Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 11-21

We are off for our Fall Adventures! In summary: We will spend 10 days with friends (Nancy & Hiko Tokita from Tokyo and Nick and Rumi Ringshall from London) in France boating along the Canal du Midi and then Cindy and I will begin walking from Oloron Ste Marie, France along a variant of the pilgrimage route (Camino de Santiago), hopefully reaching our destination in early November.

We flew into Toulouse and then took the train to Carcasssone where we met our friends. The next morning we travelled 33km to Homps where we picked up the boat. The boat is 11m long with 3 bedrooms, 3 very small marine toilets with shower. It should be interesting.

Headed off after breakfast on the boat. Working our way through the numerous canal locks was more difficult and intimidating than we had expected. On our first day, we covered 29km and went through 14 locks and we were on the canal from 9pm until 6pm. Dinner was on a canal-side restaurant, La Poissonerie Moderne, family run and with excellent fish.

A typical day included breakfast (fresh pastries) on the boat and then leaving around 9am (that's when the locks open). We tied up along shore for lunch (locks close for lunch hour) and then more boating. We ate all of our dinners at nice canal-side restaurants, Pretty tough! We boated 3 days upstream and then turned around to return the boat at Homps. The total was 60 km and 58 locks!

Boating on Canal du Midi in southern France.

Heading "upstream" - first you enter the lock, throw lines ashore, the gates close behind and the water RUSHES in. The two people ashore hang on to prevent the boat from moving.

When the water level matches the upstream side the lock gate will open.

We passed through nearly 60 locks on our 6 day trip so not too much time for sitting around.

Grilled tuna steak - simply prepared and wonderful!

Our last dinner while on the canal du midi.

Carcassonne's historic walled city.

Location:Canal du Midi and Carcassonne, France

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