France
Aigues-Mortes

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43 travelers at this place

  • Day18

    A Terrible Crime is Discovered

    September 7, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    After 8 days on the boat, I would be lying a little if I said that we were sorry to be leaving the confines of our cabin. It is not exactly easy to live in a space about the same size as a dwarf's coffin. Although each person evolves their own survival strategies for storing their gear, washing themselves and doing their laundry, as the week progresses it is normal for each person to start fantasizing about what they are going to do when they get to a hotel room. "I can't wait to see inside my case again", "I am going to spend an entire hour under the shower", "I will wash my socks and undies for the first time in a week"," I haven't brushed my teeth since leaving Melbourne", and so on.

    By 8 am our riders were dragging their cases up the winding stairs from the cabins to the main deck. With so little room to move , it was a miracle that no one was crushed under the weight of a falling suitcase. Three men helped Carol and Sam manouevre their bulging bags to the deck. It was obvious that our time on the boat had drawn to a close.

    I advised everyone to do a double check of their rooms to make sure that no tiny item had been overlooked. A few minutes later Sam poked her head up the staircase to announce that she had found that Carol had left about half of her belongings in the drawer under the bed. That was the reason her case only weighed 19 kg. Some time later Carol had retrieved several kg more of her (nearly) lost luggage and we started saying our final goodbyes to our new American friends.

    The strange thing is that, after a few days, we will all forget the difficult aspects of boat living, and then only recall all the laughs and fun we shared together. Next year we will back on another bike and barge along the Moselle.

    It was only as we were starting to drag our cases to the shore that things took a dark turn. Arie appeared with a look of shock and anger on his face. "Three of the ebike locks are missing", he shouted. We looked at each other, wondering why anyone would want to add a 3 kg chain and lock to their already heavy suitcases. "This has never happened before", he added. It was apparently a very serious matter. In Europe wars have apparently started over less serious issues.

    We all then embarked on a hue and cry to look for the missing chains. Panniers were stripped, cupboards were opened, guilty ebike riders were questioned under a bright light. Locks were counted and recounted, but the total was still three short. I thought that the brilliant Inspector Clouseau might be rushed from Paris to help crack the infamous case of the stolen locks. After all, this had all the makings of an international incident involving France, Australia, the USA and Holland. Although Donald Trump would probably downplay it as "fake news", it was becoming quite stressful for us.

    After an interminable period of searching and hypothesizing about the location of the missing locks, I came to the conclusion that they were probably somewhere on the bottom of the canal. Arie had no choice other than to admit that they had truly disappeared and he reluctantly allowed us to leave the boat. It was a slightly disappointing end to a fun ride, but I am sure that they will turn up somewhere and the tarnished reputation of the Ghostriders will be rightfully restored.

    We then formed a luggage peloton to drag our bags across the city to the hotel we had booked for the next two nights. In spite of a few rough cobblestoned sections, we all managed to reach the Hotel Chez Carriere without suffering a serious castor malfunction. The hotel is situated in an ideal location, right near the centre of the old walled city. It will make a lovely temporary base of operations while we explore the town.

    The name Aigues Mortes means "Dead Waters" and the swampy region has been used as a place to harvest salt since Roman times. The large areas of marshland also make it an ideal breeding ground for hungry mosquitoes. The recorded history of the town dates back thousands of years and the huge fortified city wall that now stands here played a significant role in the Crusades of the 13th century.

    The pilgrims and penitents that helped establish the city must have been a very colourful bunch. Over the past few days we have discovered chapels for the "White Penitents", the "Black Penitents" and even the "Grey Penitents". I am not sure exactly what a "grey penitent" is, but perhaps they were a sort of medieval fence sitter. The only thing missing was a chapel for the rainbow penitents, but I guess they came several centuries later.

    Maggie and I spent most of the afternoon wandering the narrow streets of the old city. The town has an inordinate number of cafes and art galleries, obviously catering largely for tourism. In the cool of the evening these outdoor cafes are packed with diners, and the streets echo with the sounds from numerous buskers. I am sure we will all return to Australia with amazing memories of our time spent here. The name might mean dead waters, but the place ceratinly seems full of life to me.
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  • Day19

    Very Unwelcome News from Home

    September 8, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    It is not easy travelling on an extended overseas holiday when you have pets at home. After all, they don’t seem to be able to look after themselves. Not only do they require feeding, dogs also need daily walks and cats need to have their every wish catered for. Fortunately there exists a particular kind of nomad called the “housesitter”. These people have adopted a gypsy lifestyle, whereby they exchange free accommodation and utilities in return for caring for pets that have been deserted by their globetrotting owners.

