Monday, 27 June 2011

Agde to Ventenac en Minervois

Jun 11

The first reasonable mooring we found on the Midi was at Vias - still close to the coast though.  Angie couldn't resist going to the beach - but Peter got wet encouraging Kes into the waves.

Vias Plage
Vias had one of the more complicated flood gates we have seen - damn clever those 19C engineers

Then a very short run into Villeneuve les Beziers through one of the oval Midi locks.

The Midi (so far) is excellent for green bank moorings - reasonable depth at the sides and very little stone/rock infill. We were also experiencing our first low arched bridges on the Midi - a few buttock clenching moments given the cost of a new wheelhouse (not to mention the embarrassment)..

Whilst food shopping we spotted this painting - fantastic perspective as it is hard to believe it is just the flat end of a blank terrace wall.

Beziers has a dodgy reputation, so we carried on to the Fonserannes ecluse flight (seven ecluses once again filled two at a time which made for a bit of turbulence).

Then through the Malpas tunnel to a green bank mooring at Enserune.

Malpas tunnel
Enserune was carefully selected as it was an Gallo-roman archeological dig - the Oppidum was up a hill of course - with lots of funerary urns and grave goods (if you are into that kind of thing) but more impressive was the view over the drained (13C) Etang de Montady.

Etang de Montady
Enserune - Angie in a food silo
The local resident wasn't much impressed
The light was fantastic so I tried my hand at a still life (now if I could paint like this).

Another short run, into Poilhes to top up with water plus a few beers under the plane trees in the marketplace cafe - very attractive but judging by the beer prices the tourist season is here.

The catfish were hungry

The next day was Capestang bridge - the main Midi height barrier so we stripped down.

It didn't look any worse than all the others

but I can see why wheelhouses get wrecked

Capestang bridge
and another greenfield mooring at a bridge, with a restaurant which seemed permanently full (luckily as it was out of our price bracket).  The next day provisions were low so we stopped in La Somail before lunch to stock up at the floating Epicerie.

and we stuck our heads into the Bookshop Ancienne (xx thousand books) but the English titles were really ancient.

Le Somail
Angie managed to find a mooring in Ventenac en Minervois - adjacent to a wine cave in the local Chateau -which involved wine tasting - followed by a purchase of a doz overpriced Minervois (and she had forgotten her purse again).  I must remind her of the new drinking limits for pensioners - one glass a day I believe!

Angie has spotted a new bird - a Roller - like a blue parrot - but the only photo was of black swans.

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