Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

And We're Off! (We Hope)

 Back in late April Cathy Jo found some great airfares to France. There was word that the EU, desperate for the summer tourist season, was going to allow foreign visitors for the first time in over a year so we went ahead and pulled the trigger. The tickets, departing LA July 5 and returning Sept. 27, were fully changeable and refundable so we were protected. Still, it was a big step.
My treatments completed and followups showing me healthy, we were anxious to get back to Oldtimer.
June 9 came the announcement that France would indeed open to vaccinated foreigners, albeit with a negative COVID test right before departure. We were going to France!
Then even better news. On the 17th France dropped the testing requirement. All we would need would be our vaccine card and we’d be on the way to Briare!
As luck would have it, friends happened to be passing through Briare in mid June and sent us pictures of the barge. We were pleasantly surprised that it looked in pretty good shape considering it’s been almost two years since anybody was there to take care of it. We’ll have some major spider webs to clear and a little bit more of the mossy stuff to clean but the varnished door doesn’t seem to have totally lost it’s shine and all the paint we put on in 2019 seems to be intact. Still, everything looks better on the internet so we have our fingers crossed.

 It probably won’t be a very active cruising year. We have much deferred maintenance to catch up on and since we only have three months and we’ve already planned to keep the boat in Briare for another winter we won’t be able to get too far away. We’ve been informed by the French waterways authorities that there’s plenty of water in the canals this year so that should not effect travel.

We did find a program that allows non-EU resident to lease a car for a short term so we’ll have a car available all summer. That should allow us to do a little traveling away from the waterways.

So look for the first blog postings from France sometime in early July.
We hope you all have a safe and fun summer!


  1. Fabulous news, Don and Cathy Jo! I’m so pleased for you! That’s really great! I’ll look forward to hearing more from you when you’re over here :)

  2. Hi Val,
    We're really excited! Hope that "small medical hiccup" is truly small and we can see you two this summer.

  3. More people joining the 'Yank Invasion' of the European waterways! At this rate, there will be more Stars and Stripes (or bear) flags than any other ensigns including the Brits. Ah well, it looks like I'll have lots of American's blogs to read in our wintery prison here in OZ 😡

  4. It's very sad about your "lock in", Ian. I think as we travel around we'll be checking up on several boats owned by Antipodeans. You returned to Simons, right? Here's hoping you all are released before too long.


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