    We have used the services of several different housesitters in the past and have found that the arrangement was mutually beneficial to all parties concerned. We had assumed the same thing would apply this time, after all we had driven all the way down to Geelong to meet the potential sitter, many months before we were due to leave. We even introduced her to the dog that she would be looking after. We had no reason to believe that things would not go well.

    As it turned out the arrangements seemed to be going well for the two and a half weeks we have been travelling for. For the first few days we even got sent emailed “happy snaps” showing how well the cat and dog were being looked after. Even when the communications started to slow down, we assumed that all was going well. You can therefore imagine my surprise when I got a short message saying that the housesitter had decided to immediately pack up and leave. No warning, no opportunity to make other plans – she had just packed her bags and gone, leaving the pets in an empty house. Even more surprising was the way she ended her message with “have a happy holiday”.

    To say that this constituted something of a curveball would be an understatement. We then spent much of the morning on the phone trying to put alternate makeshift plans into operation. We have never heard of a sitter acting in such an irresponsible way before, but there was little we could do about it when we were on the other side of the planet. When Maggie’s sister arrived at our house to see what had happened, she found that not only were the animals left unattended, but the front door had been left damaged, the airconditioner was broken, the washing machine had been moved and some towels had been taken. I suppose under such circumstances we should have been glad that she had not stayed for the full two months as I don’t think the house would have survived. I guess we have learned to be far more selective in our choice of any future potential house sitters. In the meantime we will have to somehow get by with “Plan B” for the next 6 weeks.

    Since today was going to be our final full day in Aigues Mortes, I did not want the entire time there to be spoilt by the unwelcome news we had received. We had already decided that we should all visit the ramparts that surround the city. These fortified walls extend around the full 1.7 km perimeter of the old city and certainly would have posed a significant obstacle for any would be medieval invader.

    If we had been aged between 18 to 25 years of age we would have been able to get access for free. For some reason the ticket seller would not believe that I fell in that age range and charged me the full price of 8 Euro. There was no concession for old Australians at all, even if our ancestors had helped rescue France from destruction in both world wars.

    Once we climbed the stairs to the top of the imposing main tower I had to admit that it was worth every cent of the admission charge. The views out over the surrounding flat marshes were magnificent. In front of us we could see the long canal that our boat had followed to reach the city. I then spent the next 90 minutes walking the entire length of the ramparts. At irregular intervals the walls are punctuated by a succession of larger constructions. These were used for various functions, including chapels, prisons, forts, etc. The sheer amount of material and effort that had gone into the construction must have been incredible.

    By the middle of the afternoon I was feeling tired and returned to my room at the Chez Carriere. Our room was situated next door to Gael and Gerry’s. For some reason Gerry seemed to have an inordinate amount of difficulty unlocking their door. Every 30 minutes or so we would hear a prolonged ritual of clanking, banging, key turning, often punctuated by a period of loud cursing. Just when you thought that they had finally opened the door, it would start all over again. I am sure that it would have been easier to make a hole through the 5 metres thick stone ramparts, than to turn the key in Gerry’s lock. Although I tried to instruct him on the correct technique for opening this sort of lock, it was obviously a skill that he never managed to master. To the contrary, he actually seemed to get noisier with each successive opening and closing.

    Although we had no such difficulty with our lock, we did manage to almost shake the building from its foundations several times when we accidentally let the door slam shut. On such occasions I think the resultant bang would have been audible in Paris. In spite of these minor hiccups, the hotel really was a fantastic place to stay. The rooms were clean and comfortable, the air conditioners worked well, the location was perfect and the manager was delightful.

