Reutlingen to Zurich and home to Cape Town: Monday 2nd May – Tuesday 3rd May

We woke up early to say goodbye to Mathias.

"waterfall in the black forest"
waterfall in the black forest

We took a lovely drive through the Black Forest and we had lunch along the Rhine in a small village.

"looking into France"
looking into France

After Hockenheim we had a 50km ‘detour’ to the airport. Flew overnight to Johannesburg. Flew back to Cape Town and came home – what a lovely holiday! By far one of the most relaxing ones we have had.

Reutlingen: Sunday 1st May

We had a huge breakfast and then went to Schloss Lichtenstein.

"Schloss Lichtenstein"
Schloss Lichtenstein

We walked a massively steep hill to Ruine Hohenurach.

"view from Ruine Hohenurach"
view from Ruine Hohenurach

We had lunch at the bottom of the hill and then went to Teubingen. We walked through the old city and had a beer on the River Neckar before heading back to Reutlingen.

"Teubingen"
Teubingen

We walked 7kms today. We had racelette for supper and it was an awesome evening of chatting.

"raclette"
raclette

Toulouse to Reutlingen: Saturday 20th April

We woke up early for breakfast and to get to the airport for our flight. The flight to Frankfurt was delayed. We arrived in Frankfurt and drove on the autobahn to Michelle and Mathias. We stopped at a truck stop for lunch. We got up to 200km/h on the autobahn!

"huge white asparagus"
huge white asparagus

 

We arrived at M&M late afternoon and they have a beautiful home. I went shopping with Michelle. We had soup with flaedle to start and white asparagus with hollandaise sauce and potatoes for supper. Dessert was a chocolate and chilli ice cream with strawberries.

"Michelle's beautiful orchids"
Michelle’s beautiful orchids

Negra to Toulouse: Friday 29th April 2011

We were up bright and early to clean up and pack. Caught a taxi to the station in Villefranche-de-Lauragaus. Good thing we know how to use the ticket machine as the station office is closed until 10h25. We are taking the 09h48 train back to Toulouse.

"the river Garonne"
the river Garonne

We checked back into the hotel and then went shopping for things to bring home. We caught the metro to the other side of the Garonne. We had lunch on the river bank. We had a very long walk and got ice creams for tea. We went for a beer before heading back to the hotel to relax before supper.

"Toulouse"
Toulouse

 

We had a fantastic meal at Le Colombier. We walked nearly 10kms today.

Gardouch to Negra: Thursday 28th April

Dave cycled into Gardouch so we could have fresh croissants for breakfast. Had a relaxed morning. Out last lock was a double lock. We are all done going down.

"the last of the locks"
the last of the locks

We tied up at Negra just after 12h00.  Went for a short walk and then had lunch. We took a walk into the closest village. Had beef ravioli with a tomato and cream sauce for supper.

"the end of an amazing journey"
the end of an amazing journey

Renneville to Gardouch and Villefranche: Wednesday 27th April

We had a relaxing morning. The lock gates at Renneville were mechanical.

"relaxing on the Midi Canal"
relaxing on the Midi Canal

We moored at Gardouch and walked into the village to buy a baguette. We then walked into Villefranche-de-Lauragaus. It is a lovely village with a huge supermarket 1km from the lock.

"lock markers"
lock markers

We had crushed potato, tomato and shallots with duck sausage for supper.

"our barge safely moored"
our barge safely moored

Castlenaudary to Renneville: Tuesday 26th April

We woke up at 08h30 and loafed a bit. We did not unplug the electricity before going for breakfast and shopping and the cost for the mooring and the electricity was €8.00. The Spar in France is just as expensive as South Africa.

"breakfast and shopping in Castlenaudary"
breakfast and shopping in Castlenaudary

The lock keeper at the triple lock was very helpful and friendly. We stopped after that for lunch. Our plan of losing the barge in front of us did not work! We went to Mr Not the Potter which was a waste of time. We stopped at La Segala but there was no water and nothing to see.

"looking back from an up lock"
looking back from an up lock

We then went to our first down lock. They are much easier than going up. We moored up and took a walk to Narouze and the obelisk.

"obelisk at Narouze"
obelisk at Narouze

 

The one lock’s sluice gates had to be opened manually! We waited at the double lock for the barge that was one lock behind us. We walked up a seriously steep hill to Renneville. I did at least 8kms of walking today. We had pasta with shallot, garlic, lardons, tomatoes and marrow for supper.

