On Tuesday morning, July 20, we left Vieville and 5 hours later reached the Halte Nautique in Donjeux. At that point we decided to phone the vnf in hopes of getting information about the status of the canal closure ahead of us. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, we were told that the Champagne et Bourgogne would be opened up the next morning. Not long after that conversation we received a notice to mariners in our e-mail with the official announcement of the opening of navigation. Good news indeed. The halte in Donjeuex was a nice enough place--quiet, peaceful, and a free mooring with electricity--but our time limitations and the distance yet to travel are always on our minds, so we were happy that we were going to be able to move on.
|Weeds in the canal are occasionally a problem again.|
This mass/mess was in the canal as we passed by the
halte nautique of Froncles on our way to Donjeux.
|Maybe the bird lovers out there know what this bird is.|
All I know is that its colors were stunning.
|The French canal version of a branch library.|
|Enjoying a self-guided tour of the chateau gardens|
and the first floor of the chateau
|Very formal gardens in Renaissance French style. The|
chateau had several gardens; this one was at the front
of the building.
|One of the gardens in the back.|
|The Chateau du Grand Jardin and some of its gardens|
|Looking from the Chateau du Grand Jardin toward the hill upon|
which can still be seen the remnants of the medieval fortress
|One of the church's treasures is "St Joseph's Belt", |
brought back from the Seventh Crusade (mid-11th C) by
Jean de Joinville
The timing of our visit to Joinville was good, in that July 21 was the date of the first concert in a "Festival d'orgue" held in the church with music played on the church's 1688 organ. The artist that evening was Juan Paradell Sole, organist emeritus at the Vatican in Rome. Two comments about the concert: 1) the music was enjoyable and 2) the pews were the most uncomfortable we have ever sat in. The seat was at a 90-degree angle to the back, and the top of the pew back had a strip of wood that forced us to lean forward.
|The old organ, placed as organs usually are, up|
high and in the back of the church.
|No neck-craning needed: a screen was erected in|
the front of the church for our viewing pleasure.
We set an ambitious cruising schedule for ourselves on July 22nd. To take advantage of the continuing good weather, and with the prospect of a day in port on the 23rd, we decided to put in a long 8-hour day to go directly from Joinville to the city of St. Dizier. This would entail about 30 kilometers, 13 locks, and several lift bridges. We started relatively early, and for the first 3 hours things were great. But as the exit gates of Lock 50 just started to open they suddenly stopped. A call to the vnf was followed by a 30-minute wait for someone to show up to get us out of the lock. While waiting, we had the opportunity to contemplate the difference between regular time and "boat time" with respect to distances travelled.
|As water poured over the back gate . . .|
|. . . we contemplated the partially open doors|
in front of us. Ah, freedom! So close and yet so far.
|There was one boat (not occupied) behind us on the quay, so we essentially had the mooring to|
|Our bike ride that evening took us to the neighboring|
village of Roche-sur-Marne. For such a small village,
the church was a wonder.