    Tomorrow we will be bidding adieu to Aigues Mortes as we undertake a gruelling all day train odyssey to take us to Nevers to begin the second part of our cycling adventure. After a three day break, I am sure that all our team is very eager to get rolling again.
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  • Day356

    Aigues-Mortes

    March 14 in France ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Today we strolled around the ramparts learning all about each tower and gate as well as more about the crusades, Louis led the 7th and 8th apparently and the salt tax. It was all surprisingly interesting and the views were incredible all the way around.
    Then a restorative hot chocolate after all that culture before returning to the boat and meeting some of the English ‘locals’. We spent the evening chatting with Francois and John who had some great stories and advice.
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  • Day359

    And the fun continues

    March 17 in France ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    As of midday today the restrictions got tighter, it is our understanding that for the next 15 days minimum we can now undertake only essential travel. So we won’t be moving for a while bummer! We can only go out to buy supplies, exercise and go to work. I think this is very similar to the UK regulations. I am just pleased I can exercise outside otherwise I think I really would go stir crazy 😜. We are going to use the extra time for more maintenance luckily it’s a never ending project.
    On a more positive note yesterday we walked, along the cycle path, to the Tour Carbonnerie which used to guard the only road to Aigues-Mortes. You had to actually pass through the base of the tower. We were amazed to see these large otter/rat creatures eating reed bulbs, we now know they are Coypu, not native to France they introduced for fur I think we read but are now considered a nuisance as they ‘destroy the river banks’ having seen the way the hire boat captains speed along I am pretty sure they do a lot more damage than the Coypu, but they don’t generate any revenue so are easier to blame. We also saw the usual flamingos, swans, herons, greater egrets, egrets, coots, mallards, kingfishers, cormorants, glossy ibis, gulls and terns. We also spotted a dead snake! This morning we rode along the Via Rhône bike track to Galician, we only saw the Coypu trails but lots and lots of birds. I borrowed tnese photos from Facebook as we didn’t take the camera, sorry.
    Keep healthy everyone.
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  • Day425

    Still in Aigues- Mortes

    May 22 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    It’s been a while since my last post mostly because we haven’t been doing very much that’s note worthy. Anyway here is an update.
    In theory the canals will reopen for pleasure craft on the 29th as all necessary checks, maintenance and staff will be in place say the vnf, they’re responsible for the navigable waterways of France, however it is up to the Prefecture of each area to decide whether or not to allow pleasure boats. Great! We have do idea who to ask or how we are just planning on setting off and seeing how far we get before we are stopped.
    Here in Aigues-Mortes it is almost business as normal but with hand sanitizer everywhere and masks for shops. Lots of bars and cafes are doing takeaway food and drink which is weird but they need the money, the French economy isn’t doing great.
    Today we decided to go for a walk even though we are now dogless as her owner decided to defy the travel ban and head to Sète anyway, he hasn’t come back so we can only assume he’s OK. We walked up the western side of the Aigues-Mortes triangle and then west along the Rhône a Sète canal to the Portes de Vidourle. From there we walked a little way south along the Vidourle river before turning Eastwards and walking through the Bois de Quincadon. We stopped near the start of the woods to pick mulberries of the three trees we found on our last walk that way. Then continued on though the woods to the outskirts of town, it’s was lovely but very warm. The temperature is now 33degs but thankfully here on the back of the boat there is a lovely breeze.
    The other thing to be thankful for, we hope, is the arrival of our mobile air con unit, just got to sort out the venting hose.
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  • Day437

    St Gilles lock ..... nearly

    June 3 in France ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    While anchored off Sète we took the opportunity to walk to the big hyper market to look for more John compatible food, we found some but not the biscuits he was craving. On our return to the boat we decided to give the hull a clean while we had use of the dinghy and then another quick dip. We then hauled the dinghy on board and headed back across the Etang and through the canal towards Frontignan we were in time for the 16:00 bridge lifting. On our way through we met a boat from A-M and could wave and ask how they were, that’s a novel experience for us. We decided not to spend the night in Frontignan but to go to one of the free stops along the canal. On our way we passed a barge loaded with dredged mud being pushed along and zigzagging as it did, luckily it was a wide bit of canal. Once we reached our spot we were all alone it was lovely, I cleaned, deflated and repacked the dinghy. This time we have left it on the forward deck just behind the anchor winch rather than in the shower!
    Yesterday we moved further along the canal, this time passing a boat pulling 300m of dredging pipe, I think we have seen most sights now. We stopped for lunch near the Maguelone Abbey, still closed as it is a refuge for the ill so isn’t opening its doors until July at the earliest. Again we met some of the winter livaboards from A-M they helped us moor up, we were able to walk to the beach and I had a dip my last until we reach the northern shores. We arrived back in A-M in time for a chat with Chris our new friend, did some shopping, showered and collected the bikes. We left there late today and did a fuel run while tied up near the supermarket (their fuel is a lot cheaper than marinas, but it involves multiple trips with big jerry cans in a shopping trolley). Then we headed towards the lock at St Gilles, we are now tied up near there for the night with only sheep for company. On today’s trip we saw a king fisher as well as the usual Herons, Egrets, bee eaters, starlings, swallows cormorants and sparrows.
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  • Day5

