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  • Bill and Nancy

August 2000

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

We have been dreaming of cruising away for quite a while now. We thought we were ready to go last month, but we found out we still had more work to do before we could leave.

We have had the same dream so many times now; we know it well. When the day finally arrives that we are ready to cruise, everyone that we know in Saint-Symphorien-sur-Saône and Saint-Jean-de-Losne will come out to wave goodbye to us.

In fact, in our dream, we are surprised to see that the whole town of St. Jean turns out to say, "Bon Voyage," as we cruise under the bridge.

The shopkeepers, who have been so kind to us, come out to see us as we cruise down the main street of Saint-Jean-de-Losne.

We float past our favorite hardware store, France Décor. The owners' Marc and Nelly Lesaulnier, are out in front, and Toby hops off the boat to see them. They put in our kitchen floor, did all of the wallpaper, and laid the carpet in our barge. None of them easy jobs with all of the curves on a boat. They always smile when we come into their shop; they seem to enjoy listening to us struggling with French. Toby likes going there because they give him lots of duck-flavored dog cookies. If he ever runs away, we'll know where to find him.

We wave goodbye. We will miss Marc and Nelly's friendly smiles and their funny jokes.

Just across the street, Joel is outside of his shop, La Maison de la Presse, where we buy our newspapers, maps and bought our giant French-English dictionary. He has our newspaper and hands it to us. We wave to him and tell him to give his dog a little pat for us.

We turn hard to port to sail past our favorite bakery lady, Madame Breuil. She is always so lovely to us, and she has the very best croissants. She taught us all about how you should use small coins to make the exact change in the bakery, and she patiently helped us learn how to ask for each item. She was always surprised to see that we were still in town. Most boaters don't stay here for seven months. Now we are finally saying goodbye.

Now a turn toward starboard so that we can say goodbye to Les Morais. They have the very best meats, cheeses, and patés. They also make wonderfully prepared dishes of Coq au Vin, Porc Provençal, and other tasty recipes. It was great not to worry about what to make for dinner when we were painting the boat all day.

We see Madame Linda from the Laundromat in Dole, a town 30 kilometers from St. Jean de Losne. In our dream, she has moved her shop to St. Jean. She has helped us do our laundry once a week for the past six months until we moved onto the barge, where we have a washer & dryer. She was so sweet that when we brought her a present on our last visit, she already had a present ready to give us.

Suddenly we are back in our Dentist's office. But we don't mind because Dr. Nowak and her assistant were always amiable, and they never caused us any pain.

Then instead of cruising on the river, we float right along our favorite road on our way to St. Symphorien. We drove this road every day going from our gîte to our barge and back, and we watched the scenery change with the seasons.

The little pony that lived in a field along the road was all by himself during the lonely winter months. In the spring, when we cruised by, we were happy to see that another pony was standing next to him.

The fields themselves, barren in the winter, looked beautiful in the spring and summer.

We come to the little bar that is the only business in the village. We went there one night with friends, even though Nathalie had told us that the patrons gossip about strangers. We tried not to make any faux pas; we didn't want to be like the two English guys that caused a stir in town because they each ordered a beer and a pastis to drink at the same time. We didn't stay long. The locals may not have even known that we were there because we could barely see across the little room for all the cigarette smoke.

We are on our way to see the owners of our gîte, Nathalie, Georges, and their daughter Nina. They live just across the street from the bar. We use the bow thruster to make the tight turn into their courtyard, then cruise around to the backyard and moor in their swimming pool.

We come down the gangplank from the barge to find that they have arranged a going away party for us. Nathalie has prepared the food, and Georges has selected the wine, so we knew that everything would be delicious. It is a great party, and as evening approaches, everyone climbs on board, and we all sit around the table on our back deck. Our dream ends well because this is what we have been looking forward to for the past seven months. Soon we hope to make our first actual cruise, and at the end of that long-awaited day, we look forward to enjoying the sunset from our back deck with good friends, good food, and a nice bottle of wine.

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