The morning sun shone brightly as we made our plans for the day…..grocery shopping in Colombiers with a stop at Brico Depot for the wood needed to repair a broken bed frame on the boat. We finished early and headed to the marina for lunch. After lunch, the sun was still shining and the day was warm so we took a walk along the canal.
As we pondered the foreign words in front of us, a gentleman emerged from a nearby barge, the “Oz.” We asked if he spoke English…..he did…..so we asked why some trees were sporting this green stripe. He explained that the painted trees will be removed. One of them is infected with a tree-killing spore and, to curtail the spread of its disease, both the infected tree and its neighboring trees must be destroyed. He sadly reported that 2,000 of the 60,000 Plane trees lining the Canal have been removed due to this mean-spirited spore. This was disenheartening news…..these stately trees, with their cooling shade, are so integral to the canal…..its impossible to imagine the canal devoid of their welcoming presence.
taking up to six passengers (in three exquisitely decorated bedrooms) on a round-trip journey to Le Somail. Since total cruising time is only 10 hours, the three-day cruise allows for plenty of breaks in the journey…..
Cruising the Canal is a truly wondrous experience. Slowly plying its peaceful waters, absorbed by the beauty surrounding you…..graceful arched bridges, dappled shade, pastoral countryside, fairytale villages…..you feel a calmness, a tranquility, a sense of well-being that’s like nothing you’ve ever felt before. Words, no matter how vivid, fail to describe this enchanting place…..to understand it, you must experience it.
There are precious few ways to discover this little piece of heaven on earth…..hotel barges are an expensive (albeit luxurious) option and houseboat rentals, though economical, can feel stressful and rushed. To my mind, Dominic and Gwen have hit upon the perfect solution…..a captained cruise with plenty of time for on-shore adventures…..without breaking the bank or consuming all your hard-earned vacation days.
If this piques your interest (or if you’d like to see pictures that do justice to this fine, old barge), take a look at their still-in-progress website www.peniche-oz.com.