Monday, 12 May 2014
Friday 9th May - Toulouse to St Martin Lalande - Commencement du Canal du Midi
Before hitting the canal we stocked up on even more inner tubes and visited the most ornate Orange shop to add some connectivity to Ming Li. Via a few more monuments, we joined the Canal du Midi for what would turn out to be a frustrating long morning; the puncture protection inserts that we'd bought earlier seemed to ironically be causing more punctures than they were preventing. Today we began to fear, perhaps for the first time, that our day's target wouldn't be reached.
The first 50km of the canal was excellent (much more variety than the Garonne) and on pretty well surfaced piste. Met a couple of very friendly French guys touring the canal at just the point where the track really started to deteriorate. Having lost some time earlier in the day, the final quarter came with greater effort from tired legs, frustrated minds and rough riding.
The tourism season seems to start late in these parts so, the campsite target was a few miles away from the canal which gave us a timely reminder that the entire landscape doesn't have to be flat! Camping a la Ferme at the Capelle turned out to be a reward in itself though.
It was a perfect campsite, relaxed, fantastic location and friendly fellow campers keen to chat about our adventure.With one older German couple, Jane managed to get a casual 'D-Day' mention into the conversation without any discernible reaction (almost in her dad's "Fire Torpedo 1 engagement in the otherwise calm waters of Port Grimaud forty years ago). The campsite owner scuttled about on his golf-buggy and came delivering our wine just as the food hit the table (he would be back again in the morning with our Brioche Maison :-)).