I’m eliding June 7, which was mostly “transit via train from Barcelona to Narbonne” and then our AMAZING DINNER at St. Crescent which unfortunately I failed to take notes at. (Hopefully I’ll come back to them.)
So, onto June 8 and THE BOAT!
We woke up early, despite the late night and attempted to coordinate to go out to the market and the La Poste to get SIM cards for me and Kendra. This was stymied by Kendra waking up with some unpleasant stomach upset, and by the fact that halfway there it started raining in earnest. So we headed back to the hotel, got rain gear, picked up Carolyn, got pain au chocolat, and decided we’d get the SIM cards on the way to the market, Ben would continue on to the LeBoat to do the paper work while Carolyn and I shopped and the rest of the group would get the baggage to the boat by taxi. Unfortunately, La Poste didn’t carry micro SIMs, but Eric looked up an Orange store halfway back the canal towards LeBoat. So Carolyn and I hit the market, and Ben went back to get SIMs and start the boat paperwork.
Every time I go to that market I cry that I don’t live somewhere that I can go to a market like that every week. We bought all the cheeses, and gorgeous apricots and cherries (so glad I was wrongly worried that there would be no stone fruit for me!), olives and breads, couscous and garlic, and two rotisserie chickens and the accompanying potatoes. When we got back to the leboat, we found we’d beaten the rest of the party there.
Fortunately, even though it was grey, overcast and raw, it wasn’t actively raining. We got oriented, unpacked, and left Kendra sleeping while the rest of us split up – Ben, Carolyn and Tish back to the market to get some wine and other sundries, and Eric and Mike and I to the Carrefour to get all the staples. We did our traditional steal-the-cart-back-to-the-boat trip, packed away all the food, and got underway.
It rained off and on all afternoon, and it continued to be cold, but we made good time, and the weather wasn’t unbearable, just surprising.
Heading into our first lock of the trip…
Oh right. The canal is unbelievably beautiful, even in bad weather.
The view from belowdecks.
One of the more decorative locks.
Going in this direction from Narbonne, you have to cross the Aude river…
which leads to looking a few meters over from the boat and saying “let’s not go in that direction…
…and yeah, let’s not go that way either.
But we made it through without going over the spillway, getting caught in the shallows, or heading up the river. Hooray.
Still beautiful. There are going to be a lot of these.
We cruised quickly through Sallèles-d’Aude, since we plan to hit it on the way back.
Same canal, different trees.
We did make good time, but we did get stuck at the same lock we did in the last trip, in the set of six before the Midi (since we start out in Narbonne on the Canal de la Robine).
I made sandwiches for all the folks running the boat and the locks and we snacked all afternoon, so by the time we tied up for the night people weren’t famished. I took the mushrooms we’d bought, and some onions, and the potatoes and some chopped chicken and made tasty hash for those who wanted. We’d gone through three bottles of wine and another large of beer (as well as a few small) by the time we headed to bed. From inside the boat, with the crazy clouds we’d had all day, the sunset looked incredibly spooky.