travelled all the way from the USA to join us here on the Luciole. Three generations of these lovely people brightened our week and spread the cheer daily, even if the weather was being less than cooperative at times it never dampened their spirits or slowed their picture taking fingers!

Our lovely charter group - fun memories of horse riding and cycling beside the canal
In the sunshine the bikes were disembarked and the group would explore in force, riding up and down the towpath and onto the little tracks leading into parts unknown. Austin and An-nam racing off into the lead, group leader Lilia walking alongside us, chief photographer Robert riding back and forth in search of the perfect shot and Ytien and Chloe (two of the sweetest young ladies I've had the good fortune to meet) decorating their bikes with wild flowers.

Finally I want to wish a happy 8th birthday again to An-nam! We hope you had a memorable one and perhaps we will see "y'all" again soon. 

13th - 19th July

It's been a beautiful week here in Burgundy, and just like the sun reappearing from behind the clouds so too returns our third time guests Terrence and Frances, cruising this time with their family.  We were joined also by Gordon who flew from Australia for his family reunion and of course we must not forget our talented musician Larry, from Chicago, who displayed his undeniable talents in jamming sessions on board. The week was marked by the easy days of cruising(for Francisco) as he was assisted by the three very lovely young ladies, Eloise, Anne-Marie and Zoe along with Zoe's father Philip.

The weather has been glorious and every day passengers and crew alike would wander down to the local swimming spots on the river, expertly guided by chef and part time swimming enthusiast Marc. There are lovely locations for a quick dip all along the route and always places close to our over night stops. A particular favourite amongst ourselves and the locals is at the village of Lucy sur Yonne, just a couple of hundred meters from where the boat spends the night. The riverside beach at Vermenton is a very close second. They all have their charm however and whether you prefer quiet and secluded, wild and fun or busy and well tamed, there's always a good place to cool off.

Cruising on a beautiful summer's day