Saturday, May 12, 2012

Aix to Carcassonne

 Today we travelled from Aix-en-Provence as far as Carcassonne.  And I am so excited that the GPS took us through the Camargue.  These first four pictures I shot from the car whilst driving.  The first one shows how, in the Camargue, water is everywhere.  It is part of the delta formed at the mouth of the Rhone and it is here that are found the wild horses that turn white in their fourth year.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to see any of these horses so when I saw this white horse in the horse trailer I had to take the shot.  And how hilarious that the arrow from the road sign is pointing right at the trailer!!!

 But we did see some horses and I managed to get this shot.
This is a huge area planted in lettuce, the red and green lettuce showing clearly here.   (Chris, do not try and attempt this at home!! They have lots of hired help and besides, who could ever eat that much lettuce!!) We also saw great piles of salt far in the distance, another product of the Camargue, along with many rice fields.  And we also saw three flamingoes but I wasn't quite quick enough with the camera.  Sigh.
These two shots (both of the same alley, I had to get the up and the down!) are in Agde, a small town on the coast that we visited just before we headed northwest towards Carcassonne.  The Canal du Midi passes through here before it finally dumps out into the Mediterranean at Sete, a bit further southeast than Agde.  Can't you just imagine what it must have been like to live on this street several hundred years ago? I don't think that power line would have been there then!!
We bought a 'pain' in Agde and then a bit further on we bought tomatoes and cheese.  And then my guy found this delightful spot, just off the road, where we stopped for our lunch.  It is part of the Canal du Midi, a large canal built from Bordeaux to Sete in the late 1660's.  It was built to allow commercial products to travel along an inland route rather than having to travel by boat around Spain on the Mediterranean.  Much faster and much cheaper and probably much safer.  There is a footpath alongside the canal upon which horses used to walk, pulling the barges along.  Now WE can walk on these footpaths. Neat, don't you think!
A little technical information: the canal is 240 kilometres long, is 16 - 19 metres wide and is 2 metres deep.  Zounds!!
This is the canal looking in one direction and then I turned around and took a picture facing the other way. (sorry there is no space between the pictures.  I erased one and added another, but the result was that one seems to be sitting right on top of the other.  later: ok, sometimes there is a space between so please accept my apologies if my comment makes no sense!!)
 Whilst I was walking back to the car, this boat came along and so you can see what the canal is used for today.... for pleasure!  There are locks on the canal that allow boats to make their way all along its length, from one end to the other I imagine.  I haven't looked into this much as it isn't my preferred method of travel, but it would be quite a relaxing and quiet way to travel, I expect.  The gite we are staying at for the next two nights is within walking distance of another part of the canal so we might go and have a look.  A lot of it is also tree-lined and so would be quite lovely and cool.

This last shot is taken on a small road that leads from the town of Trebes up to the little town of Villedubert, where we are staying until Monday.  There are poppies blooming everywhere here just now, some covering huge fields, and I believe this is an acacia tree, also in full bloom.  So beautiful.
Tomorrow we will visit Carcassonne, the walled city.  I believe it is another world heritage site.  More later!!!

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