Friday, April 16, 2010

Cruising Down a River

First, dear readers, as may be evident by this post, we have returned home from our trip to explore the waters of two of France's rivers.

Oh, didn't I mention specifically where we were going? OK--over the next several days, I will post bits and pieces of this trip. We began in Paris--having dodged not one but two British Airways strikes. Sadly, our flight out of Philadelphia (to London) was delayed enough that we had to be put on a different connecting flight to Paris. That meant we lost a day's worth of sightseeing, so some of the places I had hoped to get to went by the wayside. Sigh--although, I think that means we must make a return visit to Paris some day.

While we began our trip in Paris, I will reserve that for a later post.

The major portion of our trip began in Chalon Sur Saône, where we boarded our ship--the whole trip, this vessel was referred to as "the ship" but to me it was a pleasantly appointed river boat--far too small to be a ship. The first river we cruised on was the Saône (pronounced Sown). Since we began our trip in early April, we encountered very high water. France had had a very snowy winter, so the snow melt combined with a fair bit of rain had the rivers running high--this will feature later in the trip. The Saône empties into the Rhone River, which we continued on until our departure point of river cruising at Arles.

For all those of you who have taken a ship cruise, you know the two challenges of sailing: 1) can you actually move around the cabin, and 2) will the shower curtain get intimate with you. Happily, our cabin was a decent size for two people. And the best part--the shower had a DOOR! No clinging curtain.

On the very first day of sailing, when we awoke, we could see a lovely sunrise. I asked my husband to please go up top and get a photo of the sunrise. So, here is his result.

One other feature of traveling on water--the constant presence of swans everywhere. They are very common birds, at least along rivers in France. One pair followed the ship into one of the many locks we sailed through. I confess--I got a bit carried away getting photos of them. They clearly had learned that as the water lowered, good eating was to be had with the algae along the walls exposed. Very enterprising of them--and they simply kept on floating along as the ship departed the lock. I think I heard the male swan say--I'll take you out for dinner tonight.

The ship was our floating hotel--where we slept, ate and relaxed between the towns. When we reached a town, the ship docked, usually overnight. Then we toured several small towns, and several cities. More to come on that.

Now, three days after returning home, I am slowly feeling the solidity of land under my feet. My inner ears are no longer telling me I am floating. I am bit by bit returning to being a land dweller.
Photo of the ship, the Avalon Scenery, comes from the Avalon website:


Anvilcloud said...

Wow! Great trip, undoubtedly.

(My word verification for this comment is shiptu.)

amarkonmywall said...

I am following these posts closely. We are hoping to take a river barge trip this fall in France so the more details/pix the better!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Where you on the last flight out of Europe? I have been following the situation there and wondering if there will still be no flying come May 11 when we leave for Belgium. Lynne says we will defintely be going somewhere even if we cannot go to Belgium. I think she just want to get me alone and have my undivided attention.

When you passed Lyon did you see Le Fourvière Bascilica, overlooking the Rhone?

Anonymous said...

Husband outdid himself on the sunrise photo. BEAUTIFUL! It looks like we could all walk on water there!

Sounds like the most perfect trip imaginable! I've never taken a cruise on one of the smaller ships. There are some lovely-sounding ones here in the US, but this...WOW!

Leslie said...

Wow! What gorgeous pictures and such clever writing. Thanks for being the perfect traveling companion. I feel so lucky to have met you and Carlin.

KGMom said...

A few quick responses:
@AC--I swear, someone at Blogger is reading the content & picking an apropos word verification.
@Vicki--keep reading. I will try to fill you in.
@Philip--yes. I will be writing about cities shortly.
@MM--yes he did. I am usually "the photographer" so I wanted to showcase his talents, this time.
@Leslie--mutual. You were a great traveling companion. Can't wait for the novel ;-)

Jayne said...

What a wonderful journey Donna! That sunrise is amazing. Thankfully that Iceland volcano waited a week to erupt, else you'd still be in France. I feel so sorry for so many people whose vacations of a lifetime are being ruined.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing trip! My verification word is inipsi which doesn't sound all that relevant to me! :) Can't wait to hear more about your journeys.

NCmountainwoman said...

Welcome home. So glad you got away before the eruption. I'll be looking forward to more posts about the trip. Lovely so far.

Ruth said...

Cruises don't interest me in general, but I would sign up for this trip in a minute. The last picture is gorgeous!