Up and early again today. After a quick breakfast we boarded the buses and headed to Cluny. On the way we stopped on the side of the road to look at this castle. Grand and majestic on the top of the hillside it stood, shining in the early morning sun, striking through the dense fog. It is owned by an 80-year-old woman and her boyfriend. Can you imagine living there at 80 years old? Apparently she only uses a few of the rooms.
We arrived in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. Home to Cluny Abbey, and a sweet little village. We explored the abbey first. Most of it has been rebuilt but a few of the original parts are still standing.
Built in Romanesque Style architecture, Cluny Abbey was erected in 1000 AD. 90% of it was knocked down and has been rebuilt over time. Although originally occupied by monks, has been used for several different purposes over the years. It is currently used as a college.
It was truly amazing. There is a woman buried there whose name was Ava (pronounced Ah-vah) So pretty.
The Cluniac Prayer
by whose grace thy servants
the Holy Abbots of Cluny
enkindled with the fire of thy love
became burning and shining lights in thy Church
Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline
and may ever walk before thee as children of light
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who with the
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
liveth and reigneth
now and forever
After touring the Abbey, we had free time to explore the Christmas market and the village. Cluny was more hilly. We wandered the cobblestone streets, enjoying the colorful buildings, ornate churches, clay roofs, and many different shops. A man sat on the curb playing an accordion so his music followed us along the narrow streets.
The Christmas market had all sorts of crafts and food. We sampled cakes and chocolate and drooled over the fancy French desserts. We stopped to get baguettes at a bakery, and slowly walked back to the busses enjoying the crusty bread.
We got back to the boat just in time for lunch and as we ate, the boat started sailing down the river for the first time! Our river cruise has officially started! We headed to Lyon. It took about 7 hours of sailing. We had to go through several locks and that took a very long time. The boat itself didn’t go very fast. (20-25 mph) It was fun passing the small villages and towns. People on the shore waved to us and got so excited to see us passing by. The hillsides were covered in lush forests and rolling vineyards with skeleton grapevines standing firm in the cold wind.
Sailing was relaxing. We had a lecture about the French Waterways. A French lesson and then another lengthy four-course dinner with amazing food and leisure time sailing until bed. What a peaceful way to fall asleep. Water gently lapping the boat. It didn’t rock at all so I never felt seasick. Just a lovely floating feeling that softly lulled you to sleep.