Avskedsmiddag i Avignon
So long Lars
29/8 – 4/9
This week Björn has spent fixing some things in the boat.
The weather has been very good, sunny all the time so maybe there has been some time over even for a hard working captain.
Today in the evening Marita and Lars has come and they are very welcome.
Now the trip can go on with locks both up and down.
Marita and Lars met at the airport in Gothenburg and has made the whole long trip to Toul together.
Now this story will continuously be told by Marita from her notes I got from her. Thank you kindly Marita.
When we came to Toul station, Björn was standing there with his bike waiting for us. We went down to the boat and put all our luggage in. After that we went out and had a pizza. Back in the boat we had champagne and strawberry cake. Sunny weather all day. Toul has a very nice harbour.
Tuesday 6/9 Toul-Richardmenil
Sunny and hot. Shorts on immediately. We filled water and 11.30 we left Toul.
8 locks (3 down and 5 up) until we stopped inRichardmenil at 17.15.
That was 30 km. A long walk in the village. Much up and down. Highest up on the hill we found a restaurant where we had dinner.
Wednesday 7/9 Richardmenil-Charmes
Rain in the morning and sunny afternoon. At 9 we left and after 89 km we had made 15 locks. On the way we played seaman songs and had very fun and 3.30 PMwe had come to Charmes where we had a place outside El Mar,a rebuilt fishing boat from Øer in Denmark. The captain, Emil, was 75 years old. Further on in this story he will be known as The Dane. He showed to be asocial, and he also said so himself. He also called Björn asocial.
In Charmes we went up and bought some food in a supermarche. A lot of mobile homes were camping along the river. As usual we had something nice to eat in the evening, in the boat.
Thursday 8/9 Charmes - Epinal
At 8.45 we were in the lock together with the Dane but after that lock we let him go on his own. We had told him that we wanted to go before him because we were so fast and were in a hurry. That was too much for him. He said that he, despite he was alone, was equal fast.
He wanted to be alone in the lock, an asocial one. He promised us that we could go before him next day but next day when we asked him about this, he said that this he had never said. Very nice!!
In the night it was raining and some shady in the morning but very fine later on.
Epinal we reached at 4 and had gone 16 locks up. A shallow canal led into the city just 1.6 m deep so the Dane, and also Wolfgang we heard later, could not pass through. They had to stay at the branch. Good to get rid of the Dane.
There was some kind of event with bicycles and on the kay was a lot of bikes assembled.
We had a lovely evening.
Friday9/9 Epinal-Uzemain (lock#17 out in the wilderness)
We could not start until 9, there was no access to the lock before.
A little rain in the morning, raining cats and dogs on mid day but meanwhile we were inside having lunch while forcing the way to the next lock.
Vi startade 9.00. Litet regn på morgonen, sedan uppehåll och mitt på dagen hällregn, men då satt vi inne och åt lunch medan vi körde till nästa sluss.
In front of the next lock we had to wait for one hour while they cleaned it with high pressure water.
Together with a swiss couple we went through some locks but later on we let them afore so they could go together with the Dane. They squeezed in behind him and he was forced to move forward. For this he must have been very angry.
The swiss lady went between the locks on a bike and pressed the remote to make it faster and took the lines to make it really quick.
From Epinal we went 14 locks up and 16 down before we had to stop at Uzemain (lock # 17) at 7 PM, it was closed.
No worries, we had an unforgettable evening out there in the wilderness.
We had dinner with salmon and played songs on cd performed by Stefan Ljungqvist, very loud, there was not a living soul out there. An almost full moon was shining bright, beautiful!!!
The Dane stopped after the 14 locks up so now we are far in front of him. Some of the down locks here were manually driven and there were young, nice guys, students with a summer working, going between the locks on scooters and made the locks by hand. A tough job.
We went altogether 28,7 km and30 locks(14 up,16 down).
Saturday10/9 Uzemain (lock#17)-Pont-du-Bois (lock #39)
The sun was shining all day long from a clear blue sky.
We got up at 6.45 and after breakfast we tried to get through the lock but we had to stay til 9.
