Anjodi, cruising along the Canal du Midi, painting by Stanley Rose

Hello ,

welcome to the April edition of the lock-keeper.

Well, it's officially Summer Time, and the new 2004 season is underway..!

In this month's lock-keeper, we update you on the Scottish Highlander, currently cruising along Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal in Scotland.

We announce the winners of our March competition to win a holiday in Burgundy, aboard La Belle Epoque the flagship of our luxury barge fleet.Two lucky winners will receive a six night luxury cruise for two, so read-on to see who has won, and we also catch-up with our February Actief competition winnner.

We feature our new Anjodi galley, recently completely refurbished to the highest standards, and to compliment this we have an article on Provençal cuisine.

We also have a new April competition to win a holiday on Anjodi - see the new galley at first hand..!. We take an in-depth look at the first three weeks of our Trans Europe cruise on L'Impressionniste, and provide more travel updates in our Travel News section.

I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at our website, where you can find out all about GoBarging and keep up to date with the latest news as it breaks....

please read on and welcome aboard,

best regards,

Derek Banks, Chairman

Derek Banks - Chairman

in this issue:

Scottish Highlander

La Belle Epoque winners

Actief winner's surprise

Anjodi galley

Provencal cuisine

April competition

Trans-europe cruise

Travel News

back issues:

july 03

august 03

september 03

october 03

november 03

december 03

january 04

february 04

march 04

(please note that past competitions are now closed)

visit our website

Scottish Highlander

Scottish Highlander on the Caledonian Canal The Scottish Highlander started cruising for the 2004 season at the beginning of April, under the watchful eye of her new skipper Geoff Mellor.

Two successful charter cruises later and Geoff is well settled in to his new role, although it isn't his first command by far.

Geoff is in fact a seasoned campaigner, with many years at the helm.

He is a qualified sailing barge master and also an offshore yacht master with some 35 years spent navigating the river Thames in 100 ton sailing barges.

Geoff's first trip in the Highlander was to bring her out of dry dock after her winter refit, and sail her back through the Caledonian canal to her home mooring at Dochgarroch.

This turned out to be quite an adventure, with Scottish Highlander having to double up as an ice-breaker, as the canal was completely frozen over in February.

She arrived safely however and is now busy on her route between Fort William and Inverness.

While in dry dock for her refit, the Highlander was given a new coat of paint, her hull was completely checked, and new saloon windows were fitted.

The new windows give an excellent panoramic view, and guest can sit and dine in comfort while watching the passing scenery as they cruise along majestic Loch Ness.

Scottish Highlander for more details on the barge and available itineraries.

La Belle Epoque Holiday winners
Win a luxury barge cruise for two on La Belle Epoque in Burgundy

We had another great competition to enter in March. We featured La Belle Epoque, our flagship barge in Burgundy, and you could win a luxury six night cruise for two in 2004.

We asked you to view some photographs of our luxury barge La Belle Epoque, we told you about some of the famous Burgundy wines and then asked you to answer three simple questions and tell us why a luxury cruise on La Belle Epoque would be a marvellous prize.

Two lucky winners have both won a cruise for two on La Belle Epoque, please visit
La Belle Epoque winners to find out who..

Actief winner's surprise...

Nancy Morrill and husband Bill When I casually sat down at my email early on Saturday morning and saw the GoBarging "Lockkeeper", I said to myself: "I wonder who won the Actief cruise?"

What a stunning wake up and thrill I had reading down the entries shared when I saw my name and "Winner" beside it! My excitement is matched only by my congratulations to the other entrants for their good efforts and by my gratitude to GoBarging for selecting my piece.

My husband and I (with an 11 year old grandson) had a marvelous week on L'Art de Vivre two years ago, and cannot wait for our forthcoming experience on Actief.

Thank you, Thank you, Go Barging!, Nancy Morrill     
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Anjodi Galley

Anjodi's new Galley, Canal du Midi, South of France Anjodi, which cruises along the Canal du Midi in southern France, has a brand new galley for the 2004 season.

The wiring was been completely overhauled and new switches and lights were installed. Our sink was replaced (no more leaky taps), and new flooring laid.

Walls are now formica covered , and the food preparation surfaces are black granite, with the new sink bonded to the stone.

We now have new cupboards with wipe clean shelves, a new steel guard under the oven and stone splashbacks all around.

So, our guests can look forward to some fine Provençal cooking on their next Anjodi cruise.

