Wednesday, 22 October 2014

12th - 18th October

The penultimate week of the Luciole's 2014 season is unexpectedly and very sadly upon us. On a happier note however, we have thirteen lovely guests keeping us company as we cruise from Coulanges-sur-Yonne to Auxerre. 11 Americans and 2 Brits make up this merry bunch, and merry they certainly were,as the wine flowed and beers were cracked open in the still miraculously glorious autumnal sun.

It felt like a week of real camaraderie as the passengers clicked so quickly with each other and with the crew. Due to their being only 3 men on board, alongside 10 women, a boys club very quickly formed with headquarters on the deck. This is where you would generally find Gordon, Robert and Bob, putting the world to rights and "supervising" the boats navigation, beers in hands. Indeed Bob could well have been made an honourary crew member and paid a wage for the amount of assistance he offered throughout the week. At every single lock of the route he would be supervising, opening gates, or just having a conversation with the lock keeper. So thank you Bob, for your tireless efforts.

Finally I would like to say congratulations from all the crew to Robert and Marilyn on their 65th wedding anniversary, we hope yourselves and your daughters had an excellent stay and enjoyed your week as much as we enjoyed ours.

The gang pose at Chablis, with, as Anna describes him, the dashing Sebastian.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

5th October - 11th October

A very special week on the Luciole this week, especially so for Captain Francisco, as his Aunt Carmen was onboard, alongside a group of eight and a group of four Americans, who have spent their holidays travelling together for many years. The constant laughter permeated every inch of the boat as the passengers divulged in a sudden favourite past time for all, playing bridge and drinking wine. All overseen and organised to perfection by Carmen. It's a bit of a running joke for passengers to play bridge, it gets mentioned week after week, but it's never the case that people actually play the game! So it was nice to see everyone put their gambling heads on and start betting some serious amounts of dried beans. Perhaps it was the Chilean influence wearing off. 

The route was also slightly altered this week due to maintenance on the formidable lock of Basseville again, as a result we decided to stop at the ever pleasant Chatel Censoir, and the rather spectacular Coulanges, an untried location for the Luciole but one that was definitely worth stopping for, even if just for the spectacular skies.

The week ended with an excellent ambience, with a hint of sadness as Francisco's final speech after captain's dinner took a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about Christmas' spent at Aunt Carmens and finally paying her back for her hospitality with a little hospitality of his own aboard the Luciole.

Francisco and Carmen sitting down for captain's dinner.

The sun setting over Coulanges-sur-Yonne

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

28th September - 4th October

The first week of October is here, and somehow the Luciole's final month cruising for the season is upon us, the crew all swear we only arrived in France yesterday, or that's the way it feels perhaps! The weather is still bright and beautiful, and the canal is still as active and full of life as ever. Much the same could be said about our passengers as we welcome aboard six Canadians and eight Americans for a week of splendour in the sunshine.

When the weather is good it's natural for people to walk and cycle and enjoy the scenery of the Nivernais as it passes them by from the comfort of the deck. But this week our resident adventurers Mitch and Mary-Lou explored much more than the canal and paths local to us, and decided to meet tour guide Anna and company in Vezelay on the Tuesday, making them the first passengers I've ever seen to do it. Not only this but they performed the same feat heading to Auxerre on friday, and perhaps most impressively of all, managed to successfully locate an open bar in the middle of the week, something very few guests have ever achieved, though not through lack of trying! But then that's Burgundy for you, it may be quiet and you may have to plan your shopping trips or drinks in advance and with due care, but I suppose it's part of the charm and it's one of many reasons to love it.

Marc looking very pleased with his newly acquired (enormous) autumn vegetables, courtesy of everyone's favourite lock keeper Cindy.

Roger and Elaine, Mo and Ken posing specifically for the blog photo in Bazoches. We thought it was essential seeing as Ken is such an avid reader of my blog.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

21st - 27th September

For the final week of September, and also I'm very sad to say our fifth final week of the season, we have a very special charter hailing from the States, twelve excellent people from San Francisco and one lovely couple from New York. This group has known each other for many years and have been travelling the world and cycling across America for the past twenty years together, and now they have their chance to take on a new challenge along the tow-paths of the Nivernais.

The cycling may be gentler and flatter here, the pace of the boat slow and relaxed, but being energetic after one of Marc's exceptional buffet lunches, followed by a selection of cheeses is no mean feat, and it's best not to mention the lunchtime wines! Regardless of this very unique set of difficulties, cycling and walking were in full swing and very popular, as was staying on deck by the remainder of the group, mostly husbands enjoying a beer in the sun, shouting out jokes and hurling abuse at their wives as they passed by. And so was set the tone for the week, a happy week full of constant laughter and familiarity. Thus is life on The Luciole, each week it's own set of qualities that differentiate it from the last, but always the same atmosphere of calm, happiness and our pure appreciation of the beautiful place we are so fortunate to spend our time in and get to share with so many good people. Life is peachy.

 A very typical scene of the last 6 days, this picture is taken just before the lock of Basseville.

The sun setting at Lucy sur Yonne. One example of the wonder we witness every day.