From now on, Lars went afore on bike pressing the remote to make it faster. In one place he also found a Boulangerie (bakery) and bought a bagette.
At lunch time he had found a nice restaurant just aside the canal where we had Spaghetti Carbonara. In a couple of locks we had trouble with the mashinery and had to wait for the personnel from VNF, the French Canals Company coming to fix it.
Today we reachedPont-du-Bois at5.20 PM where we stayed for the night. A nice place just aside with nothing but a water tap. Lars rigged our water hose in a bush and we had a lovely shower. Very nice after a long hot day.
For dinner Bjorn made an omelette with smoked pork and asparagus to that, lovely.
In the evening the moon was shining brightly again.
Today we made 22 locks.
Sunday11/9 Pont-du-Bois- Fouchécourt
The morning started with a shady weather and later in the afternoon we had some rain and thunder.
At 9 we started and stopped at Corre some minutes before 12. We wanted to buy some but could see a sign telling that it was open between 9 and 12 on sundays! We asked if there was another shop open but no.
Our computer programme, PC Navigo also stopped and we had no dongel to get it started again, we had borrowed it from Wolfgang and it was running as long as it was not stopped.
We also got stuck in the mud but could get free rather easy.
This was not a place for us so we went on.
Hardly we got out in the canal again when we saw a sign telling there was a restaurant inside a branch on the right side. We went up to the restaurant and had a lovely lunch with entrecote and frensh fries. Really good!
Very satisfied we went on and in the next lock we turned back the remote controller because now the Canal de l´Est was finished and we came intothe river Saone.
We went on toFouchécourt where we stopped at 5.35 PM. Much rain and thunder but got nice in the evening.Björn andLars cookedspagetti Boulognese.
12 locks down we made this day and 35,9 km. Now we were 381 km from Lyon.
Monday12/9 Fouchécourt-Vereux lock
Sunny all day long .
Around 10 we got to Port-sur-Saone where we stayed and had a great great shopping.
Cannot understand how we could manage to get it all down to the boat.
Now we passed two tunnels, first the St Albin Tunnel (681 m) and then the Savoyeux Tunnel (643 m).
At 7 PM we had only two more locks before Gray. In a furious speed we tried to reach the lock before it closed and when we had only at most 200 m the light went out. It was closed. We moored at the lock and had a wonderful evening and night in full moon. Beautiful.
During this day we had made 10 locks down an two tunnels, 85 km. Just 296 km to Lyon.
Tuesday13/9 Vereux lock –St-Jean-de-Losne
We started 8.45 in a light rain and at 11 we were in Gray where we bunkered water, had to pay 5 €. Expensive!!! We told the harbour captain that we could not stay at his bridge because we got stuck in the mud, could not get all the way in to the bridge. Went on to another bridge right beside a bridge over the river. On the brige, full of beautiful flower decorations, we stood watching the birds, hystericly bathing.
At 7.30 we got to St.-Jean-de-Losne and there the marina was absolutely full but managed to get into a minimal place between a large motorboat and the shore, deep enough for us, puuh.
In this place we should have met a couple of friends to Björn, - Ulla-Kristina and Björn Olsson if they had been here. They were out in the Bourgogne Canal with some charter guests with their big motor sailer. We met them later in Avignon.
Today we made 8 locks and 85 – 90 km.
Wednesday14/9 St.-Jean-de-Losne – Fleurville
7.30 this lovely morning we started and had breakfast on the go to gain some time. Lars and Björn was eating and I was driving and v v. Lovely sunny morning. We passed through two big locks, 200 m in length, in the morning. From now on you cannot pass a lock whithout having a waist on.
In Chalon-sur-Saone we made a stop for bunkering. Lars and Björn went away to shop in a Supermarket, Carrefour, while I was making lunch, Ravioli on can and bread. After lunch we got 122 liters of diesel fuel (1.5€ / lit) and continued our trip in a stunning weather.
In front of a big lock, ORME, (all of them were big from now on) we had red light and had to call them on VHF, channel 12. There was a big boat coming up so we had to wait. A very big passenger bark, Rembrandt from Basel, had to go in front of us in the lock.
