France August 2010


"Anja" is a 107 year-old barge, built in Holland. She was bought by our friends Dave and Penny Kerr who had a brief learning period, travelling up the Bourgogne Canal.  Because of visa restrictions, they could only stay for 3 months, so offered Anja to friends Peter and Alison.  They in turn invited us to join them for 2 weeks.  Would we like to join them?  Would we ever!!

We were on Meridian, travelling to Borneo with the Sail Malaysia rally to meet friends Wal and Robyn.  They were coming up with the Sail Indonesia Rally, then branching off to Sandakan where we would meet them in September.  The offer of barging in August sounded perfect.  Unfortunately, Wal had engine problems on "Annwn" so they had to abandon their plans for 2010.  We then arranged to leave Meridian in Miri Marina while we were in France.  It is a safe marina, and the fees are reasonable.  With everything stowed away, we flew out for France on the 3rd August via KL and Singapore. 

Arrived in Paris to a grey day, and a most unattractive Charles de Gaulle airport.  We found the appropriate train and Metro connections to our hotel, the Montpensier near the Louvre Museum.  This is a 2-Star hotel with a typically Parisian elevator - two people or 1 person and baggage.  Our room was on the 5th level, up in the attic, and no air-con.  Luckily the weather was relatively mild; if we had been there during the heatwaves of a few weeks earlier, it would have been unbearable.

We were due to meet Peter and Alison in two days so our first forays into Paris were brief.  A walk around the immediate area of the Louvre, and dinner the first night in St Michel.  Next day we took an Open-top bus tour around the city seeing all of the touristy things - Notre Dame, Champs Elysee, Arc de Triomphe, and of course the Eiffel Tower.  We tried to have a dinner-cruise that night but didn't have a booking, so we went back to St Michel.

Friday 6th we headed to Gare de L'Est for our trip to Migennes where "Anja" was waiting for us. Peter and Allie met us at the station, and after a short walk, we were aboard.  The first task was to unload and stow our belongings, then become familiar with Anja.  She has had many modifications during he long life, one of which was to install and full-size bath and shower on the starboard side.  Our cabin was to centre and port, under the living and navigation are above.  This meant clambering into bed, bent down to get under the floor above.  Once in, all was comfortable.

Next: Barging in France

Some more photos at Picasaweb

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