Friday, April 29, 2011


Wednesday, November 8th, 2000 Beaune, France

Breakfast about 8:30 and off to Beaune to check with the Information Office. Still raining. While at the information office we signed up for a Wine tour on Thursday. Then toured the Hospices de Beaune built in the Eighteenth Century for the poor of Beaune who were ill and/or dying. Wonderfully maintained as it was in the centre of the city. Purchased a French cookbook in English.

At 6 am this morning, CNN had the election results with Bush at 237 and Gore at 232. Florida was the largest one still undecided with 25 electoral votes. By 9 am reports stated that Bush had won the election. By the time we returned in the afternoon, word on CNN was that Florida would be recounted and the election would be up in the air for several days.

Weather today is dry but overcast. Rain by noon as we left Beaune for the south. Took the autoroute to Macon and then went West just a bit and then north. Stopped at Cluny first. Not much to see as it is the ruins of a famous abbey. It was larger than St. Peter’s in Rome during the medieval days! Museum was closed during the time we were there, lunch time is noon to two o’clock. Raining, but we walked around the town. Lots of very old Romanesque buildings. Very old!

Then drove North towards Taize to see the modern abbey. Newer buildings but not as much European charm as we’re used to seeing! Drove through but didn’t get out of the car. Then up the road again to the town of Chapaize which had a very old church. Beautifully restored but the floor is sinking and has caused one wall to list! Brancion had another old church. But other than old churches they don’t have much except for charming old villages!

Back to the barge and a wonderful dinner with Bonnie and Terry. Really enjoyed their company. We walked over to the local restaurant for dinner together. Sat around the fireplace and really enjoyed our evening. Returned home about 10 pm. We were the only diners in the whole restaurant!

Lisa told us a story today about the “A” on the back of automobiles. When a driver is newly licensed they are required to put an “A” on their automobile for two years to warn others drivers that they are newly licensed. Lisa kept her’s on for nearly four years she said! She doesn’t trust the French drivers.


Tuesday November 7th, 2000 Beaune, France

Rainy and cold, hoping it doesn’t reach freezing as the barge is temporarily on a water line from shore as their water tank broke last week!! Great French breakfast, breads and jams; then off to walk around Chateauneuf. Had lunch there at a restaurant recommended by Lisa. Seemed to be the only thing open in the whole village! Me thinks the end of the tourist season has arrived! But it was excellent. She specialized in pancakes…Jim had a Normandy and I had a Mexican…meats and cheeses and sauces! Roaring fire in the central fireplace. We were the only ones there during the entire meal. Had lots of fun and got warm before proceeding back to the barge.

On the way back we stopped near the pasture and called the cows; they came up to the fence and we were able to get some great photos. The cows are all white. Mostly bulls and their meat is the best beef in France. They are called Charolais.

When we arrived back at the boat the other guests for the next two nights had arrived. Bonnie and Terry from Boston. (I called her Bunny the whole time and didn’t know I was wrong until after they left the barge!) About our ages. They’ve also been in Europe since September 1st and don’t go home until end of November. Really had a great evening. Raining outside but we were snug inside and talked for hours. Ate dinner on board with Terry and Bonnie. Terry was an airline pilot, just retired. Turns out he graduated from high school in 1956, same year as me, in Indiana. (North of Indianapolis.) Bonnie is in her 50’s and grew up in Indianapolis. But they met years later. Terry has his laptop with him and has been connecting over AOL rather successfully on the trip. They only make their reservations about a week ahead. They’re waiting to go to England after the rain stops to stay with friends before leaving for the States. Bonnie was an art major and she and Jim are having a ball talking about Art in Europe. Terry and I talk about computers and business! We’re trying not to talk about the elections! [We've remained good friends, visiting over the years as often as possible! Mostly thanks to the Internet...we didn't see each other again for over five years..... and now we see each other several times a year!]

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Monday, November 6th, 2000 On the road to Beaune

Left about 8:35 am. Drove all day to reach our next hotel: The Lady A by 4 pm. Definitely the most unusual "hotel" we've had. It's a Canal Boat that is permanently moored to the west of Beaune. The weather was raining most of the morning as we headed east. Trees still have lots of leaves: green, golden, and shades of red. Some of the branches are starting to show. Loads of mistletoe in tops of trees here. Don’t see them until the leaves fall! Too high up to reach to take some home for Christmas.

England is having floods, even in Shewsbury. The rivers are full here, but no floods. We drove almost all local roads until noon when we arrived at Clermont Ferrand and hit the autoroute. There the sun was out and we could see both ends of the rainbow. Plus we could see the Puy de Dome, which is the largest and central cone in a 4000-year-old extinct volcanic chain of 112 volcanoes stretching over nineteen miles. They start just west of Clermont Ferrand. Jim recognized the name as this is one of the mountains used in the Tour de France bicycle races.

Made it to Lyon about 2 pm and continued north towards Dijon. There was severe wind in the afternoon that really rocked us as we drove the autoroute. As we neared Beaune and again after Beaune the radio suddenly starting talking in French. We were playing music on one of the tapes that Jim had made before leaving home. Seems that the French have a system to interrupt radios (even while playing tapes) in automobiles to give emergency information to drivers!! Arrived at Lady A just before 4 pm.

