We woke up, packed, had breakfast and tidied up. After handing the barge back we walked to the hotel for an espresso, but they were closed! We then walked to where the bus will pick us up, and waited. Seriously glad we did this yesterday as if we had arrived in Tannay this morning we would have stood at the train station like lemons. We caught the bus to the station and then got on the train to Auxerre with no problem. Auxerre is amazing with quite a large old city. We dropped the suitcases off at the hotel and then went for a walk, bought a baguette and Terrine du Chef at Marc Colin butchery. We ate this on a bench on the banks of the river before walking through the old city. You can tell we are in a bigger place as some of the shops are open through the afternoon and there are people begging! Dave had a crepe and then we checked into the hotel. The decor and exterior are not great but the room is more than adequate. There is also free WiFi, a bonus for when we are travelling. After checking emails and Dave had done some work we went for a walk to Saint-Etienne Cathedral. It’s huge and has the most impressive stained glass windows. We carried on walking around the newer part of the city. As we got back into the old city we saw a car rolling down the street. Dave yanked on the handle to stop it and the door opened and caught on a wall. The owner jumped in and put on the handbrake. She drove it forward a bit and Dave did a bit of hand panel beating so she could close the door. She was most grateful and Dave prevented quite an accident. We bought an apricot flan to share, stopped for coffee and after a short walk went to a pub for a Leffe beer. We then came back to the hotel to relax before dinner. Tonight we are going to the 1 star Michelin restaurant L’asperule.
Woke up to a very cold barge. The central heating makes such a noise that you can’t leave it on at night! After breakfast we walked the the tiny train station for Flez-Cuzy-Tannay. There are no trains from here other than early morning and late afternoon and we were not sure where to get the bus. The bus service is run by SNCF to the station at Clamecy. Thankfully we saw some people waiting on the side of the road and they told us we were to wait with them. A mini taxi arrived with not enough space for us. Hopefully this is not the case tomorrow when we need to leave with all our luggage. The lady waiting spoke to the driver to organise a taxi for us. The driver spoke on his phone nearly the entire trip! Speed restrictions mean nothing in Europe. The taxi would have cost us €19. The bus trip return is €16.40. The only place open at 11am was the bar. With old men drinking. This was in the ‘new’ part of the city. The medieval city had far more places open. We stopped at Portal Emmanuel in Rue de la Monnaie for ice cream. Dave had pistache and I had praliné. We then bought terrine forestière from the butcher and corn baguette from the baker. After walking around a bit we sat in a park at a table under the trees for lunch. We’ve bought disposable knives for this as we can toss them after each meal. We then went for an espresso before buying a bottle of wine for tonight. We walked back to the station and booked our tickets to Auxerre for tomorrow and told her we would have suitcases. If the bus is late again they will hold the train! We’ve also bought our tickets to Paris and confirmed the time for the train as there is a limited service on the 1st of May. The bus back to Flez Cuzy Tannay was a normal bus probably due to the train that just arrived. This is the first bus I’ve been on with seatbelts! We got back to the barge and Dave turned on his computer to discover his hard drive is about to crash! He has saved what he can, including the photos from our holiday to my PlayBook and hopefully everything will be OK. After Dave did a whole lot of things to his computer we walked along the canal to the first bridge and then back to Flez-Cuzy where we had a Leffe beer on tap. Now it’s time for supper and a bottle of Bordeaux. We’ve started packing as tomorrow we leave the barge.
Woke up and the sun is shining. Holidays are blessings for all sorts of reasons, and this is one of them. The other is sleeping in without having a dog telling you its breakfast time. The drawbridge had to be turned on by the lock keeper as it would not open until 9am. When you are walking it’s important to avoid the clay (messy) and the stinging nettles (itchy). The drawbridge opens and closes extremely slowly! An hour after the drawbridge at Ecluse Gravier is a restaurant. You can order bread the day before and probably get some coffee while you are in the lock. While we were in the lock before the second drawbridge a van wanted to get across and closed it. The rule is if you find it open leave it open, and if it’s closed, close it after you. The van managed to cross, and open the bridge before we got out of the lock. But then a cyclist came along and started lowering the bridge! The lock keeper sped off, hotting, so that they bridge would be open for us! The next wooden drawbridge is shown in the book as being open but it was closed and slow! As I walked to the next drawbridge a dog came up behind me and nudged my calf. He walked with me to the next bridge, accepted a pat and went home. We tied up close to Monceaux-le-Comte and walked 6 minutes into the village for bread. We had a lazy lunch and got under way at 13:15. We left the last lock of our trip at 14:25. There has been so much rain that the lock mechanism was under water! At the penultimate drawbridge Dave had to go far right to drop me off, and then go back for the narrow path through where the drawbridge crosses the canal. The last bridge was open, and led straight to the barge basin. We finished the barge trip 4 days after we begun, and it was truly peaceful and relaxing. We tied up and walked to the train station. There is no ticket machine so we will have to go online to check the schedule. We walked uphill for 2km to Tannay and found a butcher where we bought Provencal sausages and pate. We found an open caves and did a wine tasting of some not very good wines. The supermarket is a further 5 minute walk out of the centre of the village and we got wine there as well as a few odds and ends. We walked back to the barge, stopping at the hotel opposite for an espresso – at €3 it was more expensive than Paris! Wine tonight is another bottle of Bordeaux Supérieur and dessert is tart Normandy.