Francis and Françoise Richard, a 70-something-years-young Greek couple, have been regular Locaboat customers since 1991. They go cruising in a Pénichette® twice a year.
When we started taking holidays with Locaboat, over 20 years ago, we already had a good deal of boating experience. We used to do a lot of sailing on the lakes in Switzerland, and what we really liked about the Locaboat Pénichettes® was how “open on the outside” they are. You can get all the way round the boat, which makes docking and manoeuvring a lot easier. It's worth knowing that most inland waterway vessels are designed in the Northern hemisphere where people like to stay inside and keep warm. Here, we’re not like that! We’re in and out of our boats all the time.
We’ve travelled all round France and still do, two or three times a year. But we do like going to other countries as well; we enjoy cruising in Ireland and Germany. What we really liked on our canal holiday to Mecklenburg, near Berlin, was the constant switching from canals to lakes and back to canals. This region has some very large expanses of water. It’s beautiful, and there are very few tourists around. In France, it’s the changing scenery and the picturesque villages that make it so delightful, whereas over there it’s the vast expanses of water. You can moor up on the lakes, spend the night at anchor and swim in the very clear and clean water. It’s a little piece of paradise for fishing enthusiasts and bird lovers too, with some remarkable flora and fauna. But you need to have fairly good sea legs, because the waters aren’t as smooth as on the canals.
Germany has another little bonus in that its self-drive boats are exceptionally neat, and the bedding is even better than in France, with super soft duvets… Really luxurious!