“We both woke up feeling really ill this morning. The day was grey and rainy, so instead of exploring Lere further, we stayed on the vessel, eating delicious eggs, and of course ham, cheese, all the usual, and with good books for company. We stayed like that until mid-afternoon, knowing we didn’t have far to go to reach Chatillon-sur-Loire, but not feeling up to doing much at all.
When we eventually set off from Lere, wonder of wonders, the sun came out again. The air was beautiful, the birds were singing, the sky was blue. It was warm and wonderful sitting up on top of the vessel as it glided, you could almost say slid, along the sparkling surface of the canal.
The scenery was really beautiful, with lots of lovely canal-side homes to check out. All of this, of course, overseen by that nuclear power plant. No doubt about it, this is what must be responsible for the obvious affluence in this area.
This is not an area of old, tumble-down, character-filled houses but of beautifully kept places with lush gardens.
|How beautiful are these canal-side homes.|
Coming into Chatillon-sur-Loire was just delightful – absolutely beautiful countryside to enjoy, all to the fabulous soft sounds of jazz playing from the iPod. Forget what music you think you will want, on a slow, lazy boat trip jazz wins hands down, particularly lots of syrupy saxophone or piano that sounds like ice-cubes clinking together in a glass of whiskey.
As we eased to the end of our canal boat trip, our lovely friend, Monsieur Heron, did one final fly past, and then turned and headed back down the canal again, no doubt to act as the lead for the next boat of happy cruisers. He added so much to this trip as it was fantastic each morning to stand on deck, look around, and see him rise from the bushes and set off, flying low over the water ahead of us, always beckoning us to follow. What a wonderful added bonus to any cruise.
|The French government should employ me to|
travel around and check out their town halls.
Chatillon is a really large marina/port, and there were boats there of every size and description, which of course the man revelled in ambling around and photographing, no doubt imagining himself captaining some day. We tied up at the dock in front of Connoisseur/Crown Blue. As I say, the port was really full but there was a really helpful Crown Blue staff member, an Englishman from Norfolk more used to the Norfolk Broads, who guided us in and tied off the mooring lines for us. That was really appreciated when parking the boat in such a tight spot.
After securing the vessel, we walked up to the centre ville (centre of town). Chatillon is really a lovely looking place, with some wonderful architecture, and, as with other places we had stopped at along the way, we really wish we had more time to spend here. It’s a good sized town also, with quite a lot of shops. We went into a pharmacy, and, touching my head for effect, I managed to tell the pharmacist “J’ai mal a la tête”. She nodded. I then touched my chest and throat, gave a weak cough, and followed that with “Et j’ai mal a la gorge”. She definitely got the idea. She asked if I had a fever, and I had to confess that, no, it hadn’t reached that point. She gave me/us some cough syrup, headache pills and cold tabs, and we went on our way wishing that we had got such supplies days ago.
|I love the purple door on this house|
and the old stone cottage behind it.
We wandered around for a while, admiring houses, particularly those half-timbered ones, and chatting to cats. Despite the general perception, there are more cats as pets in France than dogs, and you find the friendly little creatures everywhere, and they always ready for a chat. Oh, and there really is no language barrier – a chuck under the chin, a tickle behind the ear is all that’s needed for good communication.
|The dining area on our lovely Cirrus|
(looks better by candlelight)
Discovering quite a big alimentation, we purchased a few goodies – quiche, chicken, more wonderful tomatoes, olives – for our last meal of the trip, knowing that there was no way we were up to dining out. What a bummer. And, how marvellous, we came across the most fantastic patisserie where we managed to pick up the very best medicine of all: cream cakes. Oh, I love this country with its wonderful cakes which are never super-sized but are always super-delicious.
|And the perfectly workable kitchen (oops, galley).|
After dinner on the front deck, we had a few more drinks and then a fairly early night.
|And our comfortable bed (but we'll buy some|
better pillows in future)
Crazy, maybe because of the medications, maybe because fate was having a good old laugh, whatever the reason, it was the best, and most restful night’s sleep of the whole trip.”
Catch you tomorrow, when we travel by train back to the City of Light.