After a few gloomy rainy days, we finally saw the sun again on Thursday. Being on the water is so much better with the warmth of the sun!
Sunny canal day
We had a few adventures on Wednesday. After stopping at a vineyard for tasting and purchasing, we stopped for lunch in Argeliers. As we wandered the streets it seemed like the town was deserted. The first place we tried for lunch was closed.
I stopped to take a picture of flowers growing in front of a house. As I was walking away a man came out shouting and waving his arms. Of course I didn’t understand what he wanted. He came up to me and tried to grab my camera. That’s when I realized he was mad because I took a picture of his house. Guess I discovered the ubiquitous French troll!
We finally found a restaurant that was open and enjoyed a delicious lunch. The proprietor only spoke French and was very expressive and pleasant. The filet with mushrooms was superb topped off with tart tatin (apple tart) for dessert.
We moved on to Capestang for the night. It was our only stay in a marina. We stopped there mainly to refill the water tanks. I was happy to find a laundry. It rivaled Bahamas prices and the dryer was useless but at least we had clean clothes.
Medieval church looms over Capestang
The next day we stopped in Poihes for lunch at a wonderful gourmet restaurant. Just as we left the sun appeared!
Another low bridge
We tied up just after the Malpas tunnel for the evening. The tunnel is quite an engineering feat for its day. Trains also run through underneath the waterway. We could hear them coming.
Malpas tunnel – one way only
After resting a bit and relishing the sunshine we hiked up the nearby hill to visit Oppidum D’Enserune, an archeological site dating from 800BC.
The Gauls lived here amongst many other inhabitants
Fantastic view of the Montady riverbed that was drained in the 13th century
We had happy hour on deck for the first time this week.
The sun returned on Friday. Yay! We continued on to Colombier and scouted around for a winery and/or market. No luck on finding a winery open but we did score some at the market.
The cruising guide is lacking a lot of useful information like what’s in each town and hours of operation. We’re spoiled by having such great cruising guides for the east coast and Bahamas.
The bridge routine
The canal is very peaceful. It’s not busy season yet. We only shared locks with other boats on the first day.
Before reaching our evening destination in Beziers we had to go through the Fonserannes staircase. It’s a series of 8 locks that work like a staircase bringing the boat down 45 feet in total.
View from the top of the Fonserannes locks
If you look up Beziers in Trip Advisor the #1 attraction is the Foserannes locks. Since we were the only boat traversing the locks, we were the main attraction. People were all around watching, photographing and filming. I handled the lines ashore and had to yell at people a few times it get out of the way. One guy with a video camera wouldn’t move until I practically looped a line over his head.
Our boat in the lock
Water rushing in. We went through all 8 locks in 1/2 hour – very efficient!
Everything went smoothly – you won’t see any embarrassing videos of us on U Tube!
Ominous clouds as we leave the locks
View from the aqueduct. Yes, we’re in a boat on a bridge crossing a river!
After the locks we traversed an aqueduct and a really deep lock. We tied up at the municipal dock. It was not very impressive and looked rather seedy.
Settling in for happy hour – Serrano ham and melon
I heard some noise in the middle of the night which turned out to be some hoodlums trying to steal our bikes. Rick and Eva heard them and by the time he turned on a light and hollered at them they got away with one bike.
Our first stop in the morning was to the police station to file a report. The charter company required it and thankfully, they didn’t charge us for the stolen bike.
After lunch we made it through 4 more locks and stopped one last time for wine before turning into the LeBoat base in Port Cassafieres. We had plenty of time to clean up and pack before pouring the wine. There’s no telling how many bottles we drank and we certainly didn’t keep count!
Today (Sunday) was a travel day. We took a taxi back to Beziers train station where we parted with Rick and Eva. Our train took us to Aix-en-Provence while they went to Paris.
The Hotel Cezanne in Aix is lovely. It’s one block from the train station and only a few blocks from the central boulevard. We’re taking a 3 day tour of Provence. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s going to be very nice.
Sorry I couldn’t face loading any more pictures. Apparently Flickr believes that everyone has a high speed connection and doesn’t see the need to let you upload smaller sized photos. Grrrrr…