Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Idyllic Vacation on a Barge in France... Part 1

I finally got some of my favorite photos converted to digital so I could keep them on my computer. I wanted to share some of them here on my blog. They bring back wonderful memories, and chase the blues and blahs away.

In 1999, my husband and I traveled to France, for the first time in both of our lives. A barge trip in France had been the lifelong dream of a couple of our best friends. So, the four of us decided to go for it. These are some of the photos we took on that wonderful trip.

Our adventure began in Paris. Here are our two guys looking up at the Eiffel Tower. The lights on the Eiffel Tower spelled out the countdown to the new millenium. It says " 141 days until the year 2000". Our guys were looking a bit puzzled, as they don't read French.

After Paris, we took the TGV south to wine country. We met up with our barge, which took us down the Canal du Midi. Life on the barge was relaxing, exciting and fun. We had a guide, a captain, a chef, and a charming crew. They treated us like royalty. We had three wonderful meals a day. With each, they served special wines and cheeses from the area.

Our barge, along the canal:

Two of our friendly servers:

Days on the barge were quiet and lovely... floating slowly past beautiful French countryside, having wonderful food and wine and enjoying the company of our fellow travelers.

The barge went slowly enough that we could get off and walk alongside, and they had bicycles for those who wanted to ride along. We stopped at locks along the way. The lock-keepers live in cottages by the canal. They come out and turn the big wheels to work the locks, while people stand on bridges above and greet us.

The lock-keeper's cottage:

Visiting with the villagers along the way:

We took day trips into the countryside. We visited historic places, toured castles, tasted wine at wineries. Every morning a member of the crew rode his bicycle to the nearest village to buy fresh croissants at the local bakery.

Barrels of wine in the caves:

Tasting the wine:

Signposts in the countryside:

My husband along the way:

Whew! That's enough posting for today. I will put more photos up tomorrow.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I want to scan older pictures (pre-digital) like you have... even more, I want to go to Europe and experience life on a barge. I am ready for more installments of your Idyllic French Vacation!