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Published: October 23rd 2010
Monday 18th October 2010
Windy but never 110 kph and bright and sunny ! With the fuel situation deteriorating we set off to fill up and found diesel at a large supermarket at Istres where we also stocked up on groceries.
We decided conserve fuel and head further along the coast towards Spain rather than divert inland to Arles, Nimes and Avignon. So we set off on what turned out to be a fabulous drive across the Camargue east to west. The Rhone reaches the sea here and rather than the expected bridge we found that a short ferry crossing was how it is done. 5Euros and on you go, the wind and current conspired to push the ferry downstream from the off and a course upstream was the solution we were glad to disembark on the opposite bank.
It was fortunate that we had not tried this journey the following day as no ferry would be running due to the Greves ( strikes ) planned across France - yet again to protest against the proposed pension reforms. We saw the famous white horses of the camargue and black bulls too as this is bullfighting country. There was very little
on the roads and the wind only gently buffeted the van as were made our way across the flat agricultural terrain. We stopped to buy wine from a local producer rose and muscat ( a sweet dessert wine ) and a bag of mixed red and white camargue rice. At Montpellier we followed the coast to Agde and our camp for the next few days.
Tuesday 19th October 2010
Suprisingly the local buses were running on this major strike day so we hopped on one right outside the campsite ( please note uk bus companies ) to Le Cap d’Agde. This is a modern marina resort and very quiet out of season. We admired the boats and holiday homes and walked back along the beach in the sunshine to our campsite. On the way we saw Le Fort De Brescou built in 1586 on an island offshore.
Wednesday 20th October 2010
A visit to Agde today - a town founded by the Greeks in the 5th century BC and called at that time Agathe - good or favourable. Built on the banks of the river Herault close to the sea.
We wandered through the historic centre.
Its maze of narrow streets are bordered by houses crafted in black volcanic rock. The major building here is the St Etienne cathedral a Romanesque fortified church dating back to the 12th century. At the highest point of the old town is the rue and place de la Glaciere which get their name from the storage silo built in 1680 used to store ice collected in winter and used to cool drinks and sick, feverish inhabitants in warmer times.
The Canal du Midi passes north of the old town and is where a remarkable feat of engineering brings together three different water levels. The Agde round lock was built in 1676 using volcanic rock. It links three waterways, enables boats to turn around and take any of the three exits. We watched whilst several boats entered the lock and then subsequently exited stage left - the boys having had a lesson in lock management.
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