Anjodi, cruising along the Canal du Midi, painting by 

Stanley Rose


Hello,


welcome to the January edition of the lock-keeper.

A very Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our readers.

In this month's GoBarging newsletter, we interview our Sales and Reservations Manager Amanda Green, a key member of our GoBarging staff. We feature Actief Gardens cruises and the Fiorita Regatta in Venice and introduce our latest barge Savoir Faire which cruises in France and Holland.

We announce our new Anjodi itinerary from Carcassonne to Beziers and follow in Harry Potter's footsteps on the Hogwarts Express in Scotland.

Find out who has won our case of Burgundy wine and we have a great new January Scottish Highlander cruise competition to kick-off the New Year.

We finish with some Barge updates, a forthcoming Rick Stein book sale and our 2007 Earlybird offer.

So, all-in-all, a good start to 2006 (It's almost February already..!!)

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....


best regards,

Derek Banks, Chairman


Derek Banks - Chairman and Barge skipper

in this issue:

Meet Amanda

Garden cruises

Fiorita Regatta

Dutch cruises

New Anjodi Itinerary

Hogwarts Express

Cruise Competition

Wine winner

News

back issues:

july 05

august 05

september 05

october 05

november 05

december 05

visit our website
GoBarging.com
barge cruise at
www.gobarging.com



GOBARGING CENTRAL

Amanda Green, EW Sales ManagerFor the new year, we thought it might be fun to introduce a new feature on the jolly team of people who look after the administration side of the Go Barging operation. We'll start the series with Amanda Green, our Sales & Reservations Manager.

How long have you worked for Go Barging?

I've been with the company for 7 years. True to the saying "time flies when you're having fun" coming to work here is very enjoyable and time's really flown by.

What did you do before coming to Go Barging?

After leaving college in, I spent 9 years in an International computer company as a Sales Manager. When my three children arrived - Henry (9), Simon (12) and Oliver (16) - I decided to take 7 years out to spend time with them and to study for a 6 year BA Degree in English Language and Literature. In addition I was chair person on the parent/teachers association at my children's school and ran a parent/toddler group in the local church hall. I do like to keep busy!

What would a typical day for you entail?

My main emphasis is on client communication, helping prospective clients to choose the best holiday and keeping current clients informed about their cruise. The experience of dealing with European Waterways should include not only a high quality cruise but also high quality customer service. This is why I spend a lot of time ensuring our customers feel valued. Once a customer has booked, I monitor their holiday booking right through to the departure date, ensuring all arrangements are in place for them to have a brilliant time, right down to ensuring the barge is stocked with their favourite tipple! Regular contact with the barge Captains and crew is essential. Another big part of my day is liaison with travel agents, providing them with all the information they need to sell our cruises to their customers. This involves the management of the computer reservation system and liaising with my other colleagues regarding what cruises to promote and which payments to chase. It's a very varied job and there's never a dull day!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am passionate about the product and love the concept. It is so much easier to sell a product if you are enthusiastic about it. Another enjoyable aspect is that I get to spend time on the barges. Of course, by going on board I can be more informed when clients ask about our cruises. We also have a lot of repeat clients and I enjoy renewing old acquaintances each year and helping them choose their next cruise with us. I get to know these clients very well and it is always lovely to hear from them especially when they send photographs to me of their favourite moments on board.

What is your favourite European Waterways destination?

I have a few favourites really, but the top of the list is France. The Canal du Midi in Southern France and the Nivernais Canal in Burgundy are such pretty canals and you truly feel you are in the "real France". You can hop on and off these barges at the locks and cycle or walk to the next lock and hop back on with ease, which gave me a great sense of freedom.

What was your most embarrassing/funny moment with European Waterways?

Getting lost in the woods on my last trip to Scottish Highlander! Fortunately I'd told Captain Dan where I was going and how long I'd take, so it wasn't long before he and his search party found me! Everyone had a good laugh about this for the rest of the cruise. It was a funny moment but also an embarrassing moment all rolled into one.  
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BRITISH FLOWER SHOWS

Looking out from my office window onto the sleepy GoBarging garden, sky slightly overcast, a chill in the air, and a few persevering sunbeams (!), it is cheering to think that it won't be long till we see the daffodils and snowdrops popping up to tell us that winter is nearly over.

