Informal voyages of discovery in 2014
Charter barge Nilaya glides gracefully from place to place at the very sedate and relaxing speed of 4 miles an hour. So slow in fact that you can easily walk or cycle and get ahead of her. Speed is not what barging on the rivers and canals of France is all about.
What it is about, is a week of tranquil lazy days, barging through ever changing scenery, relaxing and leaving the stresses and speed of your normal life so very far behind. Sucking in the fresh air, soaking up the beautiful vistas and admiring the varied bird life and natural surroundings as you glide so very gently through it. Sometimes we moor in towns, cities or small villages, but other times in places so isolated that they are unreachable other than by boat. Sometimes neither Barge Nilaya or anyone aboard has visited the places we arrive at or cruise through. This makes it a real adventure for all involved.
Every day is a moveable feast. We often (but not always) cast off and cruise for a few hours each morning, reaching the next overnight stop by about two o'clock. During this time, you can relax, help out aboard or (where possible) walk or cycle the towpath alongside the canal. Often, you'll be able to walk faster than the barge! Above all, the cruising time is about relaxation and absorbing the gorgeous scenery as we pass through it. Sometimes (but not always), we cruise in the afternoons and sometimes all day. Sometimes we even enjoy where we are so much that we decide to stay for an additional day.
The canals of France, much like those of the UK are a treasure trove of history. Many have been in use since prehistoric times as trading routes although commerce these days has sadly declined to the point where it has almost vanished. The pace of life is slow and the waterways magnificent. Tranquility abounds. Just imagine barging, cruising at a slow pace as we edge charter barge Nilaya through the canals of France and other European waterways, a lovely light lunch followed by an afternoon snooze followed by a stretch of the legs, maybe a cold refreshing beer to quench the thirst before gearing up for a shower, bank side barbeque or repairing to a local hostelry for dinner.
After such a tiring day you are sure to be in bed early. It's the fresh air and lack of stress.