Auxonne - and the saddle thief

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Neither the new meter nor the French student who offered to polish our boat for a small fee had arrived, so we decided to jump on the bikes and pedal to the upstream town of Auxonne. At the bike stand near our pontoon we discovered that my bike saddle had disappeared. I don’t know if I could have been more annoyed if the whole bike was gone!

We decided that it would be a very uncomfortable ride to Auxonne for me, so we took the 1 and 1/2 hour snail bus to Dijon to try and purchase a new saddle. A couple of tram rides later we succeeded to get the same saddle at the Dijon Decathalon shop.

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So early the next morning we reaffixed our saddles which were safely stored on the boat overnight, and rode the 18-20km to Auxonne . The old centre features the obligatory 13th/14th century church, "Notre Dame", a couple of half timber houses and a few nice cafes and restaurants. We followed in Napoleon’s (very small!) footsteps to his statue on the Place D’Armes and the Bonaparte Quarter, where he had lived as lieutenant while attending military school.

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We found a restaurant table under a shady awning for lunch. Charming Max who sold us our boat 2 years ago and is the son of the owner of H2O in St. Jean and Auxonne was having lunch with a friend at a table close by. Astonished to hear that we biked it all the way, he offered to take a photo of the occasion with our bikes in the background.


On our return to the boat the new meter was in place, however still not working properly.

At last our student, Julien, turned up too. With good English, lots of charm and “so sorry, I passed my English exam and had to celebrate!” excuse, he started work. In 31 degree heat Julien did a smashing polishing job, only interrupted by the obligatory long lunch and a few ‘smokos’.

I heard Austin admitting that he also used to smoke and Julien quite seriously asking, why then did he give it up? and was it old age…? Oh, the innocence of youth!

With the boat glistening in the sunshine and being fed up with sensors, meters and the like, we did all the preps for leaving the next day together with our new NZ friends Sue, Rob and Rebecca on the “Beau Jolie”.

© Austin Robinson 2019