Already there are buds on the trees and those cheeky bright green parrots (escapees from Windsor Safari Park some 15 or so years ago!) are sitting up there squawking away while chomping on some tasty morsels. There is a lot going on in the GoBarging garden and thoughts drift easily towards garden planning for the coming season.

Talking of flowers, we British are renowned for our love of gardening and the enthusiasts amongst us are already booking our tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show from 23rd to 27th May. This internationally renowned show attracts thousands of visitors every year, intent on seeing the wonderful fruit and flower displays, the exhibition gardens (designed by the brightest and best of Britain's garden designers) and discovering new varieties and colours to incorporate into their own gardens. The whole event takes place at the Chelsea Royal Hospital, home of the famous Chelsea Pensioners, who also visit the show.

Chelsea Flower Show is one of those things you really must visit once in your life if you love plants and gardens - and if you want to make the experience even more special, then why not stay the week on board our barge Actief, which incorporates tickets to the show on her special gardens cruise along the Royal river Thames. This cruise gives a fascinating insight into the history of English gardens, visiting landscaped and botanic gardens dating back to the 17th century.

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

From 2nd July,
Actief goes garden-hunting again, this time the cruise highlight being a visit to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, nurseries, societies and charities create 25 colour filled traditional and contemporary gardens in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, including spectacular water gardens. There are also stunning floral displays in 8 huge marquees, including the British Rose Festival. A unique feature of the cruise is a visit to Englefield House with its breathtakingly beautiful 7 acres of woodland gardens, deer park and private walled Victorian style kitchen garden - a source of great pride to its owners, Sir William and Lady Benyon, who invite us to have morning coffee and a guided tour.

Visit Actief's Chelsea Flower Show cruise   or Actief's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show cruise

The combination of Actief, river and gardens will ensure a memorable, relaxing and refreshing holiday. Actief can be booked by individuals or privately chartered for groups from 6 to 11 passengers.

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LA DOLCE VITA - RIVIERA FIORITA REGATTA

Still on the subject of flowers, back in September and October's editions of Lock-keeper we were delighted to share with you
Christina Tarantelli's account of her cruise on board La Dolce Vita at regatta time. If you were inspired by Christina's colourful account, you will be interested to know that there is still space on board La Dolce Vita during the Regatta Fiorita cruise starting on 10th September 2006.

Venice's Fiorita RegattaThe Flowering River Regatta is probably the most important event on the Brenta river, all the villages along the banks of the Naviglio Canal joining in. The regatta was revived in 1977 and re-enacts the magnificent procession along the river of the visiting French king, Henry III, in 1574.

On arrival in Venice, he received a warm welcome, having followed the river Brenta from Padua, passing by the great country villas of the Venetian nobility. Along the river banks rejoicing crowds and music hailed him and noblemen saluted him from their prestigious palaces.

Today, just as in former times, on the second Sunday of September people enjoy the colourful passing of the historic procession of vessels carrying their distinguished guests beautifully attired in historic costumes.

The event is accompanied by a race between the different rowing clubs and the prize-giving for the best team takes place at Malcontenta, the point of arrival for the historic procession.

The Riviera Fiorita cruise starts with a bang on the very day of the regatta, with passengers arriving on the barge moored on the river Brenta. This privileged position allows splendid views of the whole procession from the barge sun deck. Sip a few glasses of Prosecco and enjoy canapés and comfortable seats as you absorb the atmosphere of carnival and festivity and enjoy the sight of the local people revelling in a part of the town's history.

The cruise continues next day with a calm and scenic sail along the river Brenta towards Venice, where you can enjoy another 5 days of great sights, great food and being well taken care of!

To book for the Regatta Fiorita cruise, please contact sales@gobarging.com   back to top



OUR MULTI-TALENTED BARGES MONARCH AND SAVOIR-FAIRE

MY Monarch In November's edition of Lock-keeper we were pleased to introduce our new motor yacht
Monarch which is just about to start her 2006 season, cruising in Holland and Belgium.

The introduction of Monarch to our repertoire follows long-standing demand for cruises in Holland. We can now offer five different cruises on Monarch, which will take you all over the country, at all times of the year and not limited to Tulip Time! How about that for service!