At 7.30 we were in Fleurville, 98 km from Lyon. At a pontoon, where an old fishing man stood, we found our free birth. A big swan came up to us. We had a wonderful red sunset and moon shine - no, not the drink. Three locks and 105 km var dagens rekord.
Thursday 15/9 Fleurville-Lyon
Fantastic sunrise we had. We started at 7.30 and had breakfast on the run. Not one cloud on the sky. We passed Macon before 9 and met a big blue passenger ship, Provence.
At 10.30, Dracé lock and 11.30 we passed Montmerle while having our coffey.
At 12.30 we passed Jassans-Rottier appr. 41 km before Lyon. Here they had a big sand shipping. We arrived to Lyon at 15.30 and I called my good friend Vincent when we wore outside the harbour "The Port Confluent".
From his balkony he could see us and told the harbour captain to open the bridge to let us in. It is a fantastic Marina, quite new, only 4 months.
The danish people Dorthe och Bjarne, who Björn had met earlier were at the same bridge with their boat Bisse.
We had a shower and went up to Vincent. His apartment was 70 m² and had a balcony on both back and frontside with the whole apartment length. On the front side he saw the sun setting and had a view over the marina, the river Saône and the mountains behind the river. We had some wine and beer and a good chat.
Lars and Björn went down to the boat and fixed the dinner, salmon, potatoes and sauce Hollandaise. I was free to have a chat with Vincent. We all had dinner in the boat and Vincent thought it was thrilling to be in a boat. Vincent is a flight captain and he told us a lot about flying. We had a lot of questions and it was really interresting.
Björns Åsa had found a flight ticket for Lars on Ryan Air from Nimes via Brusseles to
Gothenburg on september 22. That was OK with Lars and Åsa bought it and sent the boarding cards to Björns e-mail to be printed out.
During this day we had made two locks and 98 km.
Friday 16/9 Lyon
This sunny morning we slept until 8, had a little breakfast and went up to Vincent. After Vincent had printed out the boardingcards for Lars, we went out on town.
The tram # 1 took us to Perrache, then the Metro to the point where we could go by a chain train steep right up to the Basilica. Vincent had bought one day travelling card for all of us and we could travel all over.
Up there we had a lovely view over Lyon but the sight was not clear enough to se the snowy top of Mont Blanc. We could only see the contour of the mountain a little waigh.
We went down to the old parts of Lyon and a little nice restaurant which was Vincents favorite where we had lunch. Then we looked around in the old town and the weather was very good.
Saône runs out in the Rhône right after the harbour we were in. We went over to Rhône and walked along until we came up to the Opera House. There, on the square, in the front of the Opera House, we sat down for a while looking at the skilled skate board runners.
Then we took the Metro to Perrache, changed to tram and went to IKEA.
We bought some swedish meat balls, mashed potatoes, Heering and some more. No Kalles Caviar. We wore back in the marina at 8 and said good bye to Vincent. He had to sleep early cause he was in stand by next day and could be called in for work. He has 1.5 hour to be in service after being called for. For dinner we had what we bought in IKEA plus an almond cake. There was some rain and thunder in the evening.
Saturday 17/9 Lyon - Les Roches de Condrieu
In the morning rain and thunder like in the evening.
We left the marina at 11 and Vincent waved us off from his balcony. After one km the Saône runs out into the Rhône. The first lock in Rhône was Pierre-Bénite. The locks now were much larger and had pollars going up and down. This lock was 11 m high or deep if you prefere.
There were wine yards on booth sides. We went on to Les Roches de Condrieu and stayed. Björn had heard about this harbour, it should be good. We were there at 4.30 and just as we had got moored it started raining cattle and thundering enormeously.
This day we had passed two locks and made 40 km.
Sunday 18 / 9 Les Roches de Condrieu - Port de Cruas
Today it was cloudy skies and when we came to the first lock, Sablons, heavy rain.
