Wednesday, 29 June 2016

19th - 25th June 2016

It's been a beautiful week in Burgundy and what perfect timing for such brilliant sunshine. We we're very fortunate this week to be joined by our old friends James and Diana, frequent passengers and the leaders of walking parties, where our guests are lead around the countryside on foot, taking in the sights and visiting interesting spots scouted out by James in previous seasons. All of this was done along side visits in the bus with tour guide Andy, and of course our regular schedule of smoothly cruising along the Nivernais. 

The Walking Party began their walk at the Basilica of V├ęzelay
Smooth sailing is what this week was all about, considering the amount of organisation that went into it, it really couldn't have been better executed. The group taking off together in the early morning sunshine, enjoying long walks by the rivers and hills, seeing all of the beauty Burgundy has to offer. Once the walking was done they would be greeted by Andy, happy and helpful as always, waiting by the bus to deliver them back to the barge, or perhaps to take them to some interesting locations, imparting his encyclopedic knowledge along the way. The afternoons were spent on the boat as we navigated the canals, basking in the heat of the day on the deck, or down in the crisp and cool cabins sleeping off one of Chef Marc's beautiful buffet lunches. The week came to it's conclusion in it's familiar fashion, Captain's dinner and Francisco's after dinner speech, always an hilarious spectacle. This time however, the reins were handed over to James to deliver the final word, a very touching and funny thank you to all of the crew and passengers individually. A wonderful week, and one we hope to relive very soon.   

Before long the walkers had a different view of the magnificent basilica

Thursday, 23 June 2016

12th - 18th June 2016

The Luciole season continues into June with our 6th group of passengers. Some of the crew used the opportunity of the previous week without passengers to go on various trips to far flung places so it's nice to have them back amongst us. Spoiling the peace and quiet perhaps but certainly being entertaining in the process! With the the crew 'home' the Luciole was ready to resume life as normal, winding our way along the Nivernais Canal. 

The biggest draws of the Luciole are not just the beauty of the region or the comfort of the boat, nor is it the exceptionally high standard of the food and the regional wines and cheeses accompanying it. It is a combination of both our crew and our passengers that make the Luciole such a special place to be. We are very fortunate here to be accompanied week after week by truly excellent groups of people, this week was no exception. We were joined by a group of 8 American friends travelling together, organised by the lovely Susan and Bruce. As well as English couple John and Joanna, honouring us by travelling with us for the second time, along on this occasion with their friend Patricia, and finally travelling alone, the marvellous Carol from America. 

This group bonded very well from the start, sharing stories and putting the world to rights late into the night with a brandy in hand. It was an artistic week around here as Charles our expert garden designer amazingly managed to decorate the deck with several 4 leaf clovers he had found whilst out walking from the boat, which has now prompted everyone to walk around with their heads down looking at the ground in an attempt to replicate his findings. We were lucky enough too, to visit the delightful garden of Jos and Loeloe, in Fontenille.  A garden full of textures and colours and from where they run their business 'Parterres en Kit' (buy a designed border of flowers from them, for your own garden).

We visited the lovely garden of friends Jos and Loeloe in Fontenille

John too revealed his talent and life long hobby of painting landscapes, creating two wonderful pieces of art that thankfully we took photographs of before his departure. 

                                   John worked on his delightful picture through the week and the crew were                                    particularly touched by his end of Captain's Diner thank you!

This week finally felt like a bit of a fresh beginning after the interesting few weeks we have had. As fun as the adventure has been, it's nice to get back to our slow paced routine on the Nivernais, seeing familiar places and familiar faces. It's a pleasure to return to the lifestyle we know and love so well.

Monday, 13 June 2016

5th - 11th June 2016

The Luciole did not have passengers this week, but we were all busy just the same.  Preparing for next weeks passengers and general maintenance.  The Nivernais Canal and River Yonne were calm again.

Calm waters on the Nivernais Canal at Vaux
France prepared for Euro 2016 and the invasion of football fans, throughout the land.  Admittedly we were more than happy to be in our back water!  The French football fans will be shouting 'Allez les Blues'!!  We prefer our 'Burgundy Blues' and fields of blue linseed flowers....

Fields of linseed flowers. Blues in Burgundy

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

29th May - 4th June 2016

Back to the Nivernais this week, heading towards Clamecy, however we weren't to make it quite so far as it soon became apparent. Although conditions on Monday morning were calm and the river navigable, we were to encounter a problem beside the small and pretty town of Vaux. The River Yonne interacts with the Canal du Nivernais in many sections, when they wish to separate canal from river it's done just after a barrage, a controllable waterfall designed to manage the amount of water that can flow through the river. These barrages can create quite a powerful current when there is a large volume of water passing through as there is at the moment. For the first time the Luciole managed to succumb to the strength of this barrage and found herself rather stranded and pinned to the side of the canal. A dramatic experience but fortunately not a particularly dangerous one. After a short wait we were rescued by a man with a very convenient tractor and towed away from the obstacle. Because of this section now being impassable for us with the strength of the current, it was decided we would spend the week by the lock house in Vaux, a pretty lock owned by a friend of the boat, lock keeper Olivier. In reality it was probably the perfect location for this weeks set of guests as it is right next to a bowls green, tennis courts and football pitches, excellent for such an active group of people.

Family boules on the village court close to our mooring

We were joined this week by a single American family all the way from Hawaii and California, ranging from grandparents to children. They were sport fanatics, soccer lovers, thrill seekers and all around brilliant people to have onboard. Always active and looking for another activity to participate in. They had come for one of what we call 'our adventure charters', where the group has many options of exciting activities to take part in. Wether it was karting, climbing, paint-balling, horse riding, cycling, more football of course, and even beauty and colour advice from the always wonderful friend of ours, Rosemary. 

Battle for the boys.  Colour consulting for the girls on the Luciole on Wednesday afternoon

We send an enormous 'high five' to this wonderful family and thank them for their generosity of spirit throughout the week that saw Paris close to flooding.  In the end it was hard to say goodbye to such a lovely group after such an unusual but enjoyable week.  You really were all stars.

22nd - 28th May 2016

The adventure continued aboard the Luciole this week as we made our way from one of our historical moorings in the town of Montbard, on the Canal de Bourgogne, all the way back to our home of Auxerre and the entrance of the Canal du Nivernais. It was a long journey, and a week of all day cruising. In the beautiful sunshine we've been blessed with however, plus a handful of marvellous, friendly and helpful guests the time flew by. Before we knew it we were back in our regular mooring in Auxerre. 

Despite the distance covered, we managed to have a very calm, relaxing week with our Australian and American friends. A mixed group for the most part but one choosing to spend their days with each other. Chatting in the saloon or taking a drink on the deck, stepping off the boat for a stroll or on occasion what was a brisk walk trying to keep pace with us! 

Crab Tian served in Tanlay
Thanks to the exceptional organisation skills of Captain Francisco and Andy the tour guide, helped out by Penny, we made it through these two weeks flawlessly. It's a complicated job arranging the logistics and timings when routine changes in such a manner as it has done recently, and thanks to their hard work, plus the very understanding nature of our passengers, these weeks have been as seamless as ever onboard the Luciole. Though it's nice to return to familiar ground, especially when that ground is the ever breath taking Auxerre.

Home to Auxerre on Friday evening