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.
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.
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.
We were ready in the morning after a good night’s sleep to do the 7 locks to Carcassonne.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We had scallops and asparagus for supper – the asparagus came from a farmer selling them at the side of the road.
We flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then took an overnight flight to Frankfurt.
We had breakfast in Frankfurt at the airport with Michelle and Jutta before catching a flight to Toulouse.
We checked into the hotel and had a shower before going shopping for food for the barge.
We took a walk around Toulouse, heading towards Capitol. We went back to the hotel to relax before heading out for the evening.
Had a lovely supper at La Ripaille. They were amazed we booked so early, but the overnight flight does not make for late nights. The owner only spoke French. We started off by selecting a local red wine.
Being in duck country I had rare duck breast.
and Dave sampled the cassoulet, which is a traditional dish of the region.
Dessert of course was a crème brûlée for me!
Dave usually finishes his meal with an espresso, but the owner told him that he had to order a Café Gourmand. Not knowing what to expect this arrived at the table.