Roanne, France
"Oldtimer," originally a working barge in The Netherlands transporting grain, was built in 1927 and converted to a live aboard barge in the 1990's. The barge is 16 meters and the style of barge is called a Steilsteven. We are the second owners and have owned the ship since October 2005. We are Americans from Colorado who with our Tibetan Terrier "Tulah" now live in France and "Oldtimer" is our home.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Italy and Switzerland

We took a leave of absence from Oldtimer this past week and drove (in our car) to Italy and Switzerland. What a treat.

We spent our first night in Annecy France which is a most beautiful place. We were lucky enough to have gone there in June to visit our friends from Vail, Jane and Joel Gros. We were anxious to return again- the swimming is great. Our second night was on Lago di Garda in Italy. Another beautiful lake and also great swimming. Our destination the next day was to stay in the Dolomites for 3 days and hike.

The Dolomites are extraordinary. The hiking and views are fabulous - it often seems like a Hollywood movie back drop. The people in the Dolomites , although Italian, mostly speak German. This portion of Italy was once in Germany. It is bounded on the North by Austria and on the west by Switzerland and Liechtenstein. We arrived in the Dolomites to a small valley called the Val di Funes. It is a little off the beaten path and as a result as Americans we were definitely odd man out. The majority - perhaps even all - the guests at the hotel where we stayed were German. It was one of the first times we did Half Board with a Hotel and this turned into a nice experience as we did not have to think about breakfast or dinner just hiking. Lunch each day was available in one of the many Refugios in the mountains. As you will see in the photos lunch one day came with music by the "Blues Brothers." We would really recommend if you have the chance to go to the Dolomites - do so!

We went onto Switzerland after 3 days. We have apologized to our children for spending their entire inheritance in Switzerland. A wonderful country and so beautiful but also so expensive. We drove over at least 6 passes to get there as we were determined to SEE the mountains. We stayed for 2 nights in a small town outside of Interlaken - Winderswill. Our intention was to ride the train and cog railway to Klein Scheidegg just below the Junfrau and hike from there. Unfortunately it was raining so it provided another eating opportunity and a small amount of hiking. While we were there the Switzerland national wrestling championship was taking place in Interlaken. The participants are local farmers and the event is over a weekend. The grand prize for this event is a huge Bull. As outsiders we found this a hoot to watch but realized this is a national sport and great fun for the Swiss.
We are now back in St Leger sur Dheune. A great experience and lovely biking. Yesterday we rode through the vineyards, on a Voie Romaine, visited several tiny villages, saw chateaux, spent the evening with some French friends ( all speaking French - exhausting) and today it is back to painting and cleaning and doing laundry. Lest you think this is all fun and games.
We are planning on leaving for the USA September 28th. We have several buyers "humming " around the boat but no commitments yet. We shall see.
We are back home on Oldtimer and prepping for our return to the USA. We are planning on leaving the 28th of September.