The stream was good so we had a fast run. Rain until two oclock then just clouds and in the afternoon some sun. After five locks down in Cruas there was a nuclear power station. Then we suddenly had a call on VHF: Älvan, Älvan, Thorbjörn calling! Wolfgang was calling. He had just seen us passing on the river. He had just had a chat with the danish couple about us. We turned around and in the harbour were both Bisseand Thorbjörn. Wolfgang told us that their cat Hexe had disappeared and that Rita was searching for her. Hexe returned later in the evening. I made some to eat for lunch and for dinner we had meat balls of course and fried potatoes.
Today we made 5 of theese big locks, takes long time, and 107 km with a good stream at our benefit.
Monday 19 / 9 Port de Cruas – L'Ardoise
We started at 10 after Thorbjörnand Bissehad left. Cloudy but no rain. We passed Valence, Montélimar and St Etienne de Sort and also three locks: Ecluse Chateauneuf (17 m), Ecluse de Bolene (23 m, highest in Rhône) and Ecluse de Caderousse (9 m).
At Ecluse de Bolene I called up on VHF in french. First time I use the VHF and had good help from Lars and Björn to Press and Release the button while talking or listening. At the next lock I just had to say ”Bon jour Monsieur” and there was green light. Lars thought that I should have done that long before but I think it was just beginners luck.
We saw several nuclear power staitions and also alot of burghs and castles up in the mountains. We had a good stream with us and also good wind from behind. It was so strong that we could not get moored in the meantime waiting for the lock to open. We had to run the motor all the time. The strong Mistral had caught us. Some two km after the last lock (this day) we went three km into a side canal up to L´Ardoise and landed at 7 PM.
In this harbour, a lagoon, everything was floating. Barks and pontoons for everything. The services was in the restaurant bark, open only at 11, 3 and 6. The key had to be asked for from a man in a motorboat. Yhe harbour captain, a woman, had her own bark.
In the lagon there was an very old big ship, sunk and stranded.
Today we made three locks down and with the stream 71 km.
Tuesday 20 / 9 L'Ardoise-Avignon
In the morning we woke up at 8 at the horrible sound from loading of macadam into a bark.
The Mistral was reigning even today. The sun was shining from a clear blue sky.
At 10.30 we went out and reached Avignon at 1.20 PM. The harbour captain told us that the office was open between 8 AM and 6 PM and that we could use the toilet and douch at theese hours.
A little lunch we had and then we went out to look at the city. In Carrefour City we made some shopping and took it to the boat.
Lars and Björn grilled some meat on the kay.
This day we only had one lock down and made 7 km.
Now we had reached the last harbour for Lars journey. Soon he was leaving us for going home to make some lobster fishing. This event is strictly limited in time so he had to be home in time for the start. Sept 26 I think it was.
Wednesday 21 / 9
Today, almost no wind and a clear blue sky. I woke up at 7.30 and had a shower at 8. We had breakfast and at 11 Björn and Lars had a shower. Then we went over to the railway staition to get the tickets for train to Nimes at 6.36 next morning. After this was done we went over to the Tourist Office where a very helpful lady ordered a taxi for us at 6.00 next morning.
Now it was time for lunch which we found in a very cosy restaurant on Rue des Tenturiers, named ”Au Rendez Vous”. We had a three dishes dinner and Vin Rouge to drink. Afterwords it showed that Lars was buying,-- our intention was to celebrate him! We had a nice time sitting there til around 3.30 when the very young and lovely little servant was about to close.
We went to se the Palace of the Popes and later the beautiful gardens and the beautiful views behind the Dome. After this we went down through the narrow small streets and passed the bridge of many mythes, the St. Benezét, Pont de Avignon, never finished all the way over to the other side.
At the kay Thorbjörn and Bisse were there when we came back.
After Lars had packed down his things we sat on deck and had a drink of Gin and Tonic and chocolate and peanuts until 10.45 in a very warm night, just shorts on.
To get up very early we had to strike the bed.
Thursday 22 / 9 Avignon - Lars going home
Sunny, blue sky. Up at 5 and had a very early brast. Then up to the Capitainery and the taxi at 6. Train to Nimes and the Navette to the airport. Lars checked in and we had tea and beer til the Navette went back 9.30. the plane left at 10.15. We went by bus back to Avignon. Much cheaper than the train.
