Friday, June 15, 2018
Beyond Bram to Castelnaudary
This was the first day that we woke up last! Jill and Ollie went for a bike ride to get some croissants and pastries. Breakfast was after they came back. We are all aware that this is our last full day together. It seems strange that our journey on the boat is almost over.
We left our mooring place at about 9am and did the first 6 single locks in less time that expected. No boats in front of us so we didn’t have to wait. Then we went through a triple lock (3 chambers) with Jill and Eke holding the ropes. Then it was time for a break and lunch. The locks are closed for business between 12 noon and 1pm so the lock keepers can eat their lunch.
We were ahead of schedule – only two more locks to go through before we reach Castelnaudary. We leave at 1:30pm. On the way we admire the landscape which has changed from vineyards everywhere to a more varied crop on the fields like wheat, potatoes etc. We saw some photogenic French stone houses with wooden shutters.
Our last two locks consist of two chambers and four chambers each. Jill and Eke tackle the last one with the four chambers. However when we are in the second levelof the two chamber lock a large barge comes into the lock with us and once in the lock they try to get the boat into position and discover that the motor stops working and they cannot get it going again. There was some panic on board! When it was time to get ready to leave the lock they asked us if we could tow them out of the lock. They then would tie up on the other side and call the company from which they had rented the boat. Of course we agreed. Ropes were thrown back and forth and we towed them just outside the lock. They were very thankful and we felt good for having done a good deed on our last day.
We arrived in the Grand Basin in Castelnaudary where Le Boat has an office and we hoped for a good shower! Lots of boats were already tied up in the Basin and Ollie did a wonderful job of fitting us into a tight spot between other boats. After relaxing a bit, Eke decided it was time for that refreshing, great shower on shore. To her big disappointment the shower and the bathrooms were under reconstruction! She was not looking forward to bringing back this bad news to the boat _ and it was not fake news! Everyone reacted with disappointment! Eke then decided to tackle the shower in the boat. It actually was not that bad. We all took turns and were ready to hit the town! We enjoyed a drink on an outdoor patio and then continued to have dinner at “Chez David” where we ordered Casoulet which is a local delicacy. It consists of a slow cooked (6 hours) dish with sausages, lamb and duck meat in white beans with spices. Tasted good and was very filling! The Crème Brule for dessert was very good too.
Back to the boat for our last night on board. C’est triste.