Canal du Midi day four

What's this doing hereSunrise in the Carcassone harborBig barges on the Canal Di MidiTrebesNice restaurant on the Canal di Midi
It's alright for someParked up for the last nightYum Yum

Canal di Midi day four, a set on Flickr.


We were up early today as we thought it was 7:30am when in actual fact it was 6:30am. The clouds had gone and it was another stunning day. This now meant we had and extra hour to go and have a look at some of the shops in the main street of Carcassonne before heading away. By 8:30am we where on the streets window shopping but most of the shops did not open until 9:30am. We spotted lots of shoe shops that had sales on of up to 70% off so decided to wait until they opened.
By 10:45am we had bought two pair each and now needed to get to the boat as we had one and a half days sailing to do or we would not have the boat back in time for the next day (Friday) at 2pm.
The first lock was at the harbor of Carcassonne so this would be our first attempt at managing a lock going down rather than up (it’s called locking down). This did not go quite as smoothly as we had hoped as you have a down current and this morning there was a bit of a breeze to contend with. Sheree had to work the back of the boat and as the water goes down you just feed the ropes out.
By the next lock we where looking much better and from then on we looked pretty professional. Later we helped another boat of older people who were having major troubles with the ropes as none of them could jump off the boat.
It was a fantastic trip down the canal for the rest of the day and really hot again.
When we reached the town of Trebes about 1pm we decided to stop off and by some groceries for tea rather than stopping over night and buying tea at a restaurant. This would mean we would get further down the canal by the end of the day. The lock keepers stop work at 7pm.
First we went to the tourist information centre were they had local produce. We bough a bottle of wine and beer and some olive paste. They showed us were the supermarket was about 15 min walk away. Here we bought local kababs, rice salad and tubole. On the way back we stopped at the local bakery and got some really nice looking sweet treats for desert. Then we were back in the boat and on our way down the canal.
By about 7pm we had found a nice spot to moor at, and it is here that we will have a few wines in the late afternoon sun and cook our tea before bed.

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Canal du Midi day three

Lots of cookies all out in the open for everyone to touchCarcassonneCarcassonne ChurchMy mate at Carcassonne CastleCarcassonne ChurchEntrance to Carcassonne Castle
Carcassonne.Arriving at Carcassonne CastleA view from Carcassonne CastleCarcassonne ChurchCarcassonne Castle
We had this for lunch at Carcassonne CastleCarcassonne ChurchCarcassonne CastleCarcassonne Castle
Arriving into CarcassonneWho got lost in the chocolate shop?

Canal di Midi day three, a set on Flickr.

Today we were up at 7am had breakfast and were heading for Carcassonne by 8am. Being so early we got thru the remaining 5 locks (3 boats at a time) really quickly and by 11.30 we had arrived. We were very disappointed to see floating in the canal plastic bottles and other rubbish & thought this spoiled very much what we had seen up till now.
After debating where we should stop, we pulled into a mooring that was near what looked like a main road. An elderly man grabbed our rope so we asked him if we could moor here. The next minute a lady comes up & asked us if we want to moor in the boat harbour ( which is thru another lock). The cost for us 2, no power or water but use of the showers and washing machines etc for the boaties was 12 Euro for the night. Plus it is only 2mins to the town. Steven had a lot of fun backing our boat into the mooring as it has no steering in reverse. With the current and the wind it was not easy at all and everyone watching didn’t help.
Once we were all moored we headed to the Carcassone Castle on the hill which is surrounded by a old walled town. We took the novelty train that tows several carriages of passengers up to it. It’s is like an old Medieval town inside the walls and several people had period costumes on including a guy with a sample of the food served in his restaurant. Yes we got talked into having a genuine medieval meal of the time and local speciality called Casteline which consisting of haricot beans, roast duck and a sausage. (see pic) This proved really filling and we will not require much tea at all tonight.
The weather was overcast & windy today and although it was still in the 20s we really felt cold after the wonderful sunny 30 degree days we have become used to.
Tomorrow we head back toward the base at Homps which will take us back the way we have come but should prove easier at the locks as you just hook the rope around the bollard & let it loosen as the boat is lowered. Looks easier anyway, time will tell.

