Day #14 on the Canal du Midi. Jumping ship!

LOCATION:  Aix-en-Provence, France
WEATHER:  Sunny.  High 80

We had a nice quiet night last night on the Canal du Midi.   This is a photo of the sunrise – with our bikes (mostly unused) on the foreward deck.

We cruised to the boat harbor where the boat needs to be returned to tomorrow.  The other 3 couples will stay on the boat the rest of today and tonight, then leave tomorrow.  George and I have a long trip (about 7 hours) to our AirB&B outside of Nice, so we thought we would leave today instead of tomorrow to split up the train trip.

On our way to the harbor, we passed a luxury barge boat.  You can rent a room, including food and wine) for a week for a mere $5000 per person.  I took this photo as we were passing by a huge amusement park.

We said “Au revoir” to our friends, and caught a taxi into Beziers.

The taxi driver was super nice.  She said that the summer has been unusually hot here, getting to 45C (120F) for a few weeks.  She said she drove some of the canal boat travellers who cut their trips short due to the heat.

Originally, we thought we would stay overnight in Marseilles, but there is not much to do there, and the area around the train station is a bit dicey, we learned.  It was dicey when I was last here, about 50 years ago, too!.  Here is my Marseille story…

I spent my junior year in college in Spain.  My good friend and I hitchhiked all around Europe whenever we had a school break.  Our cardinal rule was never to hitch in the dark.  However, we were in the country in  southern France; it got dark; and we needed to find the youth hostel in Marseille.  Two guys picked us up.  We soon realized that they were drunk losers.  As we neared Marseille, they started talking about how we would party and do who-knows-what in Marseilles, with an evil grin.  We smilled and agreed.  Then, the guy pulled out an axe and said something like….”And if you don’t party with us, this is what wiill happen”.  Yiikes!  We whispered to each other that at the 3rd stop light, we would both just jump out of the backseat of the car and run.  We did….and survived.

With that in mind,  we looked at the map and decided to go to Aix-en-Provence. 

We caught the 2:15 train, transferred in Marseilles, and arrived in Aix-en-Provence at 5:20.  Train tickets were $38 each, for about a 3-hour trip.

People give the French a bad rep.  All we have encountered on this trip is super friendliness.  When we walk on the canal tow paths, we say and hear “Bon jour” countless times, all with a smile.  Today, our train ticket would not let us through the turnstile.  A helpful young lady gave me her pass to get us through.  Then, on the train, we were double-checking that we were on the right one when another girl offered to look at our tickets to make sure we were ok.  So kind!

We walked to our hotel.  Aix-en-Provence is a university town and there were a lot of young people out.  Hopefully tomorrow we can see more of the old town before leaving.

George did some research and found a brewpub.  Of course!  It was only a 15-minute walk from our hotel.  Super nice atmosphere.

DINNER:  I had wine and George tried one of their black sours and an IPA.  We shared a pate’ en croutte (pate’ in a puff pastry crust), and called that dinner. 

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