contentedsouls

Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

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Laissey to Besancon (Tues/Weds 10 & 11/11)

Posted by contentedsouls on 20/11/2015

5 locks, 22 kms

At the last minute we decided to reach Besancon in one day – we didn’t leave until 11.30 and left a sparkling wake behind us. It was just as well we made that decision as we were being picked up for dinner in Besancon Wednesday night and Wednesday turned out to be another Bank Holiday which meant the locks were closed, so we wouldn’t have been there.

The forestry people were clearing branches from the water and pulling down precarious ones still on the trees. We then spotted what looked like a tunnel vent with a pigeon loft on the top?

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On reaching the staircase lock (there are two doubles on the water we’ve covered) the watered emptied as normal but one top paddle stayed open so, as the gates went to open to let us into the second chamber, the top chamber started to fill and they closed again … and opened … and closed. With no ropes on we were in danger of going up the very lively lock in reverse as it back filled. Eventually the bottom gates held at about 3” apart which allowed the water levels to equalise long enough for them to open. A fairly unpleasant few minutes though.

Reaching the outskirts of Besancon we turned left through the tunnel, rather than go round the loop, as we were heading for a different mooring. At the end of the tunnel is a lock which was ready and waiting for us with a green light; our destination a pontoon mooring immediately after the lock.

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More than ready to more up, we cruised in and lifted the bar ….. nothing; no lights, bells (or whistles). I climbed the ladder and found an unoccupied office with 2 telephone numbers on a note on the door. I phoned and, eventually, someone came and turned the lock on. This new mooring was much prettier than the one we’d stayed at before and free, but was just a tiny bit too close to the road for my comfort for to let Daisy out. To my delight we were moored in the one area of the ‘loop’ that I hadn’t had time to explore; so the dogs and I headed off to the parks before it got dark.

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G and I headed off to explore the new part of the city and, to our delight, found an early evening market bustling with people. We think we were in the student quarter and enjoyed a beer whilst watching the world go by before heading back for supper.

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The next day we were clear to do some shopping and find a present to take to our hosts for dinner in the evening. This was the point where we realised it was a bank holiday as everything was, apparently, closed. Walking on into the centre we were relieved to find an open florist and were able to buy a Calla plant to take with a jar of something homemade. We bought filled baguettes and sat outside a bar and ate them washed down with a beer in the warm sunshine and then I discovered that Gallerie Lafayette was open so I managed to find something rather nice to wear in the evening.

The Calla Lilley didn’t turn out to be a good choice as two thirds of the room we dined in was filled with floor to ceiling cacti – not a flower or pot plant to be seen! Am I the only one who finds giant cacti really scary? They were great hosts and we were also joined by their son and his girlfriend plus Brigitte; with whom we had dined before. Like father, like son – Emile was also a good musician and played the accordion(?) which should have been accompanied by their dog singing. As is usually the case, however, the dog refused to perform on demand!

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Marc kindly drove us back to the boat and we agreed to meet up on the following Saturday at St Vit where his band was playing – the timing would work perfectly with our loose cruising schedule and there was a reasonable mooring there.

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2 Responses to “Laissey to Besancon (Tues/Weds 10 & 11/11)”

  1. andywindy said

    I think I’d have been a bit more worried in that Staircase lock, “A fairly unpleasant few minutes though.” probably doesn’t do it justice.
    Yes it looks like an Accordian to me, though He’d probably have had more luck asking the Rhino in the background to sing in public, Dogs seem to be like Kids in that they perform when THEY want to!
    I’m glad I don’t have the power bill for the outside lights of that Citadel on the hill, I wouldn’t think there are many Stargazers setting their Telescopes up within a mile of that! (I thought for a second the French had their own Blanc version of the Northern lights!)

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    • Yes it was worrying – what I don’t like is that you have absolutely no control, unlike UK locks. Even if we’d hit the emergency stop the water would have carried on pouring through.
      Well spotted on the rhino and I think my camera isn’t terribly good at night shots – the Citadel isn’t that dazzling in realtiy

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