On Saturday, our group split forces with Paul and Suzy heading off to Avignon and Arles and Dave, Claire, Michael and me heading into Bezier to see some more of the Canal du Midi.
According to notes left in the house notebook, Les Neuf Ecluses (the nine locks) at Bezier are worth seeing and a walk along the canal from the locks to the town of Cobiere was a good outing culminating with lunch at a canalside cafe in Cobiere. That seemed as good a destination as any for a slightly overcast day and we headed off.
The nine locks are, well, nine locks. They all stack up, one atop another, to lift boats up a pretty good height in a very short distance. We were lucky enough to get there just as a small sailboat was entering the lowest lock; so, we were able to see all the action. Really, nothing too terribly extraordinary but it was moderately interesting. Not a big yawn but maybe a discrete ho hum.
Not discouraged by the lack of lock action, we began our ramble along the canal. The first part was lacking in picturesqueness but we did find some lovely stretches that were lined with large plane trees in autumnal foliage. It makes one very sad when one realizes that these trees will undoubtedly be taken down in the next few years. (The plane trees are all infected with a disease that was introduced during WWII . . . it seems that the ammunition boxes that came over from the U.S., which were made from southern plane trees contained some bug to which the French plane trees are not resistant. The French plane trees are being taken down and replaced with a resistant variety).
We walked and walked but never did find Cobiere. Guess we didn’t walk quite far enough before we pooped out! We walked back via a small road that took us past several garden plots, some fenced-in, run-down looking places, including one with a snarling, barking, slavering pit bull, and some institutional buildings that may have been old folks’ homes. We ended up on a not-so-small and very busy road where we finally had to slide down an embankment to get back to the canal. All in all, a good morning’s outing!
Into Bezier for its covered market. Amazingly, Natalie the Navigatrix took us right where we needed to go. Got there just in time to find room at the bar of a market cafe wbere we had a good lunch of chopped steak and mountains of frites. Sitting at the bar may not be as comfortable as at a table but you get one heck of a show.