July 2007 Agde to River Aude

July Winds - Live Music - Boat Painting - Carcassonne Fireworks - Time with friends & family.

The town of Agde has thousands of visitors pass through in July & August. Agde was built by the Greeks on a volcanic site, anchored in it's maritime traditions. She was nicknamed by Marco Polo "The black pearl of the Mediterranean". Agde was a Greek city, a medieval fortress and a rich village during the renaissance time. A good market on Thursday, flea markets on Wed & Sat. I visited the local tourist office to get a programme for the month. We spent some time exploring this town.

Lots of live entertainment during our stay here - many live bands played here, stage shows on the river which included Water-jousting. We enjoyed an evening of medieval opera played out on the water, this show followed a good chinese meal, free shows start around 10.30pm. A really good cycle path along the river Herault to Grau d'Agde & beach.

Our mooring at the round lock in Agde on the Canal du Midi

Aussie night dinner on Moet with Max Vicki (who had just escaped from Allemand boat yard). Our friends Erica & Knud were stopping over with us on route north. Stories of their seven weeks epic adventure, to China, Mongolia + 11 days spent driving through the Gobi Desert, was indeed a special trip. Erica's e-mails are a joy to read, she takes you traveling with them.

Erica & Knud shared their experience of cruising the River Rhone in their boat "Linquenda" in April. Max & Vicki have delayed their trip on the Rhone since it was in flood. They experienced engine problems from a blocked filter and had to be rescued off the Etang de Thau this month.

Our enjoyable cruise on the River Herault to Le Grau d'Agde for our lift out.

We enjoyed a blissful cruise on the River Herault from Agde to Allemand boatyard in Grau d'Agde. The river was a wonderful colour, especially after cruising the muddy waters of the canal - the salt air was so good. You can cruise out to Mediterranean sea from here, the Moet is not built for the sea, we took her as far as we dared without any risk, we love cruising wide open rivers like this it's also very good for swimming...

Fiona, Earl & Harry inspect the Moet on stilts in Le Grau-d'Agde

Fiona, Earl & Harry visited us and Willem in Grau d'Agde, inviting us to stay over on board Barge Colibri for Bastille Night. Earl's mum, was arriving from Australia to share this special night with them. Fiona & Earl enjoyed time with family & friends for a few days. Barge Colibri has none stop bookings till end of season, so very much enjoyed this time off.

John & I celebrated Bastille night twice once in Le Grau-d'Agde on 13th then on 14th in Carcassonne. This was a welcome break as we are out of water for two weeks painting the Moet in awful wind most days. Two weeks of boat painting and then a few days John helping paint Barge Colibri.

Our evening picnic spot side of river Aude in Carcassonne.

John & I drove (60k) to Marseillette on Bastille day and enjoyed a visit and drink with Andrea before Fiona & Earl chauffeured us all to our grand picnic spot on river Aude. Our spot had been saved by Mark, Nicole and nephew Douglas, they have been coming to the same spot on the river for the last four years, 9 of us enjoyed the picnic.

The wine flowed, the anticipation grew, as we settled to wait the fireworks to begin, (first commenced in 1998).

Over 700.000 visitors this year???

The entire Cité was set ablaze and became one huge incandescent block of stone. Thousands of spectators on both side of the river Aude to see the amazing show of fireworks. We admired the flames of blue, white, yellow, green, red, gold and a grandiose crowning piece.

More than 1200 impacts in 6 seconds over 600 metres of frontage

John & I dreamed of being here for this special event. 2,600 years of history, celebrated on Bastille night. Firework creations bring the Medieval Cite alive with colour and excitement it was indeed worth the wait and taking time off painting for.

What a special night this turned out to be, the fireworks brought the medieval Cite alive - for me it was like seeing a battle live at times with the sound of cannon fire. (I had just been watching Sharpe's battles). At one point the Medieval Castle looked like it was on fire it glowed red for several minutes.

Carcassonne fireworks magic moments

Carcassonne and the route National was lined with parked cars just every where, thankfully we had no problems parking near the river Aude (thanks to Earl & Fiona). We stayed late chatting by the river till all the traffic had disappeared, we then had a smooth drive back to Barge Colibri moored in Marseillette.

Our suite on board Hotel Barge Colibri was already and waiting for us and we slept

John & I enjoyed spending a night aboard Barge Colibri - time out of the boatyard Grau-d'Agde and painting to have a good night with friends. Followed by a morning sleep in "oh what bliss". If you want a special treat book a holiday on Hotel Barge Colibri.

We chatted the morning away then set off back for the drive along the coast, we enjoyed stopping for a late lunch before arriving back to Allemand and starting work again, cool breeze magic.

July was so hot, no rain for us this month, (a few specks one night). It was nice to have the wind to cool you down, temperatures reached over 40 degrees this month. Moet simmered in the heat of the month. We enjoy cruising on hot days it helps keep us and Moet cool, we enjoyed our cruise back on the blue river to Agde to wash the boat and prepare for some rest and sister Sharon's arrival, we changed our cruising plan.

Myself & sister Sharon enjoying time and space together.

A telephone call early in month from my sister Sharon, hi any space for your little sister to join you for 5 days, "which airport are you near she asked ". Nimes was our reply. Her husband Tommy was trekking in Morocco with two of my brothers. It was nice to have special time together.

John & I were not prepared for the roads during July. We were shocked to find roads slow moving and the drive to Nimes airport took us double the time it should have, we are so glad we are exploring France by boat during these hot summer months.

