Barge 1, Picking up the Barge

Le Segala Travel Blog

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First Day

Le Segala is a small town which has a restaurant, and an épicerie and a boat rental place run by Rive de France, which why we were there. Because of the strike we got there by bus to Castelnaudary and then a cab back to the town.  Even though they had said they were ready the day before, they weren’t.  But slowly we progressed through inventory checks, a boat tour, and driving lessons. Then lunch at the restaurant and supplies at the épicerie and finally we were off.  We cast off, did a U-turn through the tree branches and headed back for Castelnaudary. We were beginning a ten day trip on the Canal du Midi.  We would hang out in Castelnaudary for a day or two waiting for Linda and Sage Walcott to fly in and bus/train their way to us.


It was a good thing that we picked up the boat rather than Linda & Sage because “Didi’” the mechanic who checked us in, spoke absolutely no English. Thank God for my French with its slowly expanding vocabulary, for instance “amarrer” is to moor a boat and un “balei” (pronounced just like ballet) is a broom...for the decks, for instance.

Day one was intense with Stephen at the helm and Dawn on the bow and stern lines for going through the écluses (the locks). Although my friend Susan had just been in southern France and said they were having an awful drought, we encountered an intense, soaking downpour just as we were going through a series of locks with two other boats, one occupied by two French couples, about our age, and the other manned by a swarm of young German men. The Germans kept hopping on and off of our boat to “help” with the lines, since it is really easier to have one person at the bow line and one at the stern. Their “help” became progressively questionable the more beer they drank. By the time the storm ended and my jeans were hugging me drippingly, they had all stripped down to their little bikini underwear.  Ah, the Europeans!

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Le Segala