Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vacation: On Le Boat

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that we are boat people. Our boat is fabulous for two people. For this trip, though, we wanted to go down the Canal du Midi with our friends. So, with my husband as captain, we rented a four-stateroom (bedroom) boat. It had three heads (bathrooms), a galley (kitchen), and a sitting area. It had ample space outside to sit and enjoy the ride.

In the summer I imagine this is an ideal layout, but it was chilly during our sojourn down the water. This immediately put a damper on my friend's plan to sit on the deck in her bathrobe, drink coffee, and read every morning as we set off on the day's adventure. My dream of having meals on the deck was likewise crushed by the wind that blew almost continuously. We did mange to have a lunch or two outside.

The weather could not affect the incredible scenery along the canal. Thousands of trees symmetrically line the water. I probably took one hundred pictures that show the view from the deck. Like the sunset from the balcony of the hotel in San Diego, I never grew tired of seeing and photographing this idyllic scene.

The land surrounding the water was farmland, mostly grapes, and there were always shadows of mountains rising behind the fields. In the mornings, there was fog on the water and the land. That and the chill air gave the start to the day a crisp and new feeling.

We floated from Trebes to Narbonne in three days, stopping in small villages at night. Most of them had only one or two restaurants open as the tourist season had ended, and one night we actually ate in a restaurant that was part of the peoples' home. The food was the equivalent of "home cooking" and the young son played computer games as we ate.

The locks were a bit more work than I anticipated. Not strenuous, but steady enough to prevent much relaxation for my husband and me. We left the boat a couple of days early. I was disappointed to cut that leg of the trip short, but I know I will take other boat trips in other countries. These views are hypnotic and addictive.

Tomorrow: Arles

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