Castelsarrasin – by road to Luzech – les Fosses
0 Locks 7 km
But, pedal to the metal, we make it just in time to change to the train towards Bordeaux. 8.20 sees us in Marmande, which gives us 50 minutes to wait for the bus to Melihan. We search for a café, for coffee and hot chocolate with the obligatory pain au chocolate. Back at the gare / gare de routiere there is no bus showing, but another one in half an hour. The lad discovers a (real!) pinball machine in the café du gare. So we have got something sensible to do while we wait. When eventually the bus turns up, it turns out he will be only going half way. The driver who goes all the way has called in sick. So a taxi is called and after some more pinball we are on the way to Melihan, where we arrive 25€ later.
We are immediately greeted by Sue. Their plan to go down to Bordeaux came to nothing, so they were still hanging around. We have a quick cuppa, say good bye to everybody and of we go. What a friendly place, we really have to come back.
We join the motorway, and what took us four days by boat is covered in a mere 90 minutes by a car. Back at Castelsarrasin the boat is quickly loaded onto the trailer. We are really good at this, but also the slip way is very well layed out.
It is only 60 km to Luzech as the crow flies. But to get there we have the cross the Quercy Blanc. This is a lime stone upland of great beauty. Almost devoid of people and civilisation. The limestone washed out by numerous streams and rivers. Although its only about 300m above sea-level we have to dive in and out what feels like dozens of valleys on single track roads.
At Saint-Daunès we find not only enough space to park up the rig, but also the little restaurant L’École. A gem of a watering hole, despite of not having much competition to fear. Even if the tiny village is the centre of population for many miles around. Any other infrastructure included in the next picture.
Finally we make it to Luzech and subsequently to the Canalous hire boat base a kilometre upriver from Luzech. It spots a rather daunting and steep slip way and a secure parking space. They are very friendly, 20€ changed owner and we can use the slipway and park up car and trailer for a week.
With the boat set up we drive to town to stock up with essentials for the next week, while we have the luxury of a car. For the last week I have tried to book us a ticket for the Grotte du Pech Merle, a cave with 17.000 year old paintings. But either there website has been down or only supported the Mandarin version, so I failed. But the friendly lady in the Luzech tourist office books us in for next Sunday.
With the temperatures well in the high thirties again, we can’t wait to get off and do some swimming. The water is great, cool and clean.
Soon we pass the Chateu de Caix, the private vineyard of the Danish royalty.
And so, after a long day, we have a quiet night all by ourselves.