And just like that we are in France! It is many days since Alicante and it is cloudy and a little cooler. I promise not to talk abut the heat again… unless it is absolutely necessary.
Here’s the catch up: We left Alicante and drove for the whole of last Saturday until we reached the border town of La Jonquera, north of Barcelona. 671km. Not exactly the way we planned to travel but it was grand. We found a little restaurant up the mountains near a village called Cantallops and had a lovely meal to spend the night in their car park. It’s not recommended to park overnight on the border so this was a better choice. Sorry no pictures, we were not firing on all cylinders at that point.
Denis had steak with blue cheese sauce. Cannot think of anything worse but he loved it. And I had a duck and mushroom stew from Granny’s menu (I think it means like Granny would make if she was a good cook) with bread for dipping – absolutely delicious. We also had desert, coffee ice cream for me – yum and Irish coffee for Denis (is that desert?) which he said tasted exactly like the best Irish coffee he’s ever had.
Next day we drove to Béziers in France. For years I have wanting to visit something that I had seen in photos but didn’t know its location. It turns out it’s here…
We stayed in a motorhome parking site and there was a map of the town and the things to see and one of the things to see was the Pont Canal de LOrb, the Orb river canal bridge. Not a name that describes the spectacle of the Pont Canal de l’Orb. Every canal or river has a bridge but this one is a bridge with a canal in it – the Canal du Midi goes over the river on a bridge – like magic! It was opened along time ago in 1858.
Before the boats can go over the bridge they have to be raised up to the level of the bridge and that happens in the locks. Again, that’s normal with a canal but they have a special lock here too. Called the Fonseranes Locks, they are like a staircase for boats. More magic. You’ll have to google the Fonseranes Locks to see picture because not knowing about it before this I didn’t walk to the other side of the bridge, sorry. Anyways I was so taken by the bridge I forgot to wonder how the boats get up on it. On our side there was just one big deep lock.
The Fonseranes Locks are like a staircase for boats. If you can imagine a narrow three step staircase with deep steps, very deep, the length of a canal barge deep. And high, the height of the hull of a canal boat. The boat enters the Fonseranes Locks at the ground level. The ropes are tied and the gates are closed behind. The gates in front open and the water starts filling – the boat rises… to the height of the first step. The boat then moves forward until it is above the second step and the second gate is closed. The gate in front opens, the water pours in and the boat rises above the third step and moves forward again. The gates close, the gates in front open and the water pours in again, the boat rises. Now it’s at the level of the water on the bridge that will take it over the river.
That’s pretty magical, right?
Ps I didn’t know until I was researching this to write to you that it’s called an aqueduct in English and there’s one carrying the Royal Canal over the M50 motorway in Dublin and another carrying it over the River Inny in Co. Longford and another in Co. Kildare? Are there more?