On the way through the city we passed Les Halles where we bought a nice salmon just before they closed. Then up to Carrefour for potatoes and pork.
For lunch we had some cooked eggs, tuna fish and maionnaise. Then we went over to Thorbjörn and had a chat with Rita and Wolfgang.
Friday 23 / 9 Avignon
Sunny blue sky, still! Warm and nice and little wind.
After breakfast Björn helped me transmit my camera pictures to my computer. 844 pics from the tour on the canals with Älvan.
We had lunch and went to the Palace of the Popes where we took the electrical ”train” through the town showing all important there is to see. Afterwords we walked through the town and had a chat with Dorte and Bjarne, the danes, for a while. They said that Rita and Wolfgang had left earlier without saying good bye to them.
We paid for the fourth night and were told that we had the rest of the week for free. We decided to stay cause Björn had a lot of tecnical work to do and I had a lot with wrighting the diary to send to Åsa.
Saturday 24 / 9 Avignon
The same weather. After breakfast we started our work in the boat that would go on for several days.
In the afternoon Björn went by bike to Carrefour and I had a shower. During this time Björn Olsson and his wife Ulla-Kristina had called Björn and said that they were standing at the boat. They had come with their motorhome to visit us after leaving their boat in Saint Jean-de-Losne. They had also been down to the sea to have a bath in the Mediterranean Sea. Now they were on their way back home to Sweden.
We had a very nice evening together, dinner with marrinaised pork carré, Sause Bearnaise and Creme Brylé for Dessert and of course our good 10-liters box red wine. Their motorhome they could place beside our boat free for the night. They slept in the car.
Sunday 25 / 9 Avignon
Work all day. Oops! Did we forget to tell about the weather? Well its the same all week.
Today Dorte and Bjarne went off.
Monday 26 / 9 Avignon
The same as before. Very hot, we had to open all around and had only a bimini. We had not time to eat until 5 when Björn made some good food.
In the evening we went by bikes to a big Intermarché outside the big wall surrounding the inner city. Home with the stuff and then with the computers to Mc Donalds. Free internet if you buy something. We sent the diary to Åsa. The Palace of the Popes and the Dome were lighted up on all sides. Very mighty scenery. Some young people were playing accordeon, fiddle, guitarr and they were singing, very beautiful. People were sitting outside the restaurants and many just walked around. Wonderful weather, you could not feel that this was outside.
On deck we finished this day, late.
Tuesday 27 / 9 Still in Avignon
We don´t need to tell about the weather.
Half past eight we went over to a Swedish sail yacht which just had arrived and they had a little problem with the VHF. The power supply cable was tooooo thin. Maybe suitable for powering up a couple of LEDs! (Light Emitting Diodes) He got another cable from Björn.
They are going to England via the canals to sell the boat there. Per, the owner, had been in the Carribeeans for a year.
Still in Avignon. Some more job with electrical things.
We had a shower and more job until I had dinner ready at 7.30
Thursday 29 / 9
Still in Avignon. Everything the same. More work. Filled water. I read the book Skippers Advices. Björn called to Rönnäng in Sweden about his new electrical winch, never used, not functioning.
The horrible Dane had come to Avignon and had moored behind us. We almost fainted.
We wore lucky that he went off next day.
Friday 30 / 9
Same wonderful weather. Now we are off from Avignon.
We go to the fuel station at the capitainery for taking some diesel fuel.
Leaving Avignon at 9.30
The bad Dane had left earlier. Puh!
He should go to Navy Service and take up the boat he said. We hope he´s gone before we come there.
We take our breakfast during running to the lock Beaucaire Ecluse, in place at 11.30. We had to wait 45 minutes, two barks coming up. A french guy came up to us with a Jeanneau Espace which he lived in.
Before Arles we turned right, into the canal La Petite Rhône and had one lock before we came to St Gilles. At 4.30 we were there. In Lidl we found some to eat and had salmon and potatoes. On the kay there was a restaurant tent where they had a great party. Much people.
We could only use one electrical plate at a time cause the fuse was only 4 amps.
We made one lock and 15 km this day.