Last days of our Canal du Midi boat trip

Had another late start due to sleeping in. At John and Anne’s suggestion we decided to visit the St Vincent church as visitors could access the tower and hence gain an outstanding view of Carcassonne and the surrounding area. Charles and Suzanne came with us to the church. We arrived just as the doors were opened so we were first in. The attendant suggested while it was quiet we go up the tower before looking around the actual church so we did. The attendant gave us numbers 1-4, first for the day. Only a certain number can go up at a time apparently. Karen and I led the way and Suzanne and Charles followed close behind.

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Part way up we passed the impressive collection of bells.

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At the top we did indeed have excellent views after climbing the 230+ stairs.

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Sadly we were looking right into the sun so views of the walled old city and castle were shaded.

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It might be busier later in the day but clearly the light would be better for photos then as the sun wouldn’t be a factor. When we came down we looked around the church interior using a small English brochure. The organ was certainly impressive.

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The church dated back to the mid 1200s and apart from being used as a foundry in 1794-5 had been in continuous use a place of worship since. From there we walked to the Tourist Information Centre to check emails and I typed up some of this blog and published one post. On our way back we bought some things for lunch. We arrived back at the boat about midday. John and Anne had arranged with the lock keeper to go through the port lock before his lunch break so we got moving straight away. I drove and the others worked the ropes on the lock.

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When we came to the next lock we stopped as it was the lock keeper’s lunch break. We organised our lunch quickly too. At 1:30 when that lock reopened we were quickly in. It was a full lock with three other vessels joining us.

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Everyone had a brief final drive and in time we came to Trèbes.

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The Le Boat port was quite busy

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but we managed to find a spot and hooked up to power and water. As we had opted to clean the boat ourselves Charles, John and I got going on the outside. Each couple cleaned their own bathrooms and Karen quickly did the floor at the end. Beer o’clock came around pretty quickly and we enjoyed a final drink up on the top deck, taking lots of photos using the timer on the cameras.

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With quite a few cooks involved we prepared our final meal using as much of the leftover food as we could, leaving a few things for breakfast the next morning.

Awoke to the quacking of ducks the next morning.

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Another sunny day.

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After breakfast we headed down to the Le boat office and joined the queue for the handover and final payments for fuel. A couple of quick photos with the boat and soon our taxis arrived.

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Our wonderful adventure together was over. Certainly one of the best we’ve had. It had been great to be in control of the boat, the pace we went, the places we stopped and for how long. The camaraderie between the six of us and the teamwork we had built up were the best bits however. Truly memorable days.

John and Anne headed off to the airport to pick up a rental car. They were driving to Barcelona via the Pyrennes. The other four of us went to the station. Karen and I dropped our cases off at a nearby hotel which provided a luggage minding service for a small fee. Then we took the bus with Suzanne and Charles to their hotel, which was within viewing distance of the Cité. After leaving their luggage there we walked to the fortress walls. As it was early in the day the sun was shining in a completely different direction so we able to take some nice shots of the castle walls from that side.

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After looking around and snapping away we returned on foot to the Ville Basse and ate lunch at a cafe as we weren’t sure what we would be eating that night. We said our farewells to Suzanne and Charles who were staying a couple of days in Carcassonne while we were off to Barcelona on a TGV train. Had one last look at the canal and the boats parked along the bank when we went to collect our cases.

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Karen was able to put her feet up while we waited for our train to Narbonne.

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I had a walk along the platform and took one last quick photo of what I could see of the top of the fortress over the rooftops. I was still beguiled by it, even after visiting on several occasions and seeing it from various angles over the last four days.

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There we boarded the next TGV train which was going directly to Barcelona. Had some good views of the coast and surrounding countryside as we went but it was hard to take a decent photo as we travelling so fast!

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By the time we arrived in Barcelona it was dark, but we were ready for our next adventure.

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