Sunday, 26 July 2015

19th - 25th July 2015

What a week it's been here on the Luciole, we're on our 13th week of the season and have with us our 3rd adventure themed charter group, a very sweet and kind American family of 11, including grandparents, parents and kids, and we had a really great time with them. The family were on holiday celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of grandparents Ken and Peggy, joined by their 2 children and their partners, and their 5 grandchildren.

The kids all week were fantastic, always full of energy and laughter as one would expect, but also surprising all of us with their politeness and brightness. Morgan and Alison at the helm with Captain Francisco, steering us into locks and practically giving the Captain a week off from piloting, the same could be said for Chef Marc and his little helper Vicky, who did a wonderful job creating Chocolate brownie and Canapes and just generally being a great commi chef at age 13, and Daniel and his week long fishing adventure with his uncle Wayne, only one successful catch between the two of them but what a beauty of a Pike Wayne landed.

In other unusual events for the week, we had horses crossing the boat once more at l'ecluse de Vaux, in order to help out lock keeper and friend of the boat, Olivier. In a normal season the horses cross back from the isolated pastures at the far side of the lock quite late in the year, but this year due to extremely low rain fall, and lots of sunshine, the grass was exhausted and so the horses had to make the return journey earlier than expected. It's always nice to see everyone so excited at the crossing, the passengers forming the deck chairs into a make shift auditorium, everyone with cameras out , including crew that see it every year, but somehow it still remains entertaining.

Finally I would like to wish many happy returns to our truly excellent hostess Emma, who turned 30 on Saturday. I can only speak for myself perhaps but I think there may well have been a few sore heads this morning, totally worth it however as we had a night to remember. Happy birthday Emma!

 Wayne and his formidable catch.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

12th - 18th July 2015

The Luciole has had a very exciting and unusual week this past week as we were joined by a lovely family from the States. Seeking not just the Luciole's special brand of peace, local beauty and indulgence, but also adventure and excitement hidden amongst the greenery and tranquility. The family spanned three generations, which is always a pleasure to have onboard, including five teens, so aside from the mid-morning starts this was a very active and busy week. Cruises were marked by mass cycling, ten or eleven of our passengers rampaging down the towpaths and up to see the sights such as the beautiful as ever Roche de Saussois, or the multitude of pretty villages and hidden Lavoires. The tours were a good mixture of local culture and adventure activities, with the group splitting on certain days to fit as much in as possible, the kids going climbing, kayaking, horse riding, while the parents and grandparents enjoyed the vinyards, cathedrals and chateaus Burgundy has to offer.

Additionally Tuesday was the 14th of July, Bastille day in France and the opportunity for a huge celebration. Auxerre hosted a firework display on the river on Monday night, so we changed our cruise schedule slightly to accommodate and in order to reserve our front row tickets to a spectacular display we departed from the pretty little town of Gurgy, just north of Auxerre. It was a fantastic family orientated week, and hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves as much as we enjoyed having them on board.

A Panoramic view of Auxerre, courtesy of our very own hostess Steph.

 Happy Bastille day!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

5th - 11th July 2015

We have officially passed the half way point of the season here on the Luciole and what a fantastic three months it's been. What better way to celebrate such a milestone than with the wonderful group we've had with us this week. Group leader James was with us alone in May to scout out the route and organise himself for this week, a unique idea in which he chose to combine barging with his usual group activity of walking. Along with wife Diana, they chose the Luciole as their base of operations and organised their own outings alongside our usual visits and cruising schedule. What a huge success it was too and a great idea, the walking tours to local towns, places of beauty, swimming spots and on one occasion the local pub worked flawlessly when paired with our own itinerary, thus it was an active and enjoyable week for all.

This week was a first as far as I'm aware in that we were fortunate enough to have our first ever Maltese guests, six of them in all, along with two Australians and six Brits, all extremely courteous and friendly people, and seemingly having an excellent time. Hopefully it was a chance for all to relax a little also, especially James and Diana themselves, who generally cater and look after their tours alone, so perhaps it was a nice change for them to sit on deck with their friends, sipping one of the many bloody marys consumed over the course of the week, swimming off the boat almost every day and night, and of course being fed by our master chef Marc, most definitely the highlight of the week for such a food loving group of people. 

The final words of the week were spoken by James, after Francisco's customary Captain's Dinner speech, and finer and nicer words could not be spoken, summing up the week, crew and passengers in one rather lengthy poem dedicated to all. Unfortunately I don't have a copy, and perhaps it's best it remains that way, as another memory of a magical week on the Luciole.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

28th June - 4th July 2015

The first week of July is upon us heralding summer at it's finest, the sun is shining and the skies are big and bright blue, Indeed I've experienced some of the hottest weather I've seen in Burgundy so far, but no complaints from anyone over here, it might be scorching hot but when you've always got a fresh and extremely cool river next to the boat, it's certainly not so bad. Aside from all the paddling and diving into the water that seemed to be a recurrent theme of the week, everything was extremely calm on board.When it's this hot it seems the world moves in slow motion, the barge itself being an exception, as it always moves in slow motion, a relaxed pace we prefer to call it.

Otherwise it's been an extremely pleasant week, we were joined by 3 Americans, 5 Brits including long time visitors and friends of the Luciole, Leslie and Malcolm, as well as Julia, the sister of tour guide Anna, and the always charming French-Australian Antoine. This group melded with each other extremely quickly and spent all hours of the day together as one big family, sharing games of scrabble in the wonderfully cool air conditioned saloon, or sitting on deck in the shade of the parasol, creating water colours of all they could see. If not there then perhaps in some fascinating place being shown around by Anna, otherwise at the table together eating some fantastic creation of Chef Marcs and finishing off a good few bottles of wine. Either way it was all done with a smile on the faces of all and will keep a special place in everyone's memories as Burgundy truly at it's finest

 We get weather in Burgundy! The passengers plus our very own Penny line up on the deck after an unfortunate wind related incident with the parasol.

 Two very lovely pairs of sisters on the Luciole. From left to right: Leslie, Sue, Julia and our exceptional tour guide Anna.

Unfortunately not a very good picture, but it depicts host George successfully closing the gate of a lock, while student lock keeper Daniel sleeps peacefully in his chair. We managed to enter the lock, stop the boat and close the gates before he finally woke up. Quite an achievement nonetheless and certainly a first for everyone. The poor lad was definitely red faced when he awoke.