    Tag 5 - Sonne, Cote d'Azur und Flamingos

    September 11, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Was für ein tolles Tag. Nach dem ersten Sonnen- Frühstück seit dem Start der Rallye über dem Hafen von St. Tropez sind wir gemütlich die Küstenstraße Richtung Marseille gefahren. Eine wunderschöne Strecke. Nach einem Zwischenstopp in dem hübschen Städtchen Bandol ging es zügig Richtung Camargue. Hier konnten wir die Flamingos und die schöne Landschaft im Sonnenuntergang bewundern. Wow, so schön. Die Nacht haben wir wir im antiken Städtchen Aigues-Mortes verbracht. Eine Stadt umrahmt von einer Stadtmauer aus dem 14 Jh. Toll, dass wir diese Entdeckung gemacht. Nach einem leckeren Abendessen in einem pittoresken Hinterhof sind wir wieder in wunderbare Hotelfedern gesunken.Read more

  • Day10

    Plötzlich im Wilden Westen

    October 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Wir befinden uns in der Camargue, dem westlichsten Zipfel der Provence. Auf dem Weg zu unserer Unterkunft in der Hafenstadt Le-Grau-du-Roi passieren wir Aigues-Mortes. Wir hatten bereits im Vorfeld von deren riesiger Stadtmauer gelesen, vom aktuell stattfindenden Fête Votive Festival allerdings nichts. Bereits am Ortseingang taumeln uns 4 Jungs mit Cowboy-Hüten, beschmierten Gesichtern und Döner vor den Kühler. Sicherlich ein JGA denken wir. Als wir allerdings aus Neugier auf das Festivalgelände einbiegen und uns jeder zweite in diesem Zustand entgegenkommt, wird klar - hier herrscht Ausnahmezustand.
    Die Votivfeste in der Camargue sind mit Stierkampftraditionen verbunden, allerdings unblutig. Als wir ankommen wird gerade ein junges Mädchen in der Arena verarztet, die scheinbar etwas langsamer als der Stier war. Ja richtig, die Zuschauer können in die Arena springen und ihren „Mut“ beweisen. Ansonsten werde die Stiere von den Guardians, das sind die feschen Boys auf den Pferden, aus der Arena durch die Straßen von Aigues-Mortes geleitet.
    Es gibt deutlich mehr Promilleopfer als Lädierte vom Stierkampf. Naja, hat halt so jeder seine Traditionen...irgendwie immer noch greifbarer als das Oktoberfest bei uns im Lande.
    Als die letzten Stiere von der Straße zurück auf die Weide getrieben werden, ziehen wir weiter.

    Wenig später erreichen wir unsere Unterkunft. Jetzt ein schööönes Rumpsteak. Nein, das lässt sich dann doch nicht ganz mit dem Gewissen vereinbaren. Dann halt Dreierlei Fisch und Salat :)
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  • Day21

    Tag 18 // Das Meer in Sicht

    September 6, 2016 in France ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Nach Tagen an verschiedensten Flüssen ist nun das Mittelmeer in Sicht. Morgen früh werden wir hinkommen und fast den ganzen restlichen Tag entlang fahren.

    Ansonsten haben wir heute den schwächer werdenden Mistral Wind nochmal richtig ausgenutzt, nachdem er uns auf dem Mont Ventoux so zugesetzt hatte. Ganz klares Tagesmotto: Kilometer schrubben.

    125km sind es am Ende geworden mit einem Schnitt von 23,7km/h. Wir waren schon langsamer unterwegs. Insofern gibt es auch von unterwegs wenig zu berichten ausser Sonne, Wind und viel Tempo.

    Untergekommen sind wir heute in einer Villa. Chambre d'hot machts möglich. Wieso man allerdings sich ein solches Haus leistet und dann das wertvollste, seine Privatsphäre für 90€ die Nacht verkauft wird mir wohl schleierhaft bleiben. Angesichts des komfortablen Zimmers soll es mir jedoch egal sein. Um den Pool noch zu nutzen waren wir leider etwas zu kaputt und hatten auch schon lange genug in der Sonne gebraten. Morgen früh bekommen wir hier noch ein Frühstück und dann geht es auch schon wieder weiter.
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Aigues-Mortes

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