The Winter of Our Discontent

Wanderlust on the Thames not long after launch

There was little certainty for Wanderlust’s future as we retreated to San Francisco for the 2016-2017 winter. On the repairs side, the legal dispute with the builder had frozen our ability to have the needed work done on our boat. There was no end to the dispute in sight. Indeed, if anything, the two parties had moved further apart. Continue reading

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The 2016 Season

The 2016 season started with high water in Auxerre.

Towards the end of the 2015 cruising season we started to consider our 2016 route options. Though we had just cruised 2,295 km including 734 locks, there were still plenty of water in France and Europe left to explore. Indeed it seemed that 2016 was the right time to make a first foray into Belgium and Holland. We wanted to explore the north before we became too entrenched in the waterways of France. The boaters that we talked to say that it is lovely up north. We wanted to see for ourselves. Continue reading

Wanderlust Wanders: Auxerre to Migennes

For Gigi delays mean more shore leave.

For Gigi delays mean more shore leave.

On June 29th 2016, after a series of delays, it was finally time for Wanderlust to leave her winter mooring. In April, two and a half months earlier, Becky, myself, and our dog Gigi returned from California to Auxerre France. Wanderlust spent its second winter in Auxerre’s attractive port de plaisance. Normally we’d return to the barge, spend a week or so getting things set, and then head off onto the inland waterways. But that would not be the case in 2016. Continue reading

Return to Auxerre

Sunlight highlights Joigny

Sunlight highlights Joigny

The route between Melun and Auxerre has become a well-worn path for Wanderlust. At the end of 2015 she made her third trip on this segment of the Seine and the Yonne. Novelty of the new places has been replaced by the comfortable familiarity. In the towns we know where the restaurants, the markets, and all of the other important stuff for day-to-day living is located. We just settle in and take in what the town has to offer. There’s no longer any stress in finding things. Continue reading

Montereau-Fault-Yonne

A 38-meter commercial barge blocks the channel just ahead of us as the lock gates open.

A 38-meter commercial barge blocks the channel just ahead of us as the lock gates open.

It was busy on the Yonne as we approached the confluence with the Seine. River transport was active in late April; the locks were running near capacity. Wanderlust weighs around 42,000 kilograms, depending on the current state of Becky’s shoe inventory. That may seem like a big boat but on the commercial waterways we are very much small fry. Many of the barges are more than four times our length, more than twice our width, and out displace Wanderlust by more than 50-fold. Needless to say, we stay out of the way. Continue reading

Lunchtime

Wanderlust rests for the lunch on a pontoon inside one of the Yonne's slope-sided locks.

Wanderlust rests for the lunch on a pontoon inside one of the Yonne’s slope-sided locks.

The lunch hour is a firmly protected tradition in France. If you stay long in the French countryside you learn to not expect anything other than the restaurants to be open at lunch. The prohibition of work during lunch often applies to the waterways; automated or manned, the locks frequently close for lunchtime. Continue reading

To Gurgy

Wanderlust moored in Auxerre.

Wanderlust moored in Auxerre.

When we departed Auxerre on the first step of our 2015 cruise through France it brought back a memory of our visit to Positano Italy long ago. As we were waiting for a bus in Positano, an old man walked up to us and asked in English, “Why would you leave.” The old man clearly enjoyed toying with the departing tourists this way but it was a good question. And we had no answer. Why would we leave such a perfectly perfect place as Positano? And why would later willingly leave Auxerre, another postcard perfect place?

Continue reading

The Yonne: Sens to Migennes

The Gate of Sens in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne:  On the opposite end of the village is the very similar Gate of Joigny.

The Gate of Sens in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne: On the opposite end of the village is the very similar Gate of Joigny.

Still weakened from a stomach bug it was tempting to linger and gain strength in Sens. Sens is a fascinating town; the mooring spot is pleasant. There were all the reasons in the world to stay, but we couldn’t. The following day the next lock on our way to Auxerre, Ecluse St. Bond, would close. If we didn’t make it through St. Bond we’d have to wait for months for the lock and weir repairs to be completed. We had no choice. We had to move upstream. Continue reading