The owners, Lisa Jansen-Bourne and David are delightful. She is Dutch and he is English. They’ve been together for 30 some years. No children, just sailing the high seas and canals all over the world. They built this boat by modifying a barge. They removed eight feet from the center of the boat to make it fit easier through the canals. They then remodeled it for six passengers only. Most of the canal boats hold up to 25 people. That was back in 1985. They cruised the French Canals until about 1993 when they moored in the harbor at Vandenesse-en-Auxois, a small French village located under the watchful eye of Chateauneuf, a French village and Chateau caught in the medieval times. They’ve been here even since as a B&B. Featured on many vacation television programs, books, etc. Even “Great Escapes”. Their dog is about five years old, a black mongrel that is named Kchu (?) which is tiny in Turkish. Sound like a sneeze! We found it accidently on the Internet and couldn't resist the lure of her name...

Talked for hours and had a delightful dinner with two bottles of wine, white and red. Turkey meat with a sauce from a Dijon chef’s recipe. Started to rain just as we arrived and continued to rain all night. David said we lost power for about an hour during the night. Lisa has a bookshelf full of novels so enjoyed reading another “mindless” book. We were the only guests aboard tonight so had their full, undivided attention. Only TV is in the lounge, but it does get CNN which will be nice for the elections. No individual telephones. Shower is the whole bathroom but it is larger than on the boat we had on our Midi River Cruise last year. Door to the bathroom is a shower curtain. Again, not much privacy! But another fun and different adventure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Sunday, November 5th, 2000 Sarlat

The hotel told us that Mass at the Cathedral was at 11 am. So after breakfast we put on our coats and took the walking tour of Sarlat with the map from the information office. Very informative! We really enjoyed the hour or so that the tour took. Weather was cold but sun was shinning. But, near the end of the tour we were near the Cathedral, which was still locked, and asked about Mass. They said there was no Mass. This didn't surprise us as the outside is full of scaffolding for the repairs that are going on. So, back to the hotel and off to the Lascaux II, the caves with the prehistoric drawings on the walls. Located about thirty minutes North of Sarlat.

We arrived at Montignac, the town nearest the caves, and saw a church! Checked

the Mass times and saw 11 am... checked inside and found the priest giving the sermon. So, we were able to attend Mass after all. Beautiful church that looked very modem in a very old building. Restoration was more of a remodel. Reminded me of St. Bartholomew's in Columbus, Indiana, my hometown. Old Parishioners must have hated the changes!

Lascaux II is a recreation of pre historic cave drawings. Due to damage by tourist affecting the humidity in the actual caves, they were closed in 1963. They were only discovered in 1940 by two young boys chasing their dog. But, the deterioration was so bad that they closed them and then began recreating the caves. They opened the new ones in 1984. These are the most famous of the caves in the area. There are several other caves but this one was the only one open in November. The others were close the end of October. We left about 1 :30 pm. The actual tour took about 45 minutes and was entirely in French. Highly recommend that you arrange for an English tour! But, the painting was very interesting. They used natural materials for the paint and used the contours of the cave walls to accentuate the paintings. The original paintings are considered to be somewhere around 15,000 years old (per Rick Steves)!

Then finally off to Rocamadour. It was a ninety minute drive from Sarlat so we had about a two hour drive. But we arrived about 3:30 pm. Beautiful town clinging to a hillside. It is known as a Pilgrimage's medieval town because of the miracles that started to occur after the discovered the preserved body of St. Amadour in a crypt near the church that is associated with the Chateau on the hill. It is visited by thousands of people each year. We took the longer way of going. Used the ascender to get to the top (an elevator up a stone shaft) and then walked the stations of the cross on the walk back down to the village after visiting the chapel with the Black Virgin. Lit a candle for our special intentions.

Stopped at a store in Rocamadour and purchased two wallets with chains. One for each of us. Jim to put in his front pocket and I attached mine to the inside of my purse. Now we won't have to worry so much about pick-pockets!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Saturday, November 4th, 2000 Sarlat, France

Breakfast in the hotel and then off to the Laundromat across the street from our hotel. By 11: 15 am we'd finished three loads of laundry which should last us for the rest of the trip if we're careful! Off to Oradour we stopped for gas. Dumb Jim (his words) gave the attendant two 200 francs that were stuck together. ..the attendant gave us back a 200 plus the change. Jim tried to give the 200 back to him lucky for us the French are very honest!

The weather today is overcast with intermittent sunshine! We saw a rainbow just as we arrived at Oradour-sur-Glane. This is a town about two hours north of our hotel. It is a memorial to WW II. The Germans SS chose this town as an example on June 10, 1944, and burned it to the ground including all of the people who were in the town that day. The French have left the town as it was on June 10th, 1944; a memorial to "REMEMBER" what the war was about! Very moving museum and walk through the town. There were 328 buildings burned and 700 people killed that day. The museum is all below ground so that the landscape remains the same as June 20th, 1944.

Afterwards we started to go to Rocamadour but decided on the way that it would be too late for us to go. We'd be driving lots of narrow, unlit roads after dark! And, it was getting stormy with light rain. The sky was beautiful, very dark clouds next to crystal blue sky! Very dramatic. Then we decided to drive to Beynac. A town not far from Sarlat, for dinner. As we drove it became darker and darker; the roads were very twisting and narrow! Finally we decided to just drive towards Sarlat and have dinner in our hotel again. We arrived at 6:30 pm and it really began to rain hard after we arrived. Good thing we changed our minds. As we were walking into the hotel there was a crash between a motor scooter and a car at our intersection. Jim said, let's get into the hotel. ..we don't want to become witness to something! Turns out that three of the five streets that intersect at this corner have a yield sign. who's to tell who is to blame. The motor scooter driver seemed fine and he was our main concern! We enjoyed another wonderful dinner at our hotel. The waiter even took the label off the wine bottle for us and delivered it to our room after dinner! Another souvenir.