We enjoyed driving through the country side to show Sharon the south coast. We stopped in Sete for lunch it's known as "The Venice of Languedoc" we enjoyed a visit to the town centre after a walk to stretch our legs along the water front.

Visited Le Cap-d'Agde then drove on to Agde via the 14km of beach road. John and I have done this drive a few times this month. Talk of closing this road next year, not sure were all the motor homes will park great beach parking. A storm out at sea was causing crashing waves over some of the roads near Sete, but the beach was still full of people swimming and surfing. John bought me a huge ring for sitting in the sea bliss.

We enjoyed time out on the beach for a picnic and swimming.

We enjoyed watching a sand artist produce some good works of art on this beach. Enjoyed some nice walks to different villages and sampled lots of seafood. John enjoyed cooking on the BBQ everyone's favourite a leg of lamp enjoyed on front deck. I think Sharon is now off to order a Cob BBQ. A party end of the month for Tommy's 50th birthday (a good present she thought), thinks it will be really handy for their sailing boat Charisma.

We enjoyed spending a lot of our time just chatting and sitting relaxing.

We enjoyed a wonderful 18km (few locks) cruise on the canal du Midi since Sharon has not cruised on this canal before we returned to Villeneuve-les-Beziers for Sharon's last a night out. No wind thank goodness.

Our mooring in Villeneuve-les-Beziers with live music. John cycles back to Agde for car.

Text from Sharon's husband's Tommy to say he and my brothers climb was a success, YES lets celebrate we enjoyed celebrating with a bottle of bubbly for their safe return down the mountain, Sharon's stress melted away. We enjoyed a lovely Italian meal opposite the boat (above) with a live band playing mostly Sting music, our Sharon's favourite band, she was in heaven enjoying the evening.

Sharon "I'm ready to party now" so we joined in.

All too soon the alarm clock chimed for us to rise (set only for airport runs after late nights). The last drop of water came out of our tank, oh no our worse night mare YES we ran out of water... metered water here on key side (1 euro disks from local shop for 100 litres), unfortunately bought discs to discover no water it was out of service. Thankfully we had all showered and it was back on the road to Nimes.

On our return we cruised back to Cassafieres Port for water, we spruce boat and managed to do all our domestics, cleaning washing etc. Free mooring and water when ever we are in this port. We left the car in Cassafieres Port and will pick it up again some time in August.

Rush of the water in the Beziers 7 rise when filling two locks together. Much force.

Time to relax and cruise for a few days, on our way to meet Fiona & Earl on the Canal de Junction near river Aude. but first we had to go up the Beziers 7 rise, I always find it hard work especially in sun, but we have done this four times so far followed by 54km pound no locks.

I had time to choose some photographs from the many hundreds I have taken this month and start writing our web site. I am getting used to the new way of working with Dreamweaver. I try hard to remember all what Willem taught me about php during his visit this month.

I enjoyed some water colour painting and found peace on the 54km pound. John loves it when he can cruise for hours on end with no worries. Thoroughly enjoyed cruising back to the River Aude in wonderful sunshine, mooring up at different places each time we cruise this stretch, trying new places to eat.

Sunset cruise for David on his narrow boat Aquitaine as he comes through Capestang Bridge

We met David in Allemand boatyard this month when he was having repairs done on his narrow boat. He stopped by to tell us all the problems he was having with his boat sadly we could not help out, he needed to be lifted out again. We wished him well as he cruised late into the night towards Beziers.

We enjoyed two nights on our own with the trees and wind to keep us company, planning were we might cruise to for next month.

We seem to be glued to this coast line and reluctant to leave, but we want to explore further a field, summer seems to be rushing by.

Canal du Midi - Bed & breakfast in Le Somail, wonderful place for art & photographs.

We loved staying over night here in this very old port. I met two wonderful artists who live here also have a shop each in this port, both artists shared tips with me. I bought a small painting from each. When I come back to this port again I hope to have more time with these artists and John wants time to explore the old book shop.

We enjoyed a superb dinner out in this port, John sampled Scorpion fish on a 19 euro menu enjoyed very much indeed. One restaurant would only give a two hour slot for dinner they were so busy. You can hire English narrow boats here and we felt like we were back home in Yorkshire - many English cars parked here in the port.

Canal de Jonction to River Aude

Canal de Jonction is only 5km long 7 electric easy slow filling locks you work the locks yourself. This takes sometime, they close them for lunch! I walked to make it easy and had the locks ready for when John arrived, we traveled with two hire boats and enjoyed the short windy trip. This canal then takes you onto the river Aude for 1 km then it's the start of the canal de la Robine 31km to the end at Port-la-Nouvelle (out to sea) with lakes each side from PK18 to Pk31 good cycle path, especially around île-sainte-Lucie.

Colibri in Gailhousty dry dock in Salleles-d'Aude

We spent three nights moored on the river here with Fiona & Earl in the dry dock. We enjoyed each other's company and they were glad of the help. It was nice for us helping them get Colibri in shape.

The weather was so hot for the first two days, reaching over 40 degrees then it looked like a storm was on it's way. The VNF drove down to ask us to move the Moet off the river Aude to the safety of the canal, one lock up just in case of a flash flood. Some bad storms up in the hill's we were told. I am pleased to say no flooding happened, a little rain was all we got again. I think England and the north of France are having all the rain fall right now.