"pasta with shallot, garlic, lardons, tomatoes and marrow"
pasta with shallot, garlic, lardons, tomatoes and marrow

Bram to Castlenaudary: Monday 25th April

Woke up at 08h30 and managed to shower and get through the 1st lock at 09h00. We slept at the lock mooring for 10 hours! Fresh air and exercise will do that! We were the only barge in the lock and we got through the 1st two locks in 30 minutes. We were complimented by a lock keeper for our tying up.

"entering a lock"
entering a lock

We stopped at Villepinte for breakfast. Dave cycled into the village but nothing was open. Our next stop will be Castelnaudary – 11kms and 15 locks. We stopped for lunch at the first triple lock – we have made good progress. The lock was like a staircase – the front and rear gates closed and the middle sets open. I got the rope caught on the mechanism while greeting the lock keeper. The ropes and I are full of grease. It took us 25 minutes to do the locks into Castelnaudary. There is a huge open water section between the locks and the port.

"open expanse everywhere"
open expanse everywhere

We moored at 15h00 for the night and we are still a night ahead of schedule which means we can sleep in tomorrow if we want to. We walked around Castelnaudary and had a lazy afternoon reading and relaxing. It would be a good idea to invest in a 12v – 24v inverter for charging cell phones etc. Easter Monday was a public holiday in France. We had a really nice dinner – the cassoulet was much better here than in Toulouse. We thought we were lucky and that we had scored free electricity and water left over from the previously moored barge. It was a good thing the electricity was on as the port office was closed.

"Church in Castlenaudary"
Church in Castlenaudary

Trebes to Bram: Sunday 24th April

We were ready in the morning after a good night’s sleep to do the 7 locks to Carcassonne.

"Waiting for the lock to open"
Waiting for the lock to open

Got to Carcassonne before 11h30 and moored up. We topped up with water and charged the electrical things. The charges for mooring at Carcassonne are €4.00 for ½ a day and up to €12.00 for overnight stops. Water and electricity cost €3.00 and there can be an additional supplement for overnight visitors as well.

"Carcassonne"
Carcassonne

We walked to where we could see the Old City and did some shopping. We went into a lock with boats coming out and it was a squeeze to get it correct. We had one surprise lock that we did not see on the map as it was under a bridge.

"Bram"
Bram

We tied up for the night just past Bram. We are one night ahead of schedule. We did 35kms and 12 locks today plus 8kms of walking. We walked into Bram and back – Bram is the largest circular city in Europe. We stopped for a beer at the canal basin – total walk distance was 4kms. We gnocchi with a sauce of shallot, lardoons, asparagus and cream.

gnocchi with a sauce of shallot, lardoons, asparagus and cream"
gnocchi with a sauce of shallot, lardoons, asparagus and cream

Homps to Trebes: Saturday 23rd April

Woke up very early and it was still drizzling. Had fried eggs for breakfast and then had a shower. The shower is very interesting. It is a hand held device and you shower in the space between the basin and the loo.

"The view of Homps from our barge"
The view of Homps from our barge

We got on our way at 08h10 and it was raining. The wind catches the barge. We got to the first lock before it opened. It was pouring with rain but we got the lock done perfectly.

"On our way to La Redorte"
On our way to La Redorte

Moored at La Redorte and walked into the village to shop. There was beautiful produce at the supermarket. We had an espresso at the restaurant alongside the moorings.

"A handful of cooked prawns for lunch"
A handful of cooked prawns for lunch

We got through the Puichéric lock before the lunch break which is from 12h30 to 13h30.  We stopped for lunch before the first locks to Marseillette. We did 8 locks in 8km’s including 2 doubles, a triple and a single. Trèbes triple lock was a synch. We were the only boat and we have our rhythm.

"This view is something you get used to!"
This view is something you get used to!

We stopped for the night at the first lock – Villedubert – on the way to Carcassonne from Trèbes. 14 locks and 30kms travelled today. I walked over 6kms. The locks are very physical and you need to be fit and agile.

"One of the many villages we saw"
One of the many villages we saw

We had scallops and asparagus for supper – the asparagus came from a farmer selling them at the side of the road.