Nissan-lez-Ensérune (June 11, 2013)

Day 11: Roman ruins, and back through the Malpas. And one million pictures of the trees on the canal.


More amusing sign vandalism…

I woke up to the sounds of the boat already underway. Hopped immediately in the shower and felt much more human. By the time I was done, we were back in the Colombiers port facility to take on water and hit the grocery. I love how in France, the quickstation grocery still has tinned foie gras and a bakery with fresh-baked bread and pain au chocolat.

Aatish and Kendra made a magnificent spread of sandwich fixings and we all assembled impressive sandwiches to take with us. We brought the wine in the plastic jug, and the artisanal potato chips, and some chocolate, and I stuck an herbal tea bag in my water bottle.
We cruised back to Malpas, right before the tunnel, and climbed the hill back up to the Roman ruins at the top.


Anyone know what these are? They’re spikey and fuzzy at the same time and I love them.

We had an exceedingly tasty picnic at the top of the hill/mountain, and then went into the museum area. The ruins near the museum were dull (mostly crumbled foundations and not much more). The grounds promised there were more ruins a kilometer or two away, but I decided I’d had too much sun, and sat under an apple tree and read a book til the rest of the party returned. The museum was full of impressive potsherds and amphorae and funeral bits, and terrible old-fashioned lighting, such that I didn’t really take any pictures. And I decided I didn’t actually need a tiny bronze Roman helmet, even if it was adorable.

And then we got back on the canal, going back through the tunnel, and started looking for a vineyard. Unfortunately, the one Ben was aiming at turned out to be closed. So we turned around and went back to Poilhes, which had a winery which was also closed. We ended up at vinauberge(.com) which had a huge wine collection, for sale or for corkage, but no way to do a tasting. We bought one bottle to drink there, on the recommendation of the guy who owned the place, liked it, and bought two more to take with us. And Mike fell in love with the owners daughter and “whined” about how we’d taken him away from the love of his life for the rest of the afternoon.


One of these things is not like the others…


This is the road Carolyn, Eric and I biked 2 days ago.


Dying trees. The plane trees all the plane trees on the canal are dying of a horrible fungus. They’re in the process of cutting them down as they become unsafe and are planting young fungus-resistant replacements, but it will be a while before they reach the same stature as the old ones 🙁 This is what the trees look like as they start to fail, and it’s catching from one tree to another.


So I’m enjoying them while we’re here, since the next time we come back, there will be even fewer.


Here’s some of the brave new replacements.


And the occasional odd not-a-plane-tree out.


The dying ones are still beautiful, though I understand they have to take them down before they fall on the boats.

The afternoon cruising was great. – Mike got out the Frenchman outfit, Kendra got to drive for the first time, and I took a million pictures of rows of trees.
The plan was then to cruise onwards to the- restaurant-that-called-Mike-Miguel, but when we got there, it was closed too (starting to be a theme of this trip). So after some griping and blood sugar fail and a little internet recon we headed towards Argelier to a place that promised to have good pizza. It was a longish walk from the canal, but the pizza was, as promised, good, and we had nowhere to be, so we didn’t mind that the owner was working alone and so dinner was exceedingly slow.


The road to pizza: also lined with trees.