21 Mar 2007

.... and a walk along the Canal

Another Tuesday, another walk. This time starting out from the small village of Mirepeisset, about 8 kilometres from Bize. Walked for a while along the River Cesse - which is the river that runs through Bize-Minervois – and then along the banks of the Canal du Midi. We got to the junction of where the canal branches, with one branch heading south and becoming the Canal de la Robinne which ends beyond Narbonne. The Canal du Midi continues east and ends up in the Thau Basin near Sete.
Asparagus season has only just started here, but it’s still relatively expensive – but the wild asparagus is out. I’ve never seen it before – very thin. But on both walks I’ve been on, the walkers have been collecting it on the side of the paths. Apparently it tastes the same, but it’s free! It won’t be long before there are road-side stalls in lots of villages, selling nothing but asparagus, and of course the markets will be full of it.
The weather these last few days has turned very cold – we’re getting the tail end of the dreadful weather the UK has had over the last week. In fact, yesterday I went with June to a village about half an hour north of here, and there were snow flurries. There is certainly snow on the Black Mountains and the Pyrenees. June took me to a wine producer who sold direct to the public (and most of them do) to stock up on bulk 5 litre containers of wine – 11 euros for the red. She says she likes it because they don’t use many chemicals. So I have 5 litres of red which I must get into bottles before too long. It seems everyone around here has their favourite place for buying bulk, so I’ll just have to try a few. Shouldn’t be too difficult.
And here are a few pictures from yesterday. Lots of boats are tied up near the junction. The canal won’t be open for a few more weeks yet - if at all - because of the lack of rain in the area during the winter. And that is snow that can be seen on the Black Mountains in the background.

A section of the canal that becomes a ‘bridge’ to cross the River Cesse.
An old well on the pathway, near Mirepeisset.

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