Carol and I had a couple of days in Barcelona before meeting up with Les (Norton) & Norma, Pat (Milwright) & Annmarie and Ray & Christine. We met at Narbonne, France which is on the Canal de la Robine. The rental boat was nearly 50 feet long and comfortably accommodated eight of us. Maximum speed 8kph. Got told off twice for speeding. Had the first day looking around Narbonne and then spent the next day sailing to the Canal du Midi, where we turned right toward Beziers.
The six locks took us all day so it wasn't long before the first drinks came up on top deck. An easy trip to Beziers except the boat had a rudder the size of a postage stamp and over-steering is a common problem. All the boats are equipped with big rubber fending strips around them which soon became obvious when entering and leaving locks and going under quite low and narrow bridges.
You can park anywhere you like in the canals. If there are no bollards to tie to, the boat had a couple of steel pegs to hammer in the ground. We hired push bikes with the boat and they are a great way of getting around the town, getting emergency beer or just peddling ahead of the boat and waiting to get picked up further along the canal. While waiting at a triple lock, Ray and I pedalled the 2 or 3 km to the next town, collected the emergency alcohol and were back in time to go through the lock.
So life on the canals is pretty relaxed.
There are no holding tanks on the boats and all the sewerage goes straight into the Canal so it is best not to fall into the water. The boys witnessed one boat where he stopped using the mooring rope and he looked up just in time to see his missus disappear over the side.
Another time we were in the local restaurant for lunch as a boat was negotiating a bridge, the skipper was wearing a captains hat as well, but I did see the bottle of red three quarters empty and the empty glass. A deafening thud of cracking fibreglass as he T-boned the stone bridge. Funny how you don't look up to see how many people are laughing at you.
So we had to back track a way from Beziers and spent the next 6 days heading for Carcassonne. It is just a delightful trip especially when the company are "old" party animals led by Les Norton. I'm just glad there weren't any night clubs along the Canal.
We stayed the last nights at Trebes and caught the bus to Carcassonne as time was running out now.
So to summarise, it was 14 days on the canals travelling from Narbonne to Trebes and we returned to Narbonne by train in 40 minutes.
Proves you don't have to go far to have a great time.