Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018 Canal du Midi - Agde to Carcassonne (updated May 2018)

Bonjour et Bon Voyage!
The 9-month sabbatical/sojourn/getaway begins...

14 Fevrier, 2018, La Re'cre'ation returns to the water.  
The Chantier Allemonde in Grau d' Agde took good care of her for 8 months.

The Mediterranean Sea in winter.

 View of the canal into The Med from our Hotel L'Ephebe

First stop, Villeneuve les Beziers. 
Charming village, with excellent restaurant serving the best moules marinieres, so far...

All fun and games, until it's not...
Problem with pump and starting battery. Stranded here for 4 additional days. Luckily, Karin at the Tourist Office called around and found us a super efficient mechanic. Sylvain came on Friday, installed temporary pump, back on Monday to install repaired pump and new battery, all for less than €500.

Back on track, on the way to Capestrang.

It's winter, grey and mostly cloudy days.

Back up a bit...
Feb 8th, gotta love a Dutch welcome:

Welcome to Agde France.
Arrived past 9pm, after rare train delay in Paris, no taxi at deserted station, luckily local hustler was around to drive his small sardine-can car stuffed with 5 adults and 6 bags to our hotel, L'Efebe, for a price and repeated reminders that no no, he is not a taxi and not a uber, if we happen to be stopped by the police. 

Luckily the only game in town for dinner at that late hour was actually a pretty good restaurant. Delicious seafood bisque and canard entre. 

Excellent charming little family run hotel in Agde. Jonathan went above and beyond, driving us up and down to get diesel, gas and supplies for the boat. Twice.

I had forgotten about the 35 hour work week in France. Need to get adjusted to 2 hour lunch closures, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday closures, and small sparsely stocked grocery stores. 
Luckily most boulangeries open at 6:30am. Most also close between 12 to 2 or 4, open again perhaps from 4 to 7; and take the day off on Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. 
So, deserted sidewalks may not be as they seem, come back in a few hours...

Back on track. 
Journey continues from Villenieve les Breziers.

Unexpected flood under floor boards. We check this compartment weekly now.

First stop, Capestang
Church of Saint Etienne can be seen for miles.

Overnight in Roubia

Lunch time at Puicheric. 
Happy surprise to find working water tap.

Jake, the happiest friskiest cutest doggy!
and the best most helpful lockeeper, Ms. Laurance. Merci!

Marseillette mooring

We arrive in Carcassonne on Feb 23.
Famous for Le Cite - Europe's largest medieval walled city (and inspiration for Disneyland's castle)

Inside the Old City

St. Nazaire

Note the 'cult'

Along the Canal du Midi in Carcassonne.
Tied our boat along canal next to the train station. The marina just past the lock had no decent space, this was next best. It was still winter season when we arrived, they had to specially turn on the water tap for us to fill up the boat. 

So, the loud 'bang' was a blown-up fender.
BTW, Le Pigeon rescue was along the banks just on the other side of this photo.

Market day at the town square in Carcassonne.

A traditional cassoulet - filled with duck, sausage, pork, beans, heavy and rich, and heartily delicious!

Gotta love the french crepe.

Best Gran Marnier crepe from hole-in-the-wall take-away place.

View from La Cite ramparts towards Bastide Saint Louis towncenter.