We're going to France.
To look for a BOAT.
|Kyanna is for sale - but at 24m, probably too big for us.|
|Squid fishermen? This is probably NOT the kind of boat we're looking for.|
A canal boat.
One big enough to live on, at least for a while.
|This one is in England - they have lots of narrow canals there. |
Canals stretch all over Europe.
-You can cruise from one end of France right up to Berlin - on canals!
I know it's kind of a weird idea.
But ever since we rented canal boats, I keep thinking what a great lifestyle it is.
Floating through the villages and towns, at the pace of a walking horse.
Since canals are flat, bicycling is easy.
Every canal has a towpath beside it.
We'll have bicycles on the boat.
Ride into villages.
|Stan off for a morning baguette. Maybe two. Those are BIG barges moored on the left.|
Visit French markets for boat groceries.
It's mobile - and it's slow.
You can stop anywhere, moor along the bank.
Just pound a couple of stakes into the ground and tie up.
- Or - just keep going.
This is one of the boats we rented - on the Canal Du Midi.
The rental boats are great - practical, and luckily, somewhat indestructible.
|It looks ENORMOUS, but - that's only 15m!|
Apparently, we aren't the first ones to think of this.
There are all sorts of wanderers, living aboard barges all over Europe.
Some live right in the middle of Paris and in London - inexpensive housing in pricey cities.
Others are a sort of international floating community.
We've met a few liveaboards, and they all seem to enjoy it.
|This one is a luxury vacation boat. Ours may be simpler.|
So: Stan's been busy learning French.
We're both reading the boating regulations to pass the tests.
Since we already have our sailing licenses, and coastal cruising certifications, it's just a matter of taking the inland waterways test. (Unfortunately for Stan, I think it's in French.)
|The kids monitor our progress as we go under a low stone bridge.|
So this boat we're looking for - has to be low enough to fit under small bridges.
And narrow enough, too.
And not too deep either, for the canals.
|The canals are filled with locks - the canal system dates back to the 1600's. Usually, there's a lock keeper.|
I made a spreadsheet (of course) of all of our top choices - and I'm keeping it updated.
With a list of "must have" and "would like to have" items.
- Some boats even have wood-burning stoves!
|These are all boats we've investigated. All for sale, at a surprisingly wide range of prices. |
Some of the barges are over a century old.
They were used to haul commercial goods.
Recently they've been converted into pleasure boats.
A lot of them are REALLY long - up to 38m!
We're trying to find a one closer to 15m - still a BIG boat - about 50 feet.
|On a boat, you might need "duck bread" - otherwise known as old stale baguettes. |
So, as it stands now, we'd be spending most of our time on a converted barge.
Mostly in France.
But - who knows? I'll let you know what happens - in November!
|(Rumor has it the wine's not bad, either.)|