Cuisine of Provence

French food has the reputation of being some of the best in the world. Centuries of culinary knowledge are part of the French DNA. Every course of every meal is an opportunity to dazzle both the eye and the palate.

The main meal of the day often begins with a palate-teasing apéritif to spark the appetite. Most French do not drink spirits before a meal, preferring instead some form of wine to get the juices flowing without deadening the tastebuds. An amuse bouche or small snack may be served to accompany the apéritif.

Three to four courses are the norm for a French meal. The first course is the entrée or hors d'oeuvres. The next course is le plat, usually consisting of fish or meat.

Between the main course and dessert is the cheese course. (The cheese is thought to have digestive properties and is, coincidentally, an excellent way to finish off any wine that remains.)

The final course is dessert. Dessert is sometimes followed by a digestif or after-dinner drink to nudge the digestion.

Along with the presentation of each course is a wine chosen to complement the tastes and textures of that course. Regional cuisines have their own robust identity that evolves around the characteristics of local wines. Over the years wine growers have produced wines that suit the types of food on their tables. Since the wines, cheeses, meats, fish and produce are all from the same terroir, it makes perfect sense that they would complement each other.

Lunches are often a selection of green salads, pâtés or cold meat platters, a meat or fish entrée, and, of course, the ubiquitous cheese and wine.

Breakfast is the quintessential "continental breakfast". Fresh croissants and crisp baguettes, as only the French can bake them, are served with butter and jams and washed down with coffee.

The cuisine of Provence reflects its location as a northern Mediterranean seaside province. Not surprisingly, many of its specialties employ garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes, echoing its neighbors to the east.

In fact, there is a butter/oil divide in France. The north uses butter for cooking, the south uses olive oil and the southwest uses duck or goose fat. Olives flourish in the dry rocky soil of the Provence hillsides. Herbs grow everywhere. In general, the cuisine of Provence tends to be more highly flavored than that of northern France.

The sea furnishes ample supplies of fish and shellfish as well as ample inspiration. Marseilles' bouillabaisse is the famed fish stew which can contain a dozen kinds of Mediterranean fish and shellfish. Numerous other soupes aux poissons are featured on menus.

Provence is home too of specialities other than those based on seafood. The region is well known for its cassoulets, which are stews of meat and beans. Herds of sheep and cattle which graze on the salt marshes of Camargue contribute a special quality to the lamb and beef dishes of that area.

Truffles lend their magic to a number of recipes, and snails are a regional delicacy. The pâté de fois gras of Provence is as famous as that of Alsace. And there is even a special pâté made from tiny thrushes.

The vegetable gardens of Provence supply the ingredients for some famous dishes as well. Salad Niçoise, born in Provence, is served throughout France, as is ratatouille, the well-known mélange of tomatoes, eggplant, and squash.

A typical Provençal Menu du Terroir:

Poivrons Grilles et Sardines sur Toast et Tapenade
(Grilled Peppers with Sardines on Toast with Olive Paste)

Condrieu Francois Villard (wine)
Loup de Mediterranée braisé au basilic sur lit de fenouil à l'huile d'olive
(Sea Bass cooked on a bed of Fennel Stalks with Olive Oil)

Chateauneuf du Pape Domaine Grand Veneur (wine)
Plateau de Fromages:
(Cheese Platter)

St Marcellin, Bleu des Causses, Picodon de l'Ardèche, Banon
Brochette de Fruits Frais au Romarin et Vanille
(Fresh Fruit with Rosemary and Vanilla Coulis)

April Competition

Win a luxury barge cruise for two on Anjodi in the South of France

No doubt by now, you will be getting the idea of our competitions. This month, we ask you to explore Anjodi, find out what she has to offer and answer a few simple questions then tell us why a luxury cruise on Anjodi would be a wonderful prize to win.

Please visit the
Anjodi competition page to enter the new competition, and good luck to everyone.

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L'Impressionniste Trans Europe 6 week cruise
Avignon to Amsterdam departing 24th October to 4th December

from Avignon in the South to Amsterdam in the North - follow the trail and experience the trip of a lifetime There are still places left for our fantastic six week Trans Europe page - just imagine, six weeks of expedition cruising through several European countries, capital cities and cultures.

Here are just some of the highlights of the first three week cruise from Avignon to Paris:

Your "Journey of a Lifetime" commences in Avignon on the River Rhône. Passengers are met at the Grand Hotel, Avignon and escorted to Impressionniste moored nearby for a Champagne Welcome and introduction to fellow passengers and Captain and crew before dinner aboard.

