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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Rochefort to Dole (Weds–Sun 18-22/11)

Posted by contentedsouls on 01/12/2015

3 locks, 19 kms

The whole time I stayed at St Symphorien whilst G was in the UK I was desperate to moor in Dole; but it was not to be be due to low water levels so we had to make do with a visit by car – call me ungrateful but it never feels as good as doing it on your own boat, it’s never quite so special somehow. The only photos I’ve shown you are the ones as we cruised through. Heading back into Dole the Plane trees had lost practically every leaf but still looked magnificent – I love that stretch from the lock approach down, through and into the centre.

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G knew how much I wanted to stop in the centre so we decided to have another go at mooring against the wall on our left – more than a bit of a struggle as we found ourselves fighting against a nasty off shore wind which had sprung up from nowhere. I did, jokingly, suggest that we moor at the lock where we had waited whilst the VNF guys retrieved the rock that was blocking the lock gates; it would be blocking the navigation but we hadn’t seen any boats since Baume and not a peniche in months.

So there we were on the wrong side of the river, trying to achieve mooring impossible, against the wind and heartily shouting instructions at each other when I spied a rather large vessel coming towards us. I increased the volume of my instructions to shout, “oncoming peniche”. G giggled, so I re-iterated, “NO, ONCOMING PENICHE”. I wasn’t expecting that!

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We clearly weren’t going to be able to moor there, so we carried on down through the ‘lock with a rock’ and moored back out on the river on a pontoon about 2 or 3 km outside of the city.

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Our main priority on the Thursday morning was to retrieve the car which we had left at Baume station. It had previously attracted attention from the Police last winter due to it’s foreign registration and our tendency to leave it lying around – in the current security state I wouldn’t have been totally surprised to find it subjected to a ‘controlled detonation’.

We walked into Dole station for the 100km journey and paid just 10.90 euros each and 7.30 euros for each dog – train travel here is so cheap. Our first train to Besancon was an old one with steep steps so G had to carry Baxter on; but the Besancon to Dole train was a doddle for him and he charmed the socks off the the two ladies that chose to sit next to us; G did alright too!

As we left the station we were stopped by a lady who had clearly heard us talking in English – she didn’t speak any English but, very emotionally, wished to thank us and all the English people for standing by France and singing their National Anthem at the French/English football match. This has happened to other Brits here too and it really matters to them.

Given that we had a half hour train delay we were too late to be choosy about lunch so we settled for a pizza and a taste of the season’s Beaujolais Nouveau.

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Baxter was extremely grateful to slump down and sleep in the back of the car (which hadn’t been detonated) on the way home and, to be truthful, the day was too much for him – his days for doing adventuring live only in his (noisy) dreams now.

Friday rained on and off most of the day and Bax was more than happy to snore his way through the day by the fire, only sticking his head above the parapet for essentials, whilst I felt guilty and was extra generous with the dog biscuits. Saturday G dropped me off in town whilst he went off to get combustibles for the fire (can’t get coal), but the intermittent icy rain did little for my enthusiasm and most of the photos here are those I took on the way up – this has to be one of my favourite places on this waterway.

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Whilst Parisien parking is fairly notorious, I rather think this chap wins the gold parking medal! The guy to our left has blocked off a third of the road to our right, but the man in the white Peugeot finishes the job and ensures that no-one can turn in or out. Whilst at it, he also ensures that he covers the pedestrian crossing too. I’m not being sexist – it was a he – and, in fairness, he was on an important mission; an urgent need to join the queue at the boulangerie for a baguette and he wouldn’t be gone longer than 10/15 minutes anyway.

Only in France.

The beautiful Dole:

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The surrounding countryside isn’t too shabby either

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This is a place I will return to.

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