The Train to Geneva
Up early in Dijon, still on board the beautiful Croisie Europe barge, Daniele. Our GAdventures Burgundy River Adventure has come to an end. Breakfast is at 730 am, baggage pick up at 845 am and bus service to the train station in Dijon for our onward journeys. 8 Canadians, 4 from US, 4 from Germany, a few from Australia and a few from England was the nationality make up. 8 solo women travelers and 7 couples travelled together for the 8 day journey on the Saone river and canals of the Burgundy region of France. It far exceeded my expectations for this trip.
Now for the onward travels toward home. We selected first class tickets from Dijon to Geneva and a stop in the large station at Lyon. The scenery is always spectacular from the train window in France. Large fields of sunflowers, corn, and farmland for the first leg of the journey. Flat and picturesque with little villages off in the distance. The second leg offered more mountainous and hilly landscape.
Next time to Europe I will bring less luggage, maybe traveling with a backpack only. It is less stress when getting on and off train platforms. The first class cabin on this second leg is much smaller and overflowing with people. No one has checked tickets so I expect some do not have first class passage paid. In second class I can see some people sitting on their luggage and stairs, so it seems oversold seats.
We have arrived at Hotel Kipling … Geneva Switzerland
Leaving the Saone
Hello again, Bonjour from France!
Yesterday after a walk through Chalon sur Saone, a larger city on this barge trip, we spent the day on the lovely 22 passenger vessel cruising on the Saone river. Plenty of swans and beautiful scenery as we coasted along. A fun day of getting to know and spend time with new friends made on this journey. Sunshine, hot weather, jacuzzi tub, lovely lunch.
Last night we stayed at Saint Jean de Losne. A small group of us picked up some grocery items at the local Carrefour and had a picnic on the deck. After we experienced an exciting lightning and thunder storm. Crazy wild water and wind.
Our stop today at Longecourt-en-plaine to view the castle of Chateau Longecourt and hosted by the Count of Longecourt. We walked from the lock stop through a residential area and to the castle. Some folks took the barge provided bicycles. Some of us walked and were prepared to enjoy a tour of the castle and then catch up by walking locks until we could walk on the barge.
In the middle of the lock the barge rides the water, rising until the door is at the same level at the side of the canal for s brief moment and that is the magical and only way to get on board. For the past number of days, with the exception of the day on the main river Saone, this has been our daily activities.
Getting on and off the barge at the locks and walking between sometimes for several kilometres. It is great so people can select how long they walk, at their own pace, and enjoying some form of exercise. There are also bicycles on board if a person wants to ride between the locks, much faster travel than. The barge. Walking fast is at a pace faster than the barge moves along the canal. Lots of photo ops!
Along the Canal de Bourgogne, we walk to the Longecourt Chateau, which was built in the 15 century. It started as a fortress. 1636 last big battle occurred here. After that the owners opened the courtyard and made the draw bridge into an actual bridge. The windows were closed off and they put plaster on walls. Today the moat has water in it to help keep it wet to keep from cracks.
The chateau has its own chapel with fresco paintings still on ceilings and walls. Stone archways and tile floors tell as story, a reminder of how it once was. Chapel stone is old and dates from 1498.
We visited a few large rooms and heard stories from the man who is the sole caretaker and groundskeeper of this very large estate. We leave him some money and graciously thank him. We begin our walk back to the barge.
Although we could see the dark grey clouds coming and knew it was going to rain, we got caught in a huge wind and rain storm. Walking almost 7 Kms in pounding rain, hail, wind through puddles and trying to catch the barge at the right moment to get back on. Great teamwork and fun in making the trek in record fast time. We dripped on to the ship, soaking wet and muddy.
We stayed the night tied up at petite ouges… two houses and a church marked this stop, not even a village.
It was a great adventure. This whole trip has been wonderful in every way. Tonight we stop in Dijon and share a dinner together before disembarkation tomorrow at the train station.
Three of us travelling together to Geneva for one full day of sight seeing and then back to Canada.
Happy Canada Day weekend!
Joining the Saone
This morning we headed out on a walk after a full and satisfying breakfast. The careful staff keep my food separated and so it is always safe for my meals on board. Excellent.
We stayed last evening in Chalon sur Saone which is a lovely larger city for this trip, smaller than Dijon and yet larger than all the other cities we will see this week.
We had a lovely walking tour through the town and now heading off up the river for the day. Sunny, warm and clear out today and the river is wider and no more canal so we can’t walk alongside today.
Colourful kayaks and beautiful bridges. Other boats and barges passing on our left. Roof tops of reds, golds and browns, terracotta tiles. Shutters of colours and wood adorning windows. While lace fabric fluttering in a gentle morning breeze.
EXQUISITE. Extraordinary. Most Excellent
On top deck of river barge Daniele. St Leger, France. Wow!
Greeted with glasses of champagne, as all the wine and beer are included on this GAdventures tour. Fabulous value and so beautiful and relaxing. Scenery is breathtaking.
We are tied up for the night. In a fabulous spot, walking trails along the river, large estate buildings and stone fences lining the path ways. Large lounge chairs on the top deck for relaxing and enjoying a cool glass of regional rose. This is amazing!
The call to dine is around 730 pm and we are very ready. Lovely salad greens, then the main meal with colour and flavours outstanding. Regional cheeses to taste, wine with every course, and banana split for desert. Everyone enjoys the feast.
Throughout and after dinner, a chat and then leisurely few hours in a not too hot tub on deck. The wine is free flowing and the conversation very fun and interesting. Great people to chat with, with 22 guests on board the Daniele.