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Canal du Midi day two

It can get busy in the locksIt's hot work being a rope girlA good rope girlA sexy French maidenIts a long way upThe Canal Di Midi Locks
The Canal Di MidiThe Canal Di Midi LocksThe Canal Di MidiAye Aye Captain
The Canal Di MidiLook where the gate keeper sits all day

Canal Di Midi day two, a set on Flickr.

We woke up early after a pretty average sleep as it was so hot during the night. After breakfast we set sail, saying good bye to our new boating friends. Mooring up along the edge is a bit like camping were you get to know the people next to you.
Our first stop was a little town called Puicheric. It was supposed to have a market on today, so we off loaded our push bikes and biked into the town. There was no market on, so we bought another buegette for lunch, loaded the bikes back on the boat and carried on. The first lock was a double one which kept us on our toes and the next was the same but this time we watched as they placed 3 boats in the lock at once. Thankfully we were not one of them. However by the time we reached the next one we had to bunch in with a few others who were from Austarlia and Tasmania. When several boats are in the lock at once it’s a bit like dodgem cars but with boats.
It is really hard work getting the boat through these locks and little Sheree was doing an amazing job catching ropes, tying up and passing the stern ropes back to me and holding the boat with the bow rope as the water rushed in and raised the boat. She had to soak her feet in a bucket of cold water at one stage (see pic). Some of the triple locks lifted us nearly 20meters
As the day went on it got hotter and hotter and soon we were both covered in sweat working these locks. They expected it to be 35deg today and we think it was all of that.
We finally arrived at Trebes around 7pm. This will be our stop for the night so we tied up again along the canal edge. We had a quick wash and headed into the town for tea which is only 2 mins from the boat.
It has been a very busy and tiring day but OMG what a lot of fun and it is so lovely cruising along the Canal De Midi. We have seen and experienced something that is so unique and loved every minute of it.
Tomorrow we will be up early and heading for Carcassonne.

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Canal du Midi day one

La RedortA bridge at Sunset in La RedortIf we look happy it's because we areCaptain StevenInside our boat
The Canal Di MidiIf we look happy it's because we areOur boat on the Canal Di Midi

Canal Di Midi day one, a set on Flickr.

Today we left the Isle de Sorgue. We bought some groceries at the local super market before leaving and headed off for Homps and our canal boat trip.
The trip was again a reasonable one of just under 3 hrs and that included taking the toll roads. It’s always great when you get on these three lane highways and although they are expensive you can zoom along at 130km/hr and cover quite a few kilometers very quickly. In our case it cost about €12 for the whole trip.
We arrived into Homps after missing the first turn off that cost us another 24km but got there pretty much on time.
They were quite busy at the main office for the canal boat trip and we had to wait nearly 2hrs before we finally slipped our moorings and were under way.
It was such a thrill to be on the canal de Midi and motoring up under our own steam. Iris as lovely here as all the photos portray with grape vines in the fields and wild life every were along the tree lined banks of this amazing water way.
Our first lock loomed up very quickly so it was all hands on deck as we approached. Sheree jumped off the boat just at the beginning of the lock so she could grab the ropes tossed to her once the boat was inside the lock. This we pulled of without a hitch and felt quite proud of ourselves. Even the lock keeper commented on how well we had done. It was so cool being in the boat as all the water rushed in and quickly raised the boat up about 3 meters. We bough a nice bottle of Rose wine at the lock keepers stall for €4 before proudly carrying on. A few narrow and not very high bridges later we arrived at the little canal side town of La Redort . We parked up the boat on the side of the bank with a little help from another experienced Dutch boatie who spends half his year in Spain and the other half in his boat on the canal, he has done this for 11 years.
Once we where all secured for the night we walked along the edge to a little restaurant on the canals edge. Our tea was delightful and we wondered back to the boat and set up the bed for the night. As you read this I am sitting up in bed writing this story of a wonderful day and will close of now, enjoying the absolute peace and quite of this place.

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