October 8th, 2019

8 October 

Watched the first couple of episodes of World on Fire last night, it certainly held our attention!

Once again, surprisingly quiet night considering we were parked basically alongside a road which had been fairly busy during the day. 

Was Tintin’s turn not to sleep that well - this time he’s been bitten - and the itchiness woke him a few times despite the antihistamines. 

The forecast for today was maximum 20° and cloudy/sunny. In reality it’s been warmer than that, and the sun has been out all day!

I was driving today, just over 1-1/2 hours - some of it not that pleasant! Decided to take the scenic route, but got stuck in traffic going through Sète, also, thought we’d see the sea all along the coast towards Agde - but nah - road was lower than all the greenery going on for miles! Outskirts of Bèziers (population 72,000) was busy too, again with rubbish roads - and today we had more than our fair share of impatient drivers. They just whizz in front of us at roundabouts, and barge in, in front of us when lanes merge - language hasn’t been good today!

We’re parked up right alongside the Canal du Midi, just outside Colombiers - by another cemetery!

Bike riding day, nearly 20 miles. Started off going into Colombiers, strange little town, but the port was quite busy with little boats, and lots of people eating out. 

You’d think that as we’re parked alongside the canal that it would be easy to follow the canal to other towns. Well, it wasn’t! They’re doing major work on the canal, and large sections are closed off to walkers and cyclists. 

We’d seen the following on Google maps - and didn’t really understand what it was.

It’s a dried up lake! The Etang de Montady is a drained wetland situated on the plain and a few hundred metres from the oppidum (see below).  It’s quite strange to see from up above, with fields that radiate out from a central point like the rays of the sun and has been like that since the sixty ditches were first dug to drain the land in the 13th century. From the central part is an open ditch, constructed with a reverse slope which carries all the water from the lake to the Malpas hill into which it is fed by means of an aqueduct of almost 1.5km, before finally pouring into the Aude. The Malpas Tunnel was bored in 1679 and was the first tunnel in the world to have been dug specifically for a canal.

We didn’t get to see the Oppidum of Ensérune. An oppidum is a fortified Gaul village. Excavations (1915-1967) revealed remains of different settlements ranging from 6th century BC to 1st century AD. The Domitian Way was the main and first Roman road in Gaul built around 118 BC and crosses Colombiers and Nissan. 

When we did actually manage to ride alongside the canal, it wasn’t very good - a bit overgrown and very very bumpy, even down to previous bike tracks when people had ridden when wet, that was dried hard. Basically, couldn’t look around as we had to pick out and avoid tree stumps, large stones etc. 

Stopped off at Capestang and fed the ducks! Went into the exceptionally large church - it had lots of chandeliers!

Saw a Roman house, probably built in the 12th century. There were some really old and run down properties with huge cracks in the mortar - and Tintin did question whether the houses were waterproof or not, but people were living in them!

Couldn’t be bothered with the cycle path, and took our chances on the roads coming back. 

There was a convenient Intermarché on the way back, so stopped off for some fresh milk, and a couple of Mille-feuille just happened to fall into my hands! We ate these back at Dave - lovely 😊 

And the rest of the photos - 

Canal work just by Dave
Canal work just by Dave
Sunset tonight over the canal
Sunset tonight over the canal
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Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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