Monarch is slightly different from the rest of our barges, in that she is a modern motor yacht cruiser, without a haulage background. Her five itineraries combined cover around three quarters of the country, from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and from The Hague to Arnhem. Despite this being a modern vessel, Monarch follows the same philosophy as all our other vessels, taking it easy at a slow and elegant pace. The contrast between cruising in Holland and the rest of Europe is that you can experience life both at and below sea level! Monarch's itineraries cover canals, rivers and lakes, making visits to charming villages and hamlets, absorbing museums and exhibitions, food markets, fishing harbours, potteries, beaches, dunes, over dykes and through locks. Have a look at her itineraries.

There is a wealth culture and sights in this tiny country of which the inhabitants are justly proud. On two of her itineraries, Monarch also ventures into neighbouring Belgium, stopping in Antwerp, magnificent Flemish cultural centre and sea-port, and visiting Bruges, Belgium's mini-Venice and centre of lace, chocolate and beer!

If you are interested in travelling on Monarch, there is still space on her 16th April departure.

SAVOIR-FAIRE

Savoir FaireWe have certainly been busy this winter, looking for additional places to take you in 2006.

Savoir-Faire is the most recent addition to our fleet, a spacious and neat 12 passenger barge cruising in Holland and France. This charming barge has a colourful history, having at one time been used as a landing vessel for allied troops during the second world war. Savoir-Faire, like Monarch, is able to offer a multitude of itineraries - she offers 4 routes during the season, focusing on western Holland, Burgundy, Champagne and Paris.

Savoir-Faire's March and April cruises concentrate on the area between Haarlem and Delft in western Holland where the multicoloured striped tulip fields delight the eye. Visits to the world's biggest flower auction at Aalsmeer and the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens meld well with the interesting programme of excursions, aimed at showing you the best of these western provinces.

By May Savoir Faire has moved to France and from then until October she is able to offer our clients a programme of brand new cruises between Paris, Burgundy and Champagne. Highlights include visits to the world famous Champagne cellars of Moet et Chandon and the Chablis cellars of Domaine Laroche, Brie cheese tasting in Coulomniers, the chateaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau and chance to cruise through the heart of Paris, stopping of course to see the best sights.

During May and October, Savoir-Faire makes her transit between Holland and France. Passengers can join these cruises in their entirety as a 13 day holiday or else they can take the first or second half of the journey as a 6 day cruise: Amsterdam to Ghent or Ghent to Paris. This route takes Savoir-Faire through two vastly different cultures and some captivating scenery. It is also a great opportunity to become better acquainted with Belgium, a tri-lingual country of many facets and colourful traditions.

Visit Savoir-Faire's Dutch and Burgundy itineraries on our website. For her 13-day cruise programme between Amsterdam and Paris, or her itinerary in Champagne, please contact us at sales@gobarging.com. back to top



New Anjodi Itinerary
Carcassonne to Beziers

Sunday, Homps

Passengers are met by the Captain at 4.00 pm in Beziers. Transfer to Anjodi, moored in the port of Homps. Champagne welcome followed by time to relax or take a stroll along the footpath or into the village, before dinner on board.

Monday, Homps to Le Somail

Fascinating morning tour of Carcassonne. Dating back to the Gallo-Roman era, this is the most complete mediaeval fortified city in existence today. With its 52 watchtowers, portcullis and extraordinary repertoire of defenses, which resisted the many armies that tried to storm this glorious Camelot setting. Afternoon cruise along the 330 year old Midi canal to the delightful village of Le Somail through vineyards and pine trees. Dinner aboard.

Tuesday, Le Somail to Capestang

Enjoy a morning cruise along the historic Midi canal to Argeliers. This afternoon's excursion is to Minerve, the ancient capital of the Minervois, which bosts a 12th century Cathar fort surrounded by deep limestone gorges. Besieged by Simon de Montfort in 1215, its hilltop location affords spectacular views. A fascinating recreation in miniature of the bloodthirsty Cathar rebellion and small museum complete this intriguing picture. Lunch ashore in a local auberge. Twilight cruise along arguably the most picturesque stretch of canal scenery in France to Capestang, where we moor near the old stone bridge, a perfect setting for evening cocktails and dinner aboard.

