Monday, June 7 – Venarey-Les-Laumes: We were reluctant to leave our host for two nights this morning because, as she had on Sunday, she prepared a beautiful crepe for each of us for breakfast — what a great idea!
But off we went to visit the sole remaining barrel marker in the area. It was very much a do-it-yourself tour: what you see is what you get.
It was a strange mixture of old-fashioned hammering on iron rings and rather modern hydraulic equipment to do the really heavy lifting.
We spent most of the day following the course of the Canal of Burgundy, dug between 1730 and 1835 and a major means of overland transport (it connects the Seine with the Rhone). About six years ago, we spent a week on a small rented boat cruising the canal (and going through the locks which one operates oneself) in the area slightly south (around Dole) so the fantasy of slipping slowly along was one we could identify with.
At lunchtime, we stopped at a point where a large pond permitted barges to stop for longer periods. A jolly (and rotund) Englishwoman had set up a snack business and provided our meal of tomato salad and “jambon frites” (our own potato chips: poulet roti with thym, of course!).
A ways down the road we encountered the highest elevation of the canal where it was thought easier to build a two-mile tunnel rather than the additional locks to surmount the continental divide!
Finally, in Semur-en-Auxois, we saw a most impressive cathedral-sized church with fine ancient stained glass. But they were keeping up the craft as demonstrated by this World War I window in commemoration of the American army’s assistance.
At the end of the day, we couldn’t rouse anyone at the super-cheap hotel we’d read about, so we enlisted the tourist office and found this very out-of-the-way old farmhouse:
Our host was embarrassed to admit that she did not own a computer but that was very much in keeping with the style of the place.