Libourne

Our on-board wellness specialist, Deyan, offers “balance postures” before breakfast today. Most of our guests feel well-balanced already, but a faithful team turn up as usual. Deyan has also been offering massages and physiotherapy sessions during the week and he has been one of the busiest crew members on board. Some of our ladies are planning to take him home on Sunday.

This morning, we visit the Libourne village farmer’s market. It’s just a short walk from the quayside and we’re soon walking with the locals and exploring what’s on offer. Butter biscuits are a local favourite so we really ought to buy some! After our market experience we join our coach transport and head off for exclusive surprise visits. A few of us visit a cooperage where French oak barrels are made for wine makers all over the world. Others visit a small family owned chateau to meet the owners. There is also a “go active” bicycle ride option from Libourne, along the banks of the Dordogne River.

This afternoon, on-board activities include a cooking demonstration of Caneles de Bordeaux (small cakes typical of the area), and a wine and chocolate pairing presented by our sommelier, Stefania.

The normal sailing time from Libourne is around 3pn, but we’ve been invited to stay today to take part in the town’s Summer Festival and “new dock” inauguration. We can’t see much of a new dock but we accept the invitation anyway! On the quayside there are plenty of preparations, with two stages, al fresco dining, street lamps and more. The major excitement, however, is the preparations for a tight-rope walker to walk from OUR ship, across the Dordogne to a ship moored on the opposite bank. The “rope” is prepared (all 120 metres), and the world champion “slackline” walker, Theo Sanson, limbers up. The nearby bridge across the river is packed with locals coming to watch the activities. We have a prime viewing spot, on our Sun Deck! Theo starts his walk. It is obviously a theatrical event. Some commentary and dramatic music blasts out from nearby speakers! A boat in the middle of the river starts up a firework display. It is not yet dark so the fireworks are barely visible, but they are certainly noisy! Coloured smoke appears. Theo acts as though he is being attacked! A small boat races out to send fireworks over his head. Theo barely hangs on. The music gets even more dramatique! Of course Theo makes it to the other side and the town erupts in applause. Surely, after this, anything will be an anti-climax. Most of the Furlongs Travel guests expect Richard or Dawn to try their luck across the rope but fortunately they’ve enjoyed a couple of glasses of bubbly on the Sun Deck and it proves impossible to stay upright.