St Gilles is the little village as we meander up the river. The fourth lock experience as we float along about 2 Kms an hour. Birds singing their morning song, the sun shining brightly and reflecting diamonds off the shiny surface. A family of ducks on their outing, the family business. Chickens and cows on farmlands.
Cyclists and bikers along the path. 6 more Kms to the next town and where we stop for the afternoon stroll. Red terra cotta tile rooftops dot the countryside. Church steeples are seen in the distance between the green foliage of the trees. Rows upon rows of grape vines can be seen on the rises of the land.
International languages spoken on board, French, German, Australian, British, Canadian and southern USA.
Stay tuned for more peaceful meandering. This is a most extraordinary, and relaxing vacation far away from reality, the barge of luxury and friendship.
The hotel Mercure is lovely, 4 star and with a cool pool for a refreshing cool down…. several times! Tiny fridge in the room to cool the bottle of local white wine. Twin beds, lovely modern shower. Quite pleasant and centrally located, within walking distance to town and the markets, and food.
First evening we walked to a restaurant / bar open earlier than most. We had salads and a great spritzer rose wine beverage. It was great, getting lost and wandering around the streets, finding a large fountain. Children and adults alike were cooling off, and a large dog too! We got pictures of the delightful scene.
Our jet lag continued to come and go, like waves in the sea … like hitting a wall, and waiting as it moved on. Back to the room for a bottle of wine to share and some snacks before a long sleep.
In the morning we woke early and talked about our journey, so far and what to expect. A full day ahead to explore Dijon, home of famous mustard. Ha ha. What’s the fuss about?
Up early, relaxing breakfast and off for a walk to find the Starbucks! Decaf coffee ( not just hot water :)). We found it on a map and we also wanted to check out the Maille mustard shop near Galleries Lafayette. The four of us head out.
We wandered through windy short streets, into markets, squares with fountains, chocolate shops and so much more. We picked up some of those dark chocolate on orange peel delights and a beautiful meringue sprinkled with cocoa.
One of the gals commented to the mustard sales person that we can get this brand of mustard in Canada. He was quick to correct us! The mustard here is made with wine, not vinegar. The taste is more like wasabi as it hits the pallet and sneaks up on the nose. Wow! We spent a lot of time tasting, comparing and enjoying this marvellous flavour experience. With our purchases, we move on, not forgetting the sensation that lingers.
Off to lunch and although we had salads and other delights, we ordered one plate of frites, French fries, to share. And to dip, skip the ketchup, bring on the mustard! Yummmm
We walked through a square in a park setting, full of sculpture and fountains. We noticed a bird struggling in the water. Three police persons on bicycles were conversing, one takes off his shoes and socks and into the water. He rescues the bird, and another officer wraps her hands gently around the bird who now relaxes in her clutch. Many school children surround the rescued pigeons, keen with interest. It was heart warming and lovely to witness the rescue.
I picked up some children’s post cards, in French and wrote them up for my two grandsons and dropped them off at the post office for mailing.
More swimming, more rose wine…
At 6 pm we met the larger group, 22 guests who will spend the week on the river barge, Daniele!
More stores tomorrow, tonight, to sleep.
Geneva to Dijon
We navigated the railway station out of Geneva airport by taxi. No line ups. Luggage arrived promptly. At the rail station we queued up to purchase rail tickets to Dijon via Lausanne. After a bit of discussion we decided against first class seats and caught the next tram out of platform 6.
I notice that perhaps we could have taken the train direct out of the airport. Next time we can take the train direct Dijon to Geneva airport! I spied the ticket laying open on the table of the fellow sitting next to me. No wifi, but trains are clean.
We were on first class by accident and were asked to move by the attendant checking for valid tickets. Now, second class, facing forward and zipping along, first stop Nyon.
Blue sky, sunshine, plenty of greenery, red terra cotta roofs. Scenic and beautiful is this countryside out the window of the train. Little villages dotting the countryside. Wooden shutters parallel to the windows. Rows of vineyard and huge estates, the architecture is unique and lovely. Window boxes and metal balcony railings.
I remember the well dressed people of Europe. Not at all like Canadian or North American tourists, which you can usually pick out in the crowd. Matching shoes and handbags, conservative and well put together, often colourful accents. One woman has a small Yorkie puppy in a leather handbag, sleeping with its little pink tongue out. Cute. Tres chic!
As I sit in silence I listen to the various accents and quick speaking locals, like a voyeur. And then speaking with a well dressed young man from San Francisco that works in the watch industry. He gets off in Morges. Next stop Lausanne. We will change trains then.
Bonjour blog followers,
Today is the first day of summer, 21 June 2017 and I am at the Victoria airport (YYJ). The sun is beaming in the large windows overlooking our little international airport. Ready and excited about the upcoming journey.
This river barge adventure has been a while in the planning. Myself and three local travel buddy women are flying into Geneva Switzerland Europe and then taking a local rail system to Dijon France. A few overnights and then off to join the barge river cruise on a small, 22 passenger, ambling barge, the Daniele. We board the high water itinerary in Saint Leger sur Dheune. Then on to Chalon sur
Up the Saone river and through Burgundy wine country on a relaxing and scenic tour of some of the most beautiful landscape maybe in the world. Cycling through vineyards, wine tasting and visits in boutique little villages. Soaking up sunshine, forests, canals and vineyards, in quintessential Burgundy wine district.
Pamela, of France :).
Pictures posted on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pmacdonaldtravel