Our Barge, Odysseus

Thursday, July 14, 2011

From Gray to the Completion of the Circle June 8 - 11

We left Ray sur Saone about 8 am; we had a little over 30 k to make before our next stop and it helps to be tied up early in the day so a spot is assured. However, when we reached Gray, we realized that wasn't necessary; there's lots of room on the quay and, if you're positioned where your cord will reach, free electricity. Ours is very long. It reached.
The weather had improved and Gray is a pretty big town with another of those cherished cruising items, a supermarket close enough to push the grocery cart right to the boat; no lugging all those heavy bottles of wine! We decided to spend a day.
After visiting the tourist office for a chat with a very enthusiastic, English-speaking tourist office lady, we made a brief walking tour of the town admiring it's 15th century church

and gazing over the red roofs of Gray.

The river runs right through the middle of town with a lock and weir combination (the weir is a sort of dam that keeps the river at the necessary depth for navigation) under a bridge that spans the river.

The lock is just to the left (follow the arrow) and the Quay Malvia,
where we were tied up, is just right of the picture.

Now that we were starting to get closer the St. Jean de Losne, central France's boating center, we were starting to meet more English speakers, a rarity until now. In Gray we met a New Zealand couple and their 16 year old son who had left Kiwi-land three years ago on their sailboat. To reach Gray they had traveled through and spent time in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and were now working their way up the rivers and canals to spend the winter in Amsterdam. Tough with their deep draft sailboat and a hugh wooden mast strapped to the cabin top, but they seemed to be having fun.
Sunday morning about 7 we were awakened by a crackling sound that we originally thought might be kids playing with firecrackers as France's Fete National is just a few days away. It got louder and continued so we got up to see what was going on. The roof of a large apartment building across the river was on fire and we were hearing the sound of the roof tiles exploding!

When we left two hours later they were still pouring water on the structure with two ladder trucks and pompiers (firefighter) inside the building with hoses.

Our last couple of days on the river would take us to a stop in Pontailler sur Saone and then to St. Symphorien's Bourgogne Marine where we began last years journey.
Another circle complete.

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