Sunday, 25 October 2015

Barge Holiday on Le Cher France Day Three 29/6/2015

We didn’t sleep very well on our first night onboard, the cabin was comfortable but the weather hot so we had all the portholes and the hatch open all night.
The main reason for lack of sleep was the amount of noise the local frogs manage to produce. I have never heard them so loud before, there must have been hundreds in the area calling back and forth to each other.




One of the noisy frogs

This area is very popular with outdoor activities, you saw in yesterday’s blog the canoes moored in the lock, this is not a problem as the Nymphea is the only boat to cruise up and down the river through the locks. 
This morning more  canoes arrived on trailers and later a group of horses trekked by. Just up from the lock and also most of the other locks are camping and picnic areas.

DSCF9452More canoes arriving

DSCN1550Horses trekking by

We made a leisurely start after breakfast heading up stream. Looking back at the barrage I noticed that some of the removable “sticks” had their tops painted blue. It turns out that these are sponsored sticks and if you sponsor one they paint it blue and put your name on it.


The Barrage

Our progress upstream was very slow due to the shallowness of the water and also the weed growth. So slow that we never caught up with this couple paddling upstream ahead of us.DSCF9456 There are a couple of trip boats on this section of the river which are based just below the next lock, but they just bring day trippers down to pass under château de Chenonceau, turn and then go back to their moorings to await the next coach load of tourists.


Trip boat coming through  the centre arch behind us.



Château de Chenonceau is built right across the river with navigation arches for boats to pass under it. It was built beside the old mill that can be seen on the bank to the left of the photograph. First the Château its self was built with the small arch and later the section with the 5 arches was added to make a bridge right across the river so that the gentry could hunt on the other side. The building doesn’t quite reach the right hand bank and there is a small draw bridge at the very end for security. DSCF9464

DSCF9466 The original mill on the bank beside the Château

DSCF9465The drawbridge connecting the arches to the right hand bank.

Nymphea was a fairly easy fit through the navigation arch,  but what the photograph doesn’t show is the need to be in the deepest part of the river while approaching the Château or the island directly in front of you on the upstream side of the centre arch.DSCF9468

The next bridge we came to actually had navigation marks to show which arch to take while navigating the river. It seems that these are not allowed on the château.




  The green and white squares on the bridge arch indicate the navigation channel

Just prior to Chisseaux lock we passed the moorings for the two trip boats, the smaller of the two ready to set off with an almost full complement of passengers.DSCN1564

Chisseaux lock like all the locks we passed through is not in the best of condition, as we entered the offside bottom gate closed by itself, but when Alain wound the near side one closed it sat ahead of the closed one, requiring the offside one to be opened slightly.

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On the towpath side of the bottom gates there is still the rack and pinion mechanism to open and close the gate but on the offside there is nothing and Leigh had to attach a rope to the gate to pull it open. Also the paddle on the near side is motorised but the offside one is manual, there was so much water coming through the top gates that both paddles had to be drawn before they could move the gates.

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At the other end of the lock someone has screwed a piece of wood to the end of the beam on top of the offside gate to give something to push on to open and close the gates, again on the near side there is still the original winding gear.    Once out of the lock we were to moor between the top gates and the yellow restaurant boat  moored a short way ahead.  The gap was only slightly longer than Nymphea but with the use of a rope and no bow thruster she came straight in clean as a whistle. The stern is against the lock and as you can see there is less than a foot at the bows.

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Once we were moored up we were off in the mini bus for our first wine tasting of the trip. This was just below where we picked up the boat last night. The vineyard was owned by a a chap called Bruno who was friends with Leigh, as were most other people we were to meet during the week. At the end of the tasting Leigh selected the wines he was buying to take back to the boat.

DSCN1578Di, Me, lad, Leigh,Geoff and Judy testing the wine 

DSCN1587Bruno's label printing machine.


DSCN1586Bruno with his hi tech wine filter

DSCN1584Bruno describing the finer points of wine making

DSCN1583 Vats


Bruno has a very hi tech setup and one thing he is very proud of is the filter. Its a mobile unit and is shared between 6 vineyards. The filter works at a pressure of less than one atmosphere and reduces the amount of wasted wine by about 70%

DSCN1588The wine store


DSCN1589Leigh selecting his wine to take back to the boat.

DSCN1591Loading up the purchases

Unlike the UK all the wine in boxes lies down on its side where as in the UK they stand up, so the boxes are only about half as tall. Once we had loaded up the purchases it was back to the boat for lunch.

After lunch it was off to the Royal Château in Ambiose .DSCN1606 In the days of Francis I, Leonardo da Vinci was a regular visitor to the Château and eventually the king had a tunnel driven between the Château and Chateau du Clos Luce, the home of da Vinci so that they could travel from one property to the other without hindrance of the crowds .


Following the French Revolution  lots of the Château was destroyed and the stone take to build houses in the town. This picture shows the Château in its prime, all the DSCN1615red parts were destroyed. One part of the Royal Château that was untouched was the chapel, this was probably due to it being part of the wall.

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            The views from the Château across the town and down the river were superb.

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We then walked through the town to Chateau du Clos Luce, the home of da Vinci where we looked around the house.

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In the basement there are several models of da Vinci’s inventions on display and several animated videos running.
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Like most large Château this one also has superb gardens.
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   After a hot tiring day it was back to the boat for an excellent dinner with wine, still moored just outside the lock. 

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