Thursday, August 2, 2007


We spent last week tied up at the port in Dijon. Dijon is a great city – wonderful restaurants, a huge market on Friday and Saturday, lots of interesting shops, churches, and very convenient to the Burgundy wine country. Dave's friends, Bill and Kinou Ray, came to visit for the weekend. Bill steered us to a very interesting restaurant, sort of hidden in an alleyway (as several of the good restaurants are), on Friday night.

Saturday we all went to market and contributed to a "boat-cooked" feast on Saturday night.

Here we all are in a restaurant in the square where we had lunch on Saturday after the market.

I think Dave is doing a duck imitation in his photo but one can never be sure:

Bill and Kinou left after Sunday brunch and the four of us set off to explore the wine country. We have driven miles and miles through all the domains you might recognize: Nuits-St. George, Pommard, Beaune, ... and have not stopped, even once, to taste the wine at a vineyard! I think that sets some sort of record.

If, however, you are interested in tasting wine at the very beginning of the process, you may wish to respond to the ad for grape pickers; it is apparently very hard work but you are rewarded with a meal at the end of the day. I think it would be a fun thing to do – to actually experience the wine from the moment the grape comes off the vine and begins its journey toward the bottle.

We found an amazing overlook where we had a view of the vineyards, village and valley.

On Monday we went to Beaune where we had lunch and did a bit of shopping. Beaune is the center of the Burgundy wine area and the Hotel Dieu which is famous for it's colorful glazed roof tiles and annual wine auction as well as its historical significance.

After lunch we visited the Chateau de La Rochepot, which is a 13th century fortress that you enter via two drawbridges.

On Tuesday, we headed west and went to Vezelay. Vezelay is known for its basilica, La Madeline, which was founded in 860 AD as a monastery, and houses relics of St. Mary Magdalen; it is home to the Monastic fraternities of Jerusalem and we were fortunate enough to be there during a service.

In 1979 UNESCO declared the site of Vezelay to be an official part of the World heritage. The village is truly amazing. It is charming as well, with delightful boutiques and a grand assortment of restaurants; we, experiencing French cuisine in all it's grandeur, all had pizza for lunch in a beautiful restaurant.

Wednesday, John and Mona left for a couple of days in Paris before heading back to the States.

Dave and I spent the rest of the day, and Thursday, enjoying Dijon before leaving on Friday for the trip back to St. Jean. We found a charming restaurant on the market square on Thursday night where we had a fabulous dinner (salmon for Dave, and chicken with a mushroom champagne sauce for me) and bottle of wine.

Armed with bottles of Dijon mustard (a la Canada) for my son, we headed back to home port.

Canal de Bourgogne

After our trip to Dole, we came back to St. Jean de Losne to restock and ready ourselves and the ship for a trip up the Canal de Bourgogne to Dijon. This canal is very straight and quite pretty until it becomes somewhat industrial just outside of Dijon. The trip is 30km and 21 locks, and takes us about a day and a half to travel. On the way to Dijon, all the locks go up; although it is a bit more difficult to snag the bollard with the rope when it is several meters above my head, the up locks are my favorite. Every time it is like entering a whole new world because you just never know what you are going to see when you get to the top. (photos 2 & 3 are going up in the lock, and at the top.)

Some of the lock houses are absolutely charming; some of the lock keepers sell things such as honey, ice cream, wine, rabbits. This one has little wooden statues of seafarers, sea gulls and other nautical bric-a-brac on the window sills. Most of the lock houses are occupied but some are abandoned.

Traveling on the canal, we pass fields and fields of cows, wheat, potatoes, and the wonderful massive fields of sunflowers.

Both on our way to, and our way back, from Dijon we tied up near the little village of Longecourt. There is an amazing chateau there that was built as a fortress in the 12th century and turned into a manor house in the 17th century. It is incredibly beautiful and romantic with a moat and fields surrounding it.

Tying the ship (we were informed that a vessel of this size cannot, must not, be referred to as simply a boat, that the Shenandoah is a ship) up alongside the canal for the night is a very peaceful and comfortable place to be.