I had intended this post to tell you how much we have enjoyed our stay in Dijon with its quaint medieval streets, handsome Place de la Liberation, imposing Palais des Ducs, cathedrals, restaurants, mustard, pain d’epice (gingerbread) and more. Sadly, all that has been overshadowed by a couple of incidents. For the first time in our 6 years of cruising we have been bothered by thieves – twice in one week.
Perhaps we have just been lucky up until now.
The port at Dijon is a short tram ride to the city (and, for those Melbournites amongst you, the trams are great. You can easily buy a rechargeable cardboard ticket at any stop and you touch on by waving your ticket in front of the machine as you board – works even if it’s in your wallet or bag. No touching off. Simple, efficient, cheap.) The port has water and electricity but no captain to collect mooring fees and so, at the moment, it is entirely free. Thank you city of Dijon. Perhaps that’s the reason that one or two of the inhabitants think it is okay to walk off with anything that’s not tied down and even some stuff that is.
We share the port with not only with cruisers, yachts and hotel boats but also an old peniche (commercial barge) called Cancale which has been converted into a bar/night club. As I type this there is loud electronic music with an even louder beat thudding out through the air and the water. We are all of 2 boats away and I have a clear view of the DJ on deck. Cancale operates on Fridays and Saturdays. Last night we had hip hop (not a favourite) and last weekend it was African. Bongo drums I didn’t mind but believe me they become somewhat wearing after10 hours.
The patrons of Cancale move from the deck to the inside at about 10pm but the music continues, albeit slightly muffled, until around 2am at which point the clubbers finish their drinks and continue their arguments on the quayside before staggering off into what’s left of the night. Last night was midsummer, the shortest night of the year, so there wasn’t much darkeness left. Enough though for one of Dijon’s lowlifes (who had nothing to do with Cancale, I am sure) to sneak along the pontoon beside our boat, snip through the lock attaching my bike to the boat railings right outside the window of the cabin where we had not long dropped off to sleep. Silent though he was he wasn’t quite quiet enough. I sat up and wrenched open the curtain. No view through wheel spokes. The braver of the two of us shot out of bed, up the stairs and onto the deck without pausing for clothes. The sight and sound of a naked, blaspheming Scotsman was evidently too much for our thief, for he dropped the bike and made off at high speed along the quay. You are perhaps thinking no wonder. I am happy to report that said Scot made himself relatively decent before going ashore to retrieve the bike.
As I mentioned previously this was the second incident. The previous week we were relieved of our bucket and a brush. I did say they’d steal anything. Whilst the bucket seems a minor loss it is annoying as it was a heavy duty rubber one which can only be bought in a boat chandlers and we won’t be seeing one of those again for a long time.
We aren’t the only victims. Other boats have lost life belts, bikes, flags etc. So where does it all go? Perhaps there’s a boating themed stall hidden amongst the general rubbish and tat of the weekly ‘Vide Grenier’ – the second hand market in the streets of old Dijon. I didn’t see it but who knows?
|Shopping at the Vide Grenier, Dijon|