France 2011: Day Seven

Carcassonne Tryptic

Tuesday      4 October 2011

Carcassonne to Trèbes

If only grocery shopping were always this much fun. We start the day with a number of chores to be done, namely laundry and reprovisioning. Jenny, Anne, and Rick head out in search of the laundromat, Karen and I go grocery shopping, and Mary remains on the boat to meet a Le Boat technician–another electrical glitch requires service.

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In order to get everything on our shopping list, Karen and I make multiple stops: the open air market for fruit, vegetables, cured meat, and tapenade; the meat market for pate, cheese, and steak for tomorrow’s dinner; and the bakery for bread. We find everything we need within a five block radius, including a very friendly butcher who throws in a few extras, continuing our trend of encountering friendly and helpful people everywhere we go.

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We take a quick cafe break and then hit the grocery store for milk, eggs, water, and beer. By the time we’ve finished, our fold-up luggage cart is loaded down and we carefully wheel our haul back to the boat, quickly ducking into an ancient church set in the midst of a row of fashionable clothing shops.

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Following the mail. Back on board, we stow all our provisions and pull out, following a postal boat through a twisting, turning section of the canal. Locking down with this large boat makes for some tricky maneuvering.

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It’s another warm and sunny day on the canal. The terrain changes noticeably south of Carcassonne. There are fewer plane trees and more open areas, giant pine trees, palm trees, and a more Mediterranean feel overall.

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Further south. We arrive in Trèbes around five o’clock and stop at the Le Boat mooring to get water and switch out three of the bikes we’ve rented, all with flat tires. We decide this is as pleasant a place as any to overnight, with a lovely view of a bend in the canal, close to restaurants and the all-important boulangerie.

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Karen, Mary, and I head into town to scope out dinner options and take some photos in the late afternoon light. It’s a pleasant walk through town and we make it to the 13th-century church located, of course, in the center of town.

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Back at the boat, after a cocktail on deck, we head over the bridge to have dinner at a seafood restaurant directly across from our boat, dining al fresco right on the edge of the canal. Scallops, and mussels, and prawns, oh my! Everything fresh from the nearby Mediterranean. Our entertainment is a gaggle of quacking ducks and a swan hoping for hand outs.

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Observations:

  • No matter how sleepy the town, the boulangerie is always bustling in the morning.
  • Shopping for cheese and dried meats always involves plenty of tasty sampling.
  • To find the center of town, just look for the ancient church.
  • Our typical on-board lunch is fresh bread, cheeses, apples, pears, pate, and a glass of wine.
  • The sun has been bright, with a wonderful southern light and cloudless skies all along. Temperatures are cool until the sun comes up and then it quickly heats up into the 80s.

Boat Issues:

  • Trouble with the hose connection. We learn halfway through the trip that you need to get a connector/adaptor from the Capitanaire at each port, in order to get water from the “private” spigots along the way.
  • A couple of times, we completely lost water pressure; both times it happened when someone was in the shower. :-/
  • Bow thrusters–a blessing and a curse. They help when maneuvering up to the shore (by pushing the boat sideways) but they require a lot of power and make a horrendous grating sound that’s very in congruous with the tranquility of the canal. And be sure you’re holding on to something when they’re engaged as the boat will suddenly jerk to one side, as if the rug has just been pulled out from under you.

Clicking on any of the photos above will take you to my Flickr site where you can see more photos from the trip.

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