Wednesday, Capestang to Beziers

Today's excursion is to Narbonne, a Roman Mediterranean capital where the Visigoth monarchs once lived. Enjoy a visit to the Archbishop's Palace and Horreum. Explore the indoor market at the hub of this bustling canal side town, where you will have time to shop or simply absorb the relaxed atmosphere. After an afternoon cruise to Beziers via the world's oldest cannel tunnel at Malpas, walk ashore to Domaine de Guery for a pre-dinner wine tasting of the full-bodied Corbieres at this 500 year old vineyard . Dinner aboard.

Thursday, Beziers to Agde

A morning visit to Beziers' 13th century fortified cathedral of Saint Nazaire, with a commanding view across to the Pyrenees Mountains. Explore l'Oppidum D'Enserune, a pre-Roman hilltop settlement with Greek and Iberian excavations dating from 600 BC. Descend the 7 lock flight of Fonserannes and cross the aqueduct over the River Orb before cruising down to the Mediterranean town of Agde in the afternoon. Dinner aboard.

Friday, Agde to Marseillan

After a chance to explore the winding mediaeval streets of the old Greco/Phoenician fishing port of Agde, Anjodi sets off through the famous round lock, before heading out onto the inland saltwater lake of Thau, past the Oyster beds. After mooring in the fishing village of Marseillan, we stroll around the port and tour the unique 'Vermoutherie' of Noilly Prat, with a tasting. Optional pre-dinner dip in the Mediterranean! Captain's Farewell Dinner aboard.

Saturday, Marseillan to Beziers by road

After breakfast, return to Beziers. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.

Visit
Anjodi, or contact us for more information.   back to top



SCOTTISH HIGHLANDER AND HARRY POTTER

The Hogwarts Express on the Glenfinnan ViaductThe latest Harry Potter film has recently been launched in the UK and has great fans amongst the ladies in the office here at Go Barging!

Readers with an interest in Harry Potter might be interested to learn that at certain times of the season our barge
Scottish Highlander will be offering excursions on the Hogwarts Express in the coming season!

Film directors couldn't have made a better choice when deciding upon the Jacobite Steam Train to represent the magic train in the second Harry Potter film.

Glenfinnan Station


One of the most spectacular moments of the train journey in the film was the sight of the Hogwarts Express crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the famous West Highland Railway Line on its way to the school of witchcraft and wizardry!



click on the map to go to our Google map page and 360 virtual tour

See the "Hogwarts Viaduct", visit our Google map and take the Glenfinnan 360 virtual tour

Our excursion takes us out to the pretty harbour town of Mallaig, gateway to the western isles, where we join the train for the scenic 42 mile journey down to Fort William.

Morar Sands


The journey is one of many superlatives - not only is the scenery spectacular, but we pass the deepest freshwater loch in Britain (Loch Morar), the shortest river in Britain (river Morar) and the deepest seawater loch in Europe (Loch Nevis)!

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January competition
Scottish Highlander cruise for two

Win a Cruise for two on Scottish Highlander

To celebrate the New Year, we have a great new competition to win a cruise for two on Scottish Highlander. Visit our
January competition page, answer some fun questions, and you could be the lucky winner..

December competition

Burgundy Wine winner

Burgundy wine winnerIn December's competition, we offered you the chance to win six bottles of fine Burgundy wine.

See who's won our
Burgundy Wine here.



News

Barge Refurbishment update

L'Impressionniste is in the Namur Shipyard in Belgium, having her 2 yearly hull inspection for safety certification.

La Belle Epoque is in the Zelzate Shipyard having some electrical work done to the 220V system.

L'Art de Vivre is now out of her Paris shipyard, having had a completely new propellor shaft and housing and refaired propellor.

Scottish Highlander is having her trusty Gardener Deisel over hauled and fuel tanks cleaned out. Cabins are being refurbished with new wallpaper and pint.

Anjodi has beautiful new cabin portholes being made by Hetanker company in Holland. They will be delivered later this week and fitted during February.

Rick Stein's French Odyssey

Watch out for our online book offer of British celebrity Chef Rick Stein's French Odyssey regional cook book, priced at £20 for UK orders, and $35 for rest of world, incl post and packaging.

2007 earlybird offer

All bookings by the end of March 2006 for the 2007 season are offered at 2006 prices. Contact us by email at
sales@gobarging.com or use our online Availability form to book your cruise.


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.

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..!

Thats about it for this 31st edition of the Lockkeeper, 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 February 2006, so we'll see you then.

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