St. Florentin and Brienon-sur-Armaçon

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20/6/2013

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In spite of our plan to avoid the holidaying bumper boats, we ended up with three boats in the lock after stopping for lunch. 

A "bumper boat" with happy-go-lucky Austrians on board dared to squeeze in between Angus' and our boat. Everybody knows that Austrians belong on the mountains and not on the water, and the result was as expected: Angus' and Pam's boat was rammed, but luckily not damaged. We politely asked to pass the Austrians before the next lock, so that our steel hull would act as an armour for Angus' fibre glass boat. It was all a tight squeeze, and we were glad to reach St. Florentin. 

21/6/2013

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This morning, with some storm clouds gathering, we saw the clever Austrians already waiting in front of the first lock. On Angus' suggestion, we claimed engine problems to delay our departure and so we watched while, after some time of hesitation, the Austrian boat was lowered and away. Unfortunately, we learned that nothing ever goes by plan. As soon as our boats were in the lock, another private cruiser was approaching. This time we were in the front and it took us a little while to work out the best technic to secure our lines.

On leaving we had a lovely view of the 16th century church.

We were blown into Brienon-sur-Armaçon's marina by one of the typical strong summer winds which ignored that today is summer solstice.

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The Capitainere was very exited and telling us that tonight is music in town to celebrate the summer solstice. The same happens all over France. Straight after his announcement he charged us with the highest mooring fee so far of 15Euro!!

Walking to the town-hall to find out where the 18th century oval washhouse is situated, we also found a castle-like school complex with high wrought iron fencing and a beautiful, but crumbling romanesque church all situated around the central place.

From there very narrow cobble stone lanes run in semi-circular shape to the outskirts. We easily found the washhouse surrounded by wooden roofing very much like the Fosse Dionne in Tonnerre, which was also serving as a washhouse in the 18th/19th century. 

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Having our cultural appetite satisfied we headed straight to the village's patisserie where a big custard flan caught our eyes.

In the evening we arrived full of expectation at the library's courtyard, only to be told that we missed the music concert which had now moved on to the village centre. In front of the old market hall we found a marquise and a group of locals listening to a pop band and eating chips and sausages. Joining them we realised that the majority sadly consisted of the local alcoholics who applauded the rather mediocre band enthusiastically. We were the only tourists there, but somehow fitted right in!?? The band was finally replaced by a local girl playing the "Titanic" song on a recorder. When she played a french song, we didn't recognise, everyone fell in singing to her music.

On our return we shared the custard flan accompanied by a little Merlot with our friends Angus and Pamela.


© Austin Robinson 2019