Been a while since I celebrated summer and posted. I've enjoyed my fair share summer days drifting along the Canal du Midi, cycling and taking the annual Pirate pilgrimage to Outlaw long distance triathlon.
The last few weeks have been filled with holiday, job hunting and training for Hamburg.
First five friends went on LeBoat along the Canal du Midi. This was booked last year and was a long overdue holiday for a couple of our friends. The holiday started in the lounge at Bristol where we had a little more drinking time before flying to France due to a delay. We then had Alain Prost long long lost cousin transfer us to Castlenaudry where we spent the night in a lovely boutique hotel and sampled the local Cassole dish – this bunged me up for a few days due to the huge amount of beans with the duck & pork, but it was delicious.
We boarded our boat, I was appointed Madame Captaine so had a brief test drive and run through of controls etc, then we were off straight into a few locks. Whist Mike & I have traveled through hundreds of UK the locks in France they have lock keepers attending each one. Lock keepers close at lunch, will pack upto three boats into a lock, some live in the Canal side houses and an even mix of male & female lock keepers, the sluices & gates are motorised, the canals are oval shaped and often in groups of two or three together as a flight.
The scenery changed during the week as we headed down stream to Homps. We passed vineyards, sunflower fields, rice paddy fields, abundance of vegetables growing against a backdrop of mountains.
A couple of highlights off the boat were wandering around the medieval maze town of Bram and the walls medieval city of Carrcassone which was a real surprise as still a living community there from shops, hotel, schools, church, market & restaurants & bars.
Morning cycle rides from the boat to the local towns allowed us to collect fresh croissants for breakfast and top up with fresh provisions & local wine. One mini store even delivered back to the boat for us.
Celebrating Nicks birthday in a Chateau with bubbles and done dinning. The Canal du Midi didn't disappoint. It's wide, deep, changing scenery and easily navigated. No grounding, struggling with locks, getting lost and the weather was pretty good.
One brief moment of unexpected excitement as we had moored up in a storm. Whilst visually spectacular the wind and driving rain tore us from our mooring pins and we drifted into the canal. Luckily no other boats moving so we cruised along to find some mooring poles for a more secure night.
This was a lazy, relaxing holiday enjoying time with friends and some great food, local drink & plenty of laughs. Then upon return it was time to get back to training for Hamburg ironman and job hunting as my long term contract has come to an end.