Next day, we spend the morning touring Avignon, which like most of Provence takes its inspiration from Italy. It was the seat of the Papacy in the 14th Century. The city is surrounded by a circle of rugged city walls.

We head for Montelimar, the delicious Nougat capital. The mighty Rhône River has been the main trading route for over 2000 years and the pre Alps over to the east create a fine setting.

We cruise to Valence, a thriving town facing the Ardeche cliffs. The Cathedral of St Apollinaire was founded in 1095 and rebuilt during the 1700's. The museum of beaux arts contains a collection of late 18th century chalk drawings of Rome. The nearby Ardeche gorges have been carved out over thousands of years and are more reminiscent of the American southwest than the verdure commonly associated with French countryside. Valence is also a great French shopping town. Our cruise takes us past the Cote du Rhone vineyards region.

By the end of the first week, our journey takes us to Lyon, a city with a wealth of historic sights, Roman monuments, medieval churches and renaissance houses. The town abounds with fine inns and restaurants and is justifiably titled the gastronomic centre of France.

We carry on up the River Saone towards the Beaujolais wine region and Macon, home of the poet Lamartine. Macon is the southern frontier of Burgundy and the Musee des Ursulines houses a fine collection of Flemish and French paintings.

We travel onwards to Chalon, the birthplace of photography. In 1822 Nicephone Niepce managed to capture an image on glass at nearby St Loup de Varenne and Chalon has an interesting museum of pictures and photographic artefacts. We visit the great Romanesque Abbey of Cluny and sample the famous dry white wine from the Pinot Chardonnay Grape.

We leave the River Saone behind and join the Burgundy Canal, a perfect opportunity to use the on board bicycles, or you can hike along the paths between the various locks. While all will enjoy the scenery of the area, the wine lovers will delight at the opportunity to share in wine tastings arranged by a Burgundian Negociant.

At the end of week two, we have two days to enjoy Dijon, ancient capital of the Dukes of Burgundy. In the 14th and 15th Centuries, they turned the duchy into a great centre of European art.

Dijon remains the wealthy cultural and commercial centre of Burgundy and a delightful city for wandering and watching. We take the opportunity to sample the Cote de Nuits vintages near Nuits St Georges.

In week three, we continue along the Burgundy Canal - our cruise playground over these days. Impressionniste, with her deck chairs, will soon become your viewing spot to enjoy the delights of Burgundian scenery and the energies of the barge Chef will tempt you back again and again to the warm saloon. The Burgundy area is one of the most serene areas of France and these days of calm tree-lined cruising will be remembered long after your holiday is over.

To complete week three, there are two days, or more if you and your fellow travellers choose, to savour the delights of Paris. L'Impressionniste will be moored on the Seine and the city is yours to explore.

Paris is pre-eminently a strollers' city where many things old and atmospheric, bright and beautiful may be seen. One of the most civilised pastimes of Paris is sitting at a sidewalk café and watching the world go by, another is shopping!

For a detailed itinerary, please visit L'Impressionniste Trans Europe 6 week cruise or,
contact us today to book your place..
Travel News

We are offering our Anjodi Golf Cruise for individuals to book departing 13th June, 2004, and join other like minded people on board. The golf theme cruise is usually only available for charters, so this is a great chance for individuals or couples to experience this unique golf vacation.

Visit the
Anjodi Golf cruise for more details, or contact us here for more information
Anjodi 13th June Golf cruise

Our 2005 prices will be out very soon, so here's a great offer to our lockkeeper readers.

Book and deposit a 2005 cruise before April 30th, 2004, and we will hold the 2004 price for you.

Actief special offer - We are offering the week commencing 9th May 2004 at the low season price for a charter of 6-11 passengers, saving up to $4000 on an 11 passenger charter. Contact us here for more information Actief May 9th offer

If you have any suggestions, feedback or barging stories to tell us, then please e-mail us. We'll be glad to hear from you and share your inputs in the lock-keeper. There will also be some spot prizes for good submissions...What would you like to read about next month..??

Why not email this edition on to a friend, and let them share the fun. New subscribers can sign-up here, and are very welcome. More people are joining every day, so let's keep building a great Barging community..!

That's about it for this tenth edition, and hopefully the above articles have whet your appetite for that well-earned luxury cruise..!

Please visit barge cruises and have a look around, or follow the individual links above.

The next edition of the lock-keeper will be out in May, 2004, so we'll see you then.

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