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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

We’re from Seattle too!

Awakened early with a lot of racket outside our windows.  Dave put in earplugs so he could go back to sleep.  When we got up, we realized that a flea market had been setup on the canal alongside the boat.  So we wandered around for an hour.  Turns out junk is the same the world over.

Away we went.  On the second lock, two other boats caught up with us.  One with a Dutch family that could speak some English.  They were obviously struggling coming into the lock.  So I went to help with their lines.  On the third lock, I was giving them instructions on what to do like don’t throw the ropes to shore from the swim platform to the top of the lock, instead, with the rope in hand, climb to the top of the boat and throw it.  That way you are throwing it half the distance.  I was issuing orders to the daughter who didn’t speak English, and her Dad would translate and tell her what to do in Dutch.

On the fourth lock, we found another boat waiting because the lock was broken.  Turns out they were all from Seattle.  We tried in vain to talk to the central lock control (there is a panel where you can call for help) alas, they spoke no English, and my French was not good enough to explain what was broken at the lock.  But we gathered they would send someone, so we chatted with the Seattlites till they came to fix the lock.  The guy that came didn’t seem to know what was wrong, but diddled with it till it worked.

The Dutch family Dad came up to me with their guidebook in hand to ask where they were.  I opened it to the page with our location and showed them.  Wow.  Just wow.  I can’t imagine doing this without a clue where you are on the map!

Once the lock was fixed and we were successfully secured, I asked the Seattlites to man our lines so I could ride ahead on my bike to the next lock.  It was the one that wasn’t working right the day before, so I was suspicious.  Sure enough, when I got there, it didn’t work.  This time, the gal at central control spoke English and told me they would “send someone, but she didn’t know when”.  Now I know where there is a “lock fix it guy”, the last lock!  So quick as a bunny I ride back to the previous lock.  Hollering to the boats on the canal as I pass by – “the next one is broken too!”  I get to the lock before the guy had packed up to leave, and using mostly hand gestures explain that the next one is broken too.  He nods and I hope that means he will come there next.  Racing back on the bike, I holler to the boats on the way by, “He’s on his way there!”.  And sure enough, he fixed the next lock, and a mere 2 hour delay later, we are back on the Canal Du Midi.

After the broken lock adventure, we stopped at a winery on the canal.  Alas they were closed.  So onto the next little town with the Seattlites to find lunch.  We found a great little restaurant in a garden and ordered pizza.  It was great.  Though there was much debate about pizza ingredients.  What is “Lardon” anyway?  I guessed maybe bacon, but it isn’t in Dave’s mobile phone translation dictionary.  When it arrives – indeed it looks and tastes like bacon!  The restaurant had a beautiful swimming pool.  Doesn’t that look great?!  Had we bothered to read the guidebook before we left we would have realized that the restaurant patrons get to use the pool for free!

But on the way back to the boat we got lost and ended up hiking 3 miles back.  Thank goodness for my hat!  Or else I would be a crispy critter in this sun.  Note to self:  Must remember to thank Kim for making me buy the hat!

Went to dinner that night with the Seattlites in Capastang.  Dinner was good.  Then we sat on the Seattlites boat and drank too much wine and stayed up too late!  But it is our last night on the boat so we wanted to enjoy every last minute!

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