A Travellerspoint blog

The Canal

It's our fourth day on the Canal du Midi and so far it's been fun and interesting. 
The first day was all about learning the boat and learning the lock system. Because of the direction we've chosen, The first dozen locks were up stream, which means you enter an empty lock and are raised to the next level. This means a bit more turbulence and rope work. 
From then on it's all downhill locks - 80 all up. We have our systems all sorted and I think I'm finally getting better at throwing ropes.  Often we share a lock with one or two other boats. Jim spends half the time in the locks helping novice drivers tie up and let go. For many it's the first time they've handled a boat, so we see a lot of interesting maneuvers. All boats have fenders permanently out, and rubber bumpers all round, which is a very good thing.
The actual sailing up the canal is just beautiful, under the famous plane trees. It's still quite hot - 30 degrees today, and no swimming in the canal, unless you feel like taking a dip in the toilets contents of all the boats. This has been a surprising thing - we thought they'd have closed systems.
Today we've pulled up at the first big city stop, Carcassonne, and berthed the boat Mediterranean style.
One thing I have learned is that I'm a better sailor than I've given myself credit for. After 7 years with Jim, something must have rubbed off.
As we go along we keep meeting up with different groups, and Jim is becoming everyone's best friend because of all the assistance he gives.
Jim is off up town, while I have a laze under the umbrella and write notes.

Posted by kazandjim 10:27 Comments (0)

Ready for the Canal

Today we pick up our boat for 2 weeks on the Canal du Midi. We called in at the base at Negra yesterday to drop off some supplies before spending the night in Toulouse. The boats and the canal look great. We are looking forward to a relaxing time, although with 60 locks on the route, we will be kept fairly busy. No wifi, only one PowerPoint, which can only be used when on shore power, will limit communications from now on.

Posted by kazandjim 23:22 Comments (0)

More abandoned than parked

The streets are so narrow and parking is so impossible that people just pull over any where, put on their hazard lights and leave the car. We've seen it in many cities, but mostly in Aix, where they leave cars double parked, on pedestrian crossings and on round-abouts. We've done it a few times too now, but only to dash into a shop, not leave the car. It feels very wrong but very handy.

Posted by kazandjim 23:49 Comments (0)

A new purchase

And about time too

Today is a big day. Jim has purchased a new watch. He has been wearing his old one for 34 years and it had been gaining time for some years now. All the time we've been together he had been half looking at watches. It had to be kinetic and dive proof like the old one. Andorra is an incredibly cheap place to shop, so that has finally pushed him over the line. He is a happy camper.
Also I have had my eye out for my favourite perfume Dior Addict, which is no longer made on the original scent. Jim found it today while I was in another shop and gave it to me later. Very happy.

Posted by kazandjim 09:46 Comments (0)

Andorra

The long and windy road that leads to Andorra is not one for the faint hearted. Which I am, so it's just as well Jim was the driver. Spectacular mountains and valleys. The Tour de France riders traversed many of these roads. I recorded the races, so I'll be re-watching when I get home. It's a long way to go for a cheap drink, but cheap it is. One litre spirit bottles for under 10 euro. Andorra la vela, which is where we are, the the highest city in Europe.

Posted by kazandjim 23:56 Comments (0)

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