13: The End of the Trail

The day started with a lovely breakfast at our pension. Once again we had fresh homemade jams which accompanied the flaky croissants, warm mini-raisin snails and whole wheat fig rolls. We left the baguette untouched. It was really a wonderful pension.

As we got on the road shortly after 9, the sky was overcast and there was a bit of wind, but at least for the first 9km we had paved trail and could ride along at a good clip. After km 9 it was more of the same old s?!t from the previous few days – 30cm wide rutted trail with various tree roots lurking in wait. Thank goodness it was only another 10km to Adge.

What we saw of Adge was fairly unspectacular – crowded with tourists of many lands, cafes with bad service and a fairly uninteresting cathedral. Perhaps our experience was colored by our frustrating hotel search.

We thought we’d be clever and go to the tourist info office in Adge and see if they could help us with a hotel in Sète. The young man was helpful in that he gave us a book with all of the hotels in Sète and wished us luck, as today the big annual festival started. So… I called about 15 hotels and got the last room in town. That being taken care of, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the trail.

Now it was time for the very last stage of the Canal du Midi ride. Since there was no directional signage it was a bit of a challenge, but thanks to my Navi we found it and rode over (more) roots and ruts and through a forest of marsh grasses and then 2km along a barrier pier to the lighthouse that marks where the Canal du Midi feeds into the basin that goes out into the Mediterranean. It was a somewhat emotional moment and we both had tears welling up. Many photos were taken.

Following that we had to get back on the road towards Sète, our destination for the next two nights. Now that was an interesting 15km: partly on the road with the cars, partly on a lovely separate bike path, partly on a bike path along the top of the dunes with the waves lapping to our right (Mediterranean waves don’t crash) and the very last 3km through city traffic, trying to dodge pedestrians and avoid cars.

We arrived at the hotel at about 5:30, dusty, sweaty and tired. By the time we got showered and changed and relaxed a bit it was 7:30 and time for dinner.

Because of the annual Festival of St. Louis, the city is a bit crowded (understatement of the century). We found a nice Italian place on the quai a few blocks from our hotel, just out of range of the huge activities and noise but near enough to feel part of the action.

The food was very tasty. I really enjoyed my salad with walnuts and gorgonzola and the braised scallops on a bed of risotto laced with pesto were simply divine. While drinking our digestives (Vera: calvados, me: Pastis) we enjoyed the light show on the house across the quai.

After dinner we walked to the ice cream joint I’d been eyeing all evening and I had a scoop of lemon meringue ice cream. Amazing, tart and lemony, rich, creamy and smooth and in every scoop there was a bit of real meringue. Wow, was that ever good!

Day 13

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