Barge-ing in (un)…

Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 in Melbournian Girl Abroad | 0 comments

Barge-ing in (un)…

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Have you ever walked past those canals in Europe (be you in France, Holland the UK or elsewhere) and wondered what it might be like to live on one of those pretty canal boats as they putter along the canals and rivers or Moore softly against a verdant patch of grass?

Well I have been lucky enough to have spent the last six days (well six days anyway because who knows when I will find an Internet connection to get this post up) leading the gentle life on a barge in France. After my air sick adventures (yes, I was that girl) I was a little trepadatious about committing nearly a week of time to a life on water…silly me. It’s lovely.

After waking briskly early on Sunday morning I began my nearly twelve hour journey (including five different trains) to Digoine in France to meet Mother and Father MG. Upon alighting entirely ungraciously from the amazing French TGV rail service I was greeted with hugs and very French kisses on both cheeks as my evil luggage (luggage in my opinion is always evil once you have had to lug it about for any duration further than the car to a trolley) was kindly removed from my grasp.

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We strolled along the pretty canal bank to the mooring (don’t I sound in the know – “mooring”) called the ‘wood pile’. This was my earliest introductions to the French (I can only assume male) obsession of storing massive amounts of perfectly chopped wood in neat piles at your residence. I can just all the hommes at the Le Bar Sportif in town “well my wood pile is thiiiissss big”. The barge, my home for the next few days, sat resting sweetly on the edge bathing in the unseasonably warm weather. Determined to make the most of the last minutes of sunlight champagne glasses were swiftly taken above deck to the perfectly arranged chairs and tables so we could sip chilled bubbles as I soaked in the scenery.

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The next morning after a lovely nights sleep and an early mooring walk to the boulangerie for a fresh warm baguette with Papa (we may have returned with both ends missing…) we were off in our little floating house to conquer three locks (some mediocore steering on my behalf – for something that looks easy it was incredibly difficult to keep this giant boat traveling at only a few kilometers per hour in a straight line – truly!) and about three hours of travel down the canal Canal Laterral and the the Canal Roanne. Our first destination was the tiny town of Briennon.

It was here I learnt the lesson I had heard much of from the ever traveling parentals of Ferme Exceptional. This essentially meant that what ever we were after was closed – no French cakes for afternoon tea or baguette to collect in the morning. So sad. We strolled about the town and then returned to the barge to sip chilled rose in the summer sun with friends from another barge (it’s an incredibly friendly and social community)…

For further barge-ing adventures to follow…

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