Atlantic to Mediterranean: le Canal des Deux Mers.

Le canal des Deux Mers is a waterway connecting the Garonne with the Mediterranean sea, creating a connection between the two seas. The two main parts of this connection are the Canal de Garonne and the Canal du Midi.

The first one connects Castets-en-Dorthe, close to Bordeaux, with Toulouse and the Second one goes from Toulouse towards the Mediterranean Sea.

From Bordeaux I went to La Réole, a small charming village close to the the beginning of the canal.

Once I reached the canal it was time to switch to ‘kayak mode’ again: trailer on the kayak, bicycle on top, luggage in front of the boat and myself in the middle.

Fun, relaxing, and very slow. One problem: you can’t use the locks with a kayak. And there are a lot of locks along the Canal. So I switched back to ‘bicycle mode’.

I passed a place called Agen. In Agen, the Canal de Garonne passed the river Garonne, using an impressive ‘pont-canal’ or canal bridge. Basically an aqua duct.

A further down the river, around Moissac, the canal crossed the river a second time, at the Pont-canal du Cacor.

The road continued towards the amazingly beautiful city of Toulouse.

From Toulouse the canal changed into the Canal du Midi. I cycled to a place called Castelnaudary. Not too far from Toulouse, because I wanted to be sure to see the match between Belgium and Japan. I found a camping and a screen to see my country win.

Until Castelnaudary the locks were taking the boats to a higher point. Castelnaudary was the highest point. From here on the level from the water went down again.

From here on the road got worse. The department I was in, Aude, isn’t the most cycling friendly one from France. The quality of the trail wasn’t always that good.

As a result, some wood turned into my chain an broke my derailleur. I couldn’t cycle on until I found a repair shop. Perfect reason to go kayaking again!

I kayaked until the last lock before Carcassonne, I found a place to pitch my tent and the next morning I just had to walk 6 more K before the next bicycle repair shop. I got the bike fixed and I went to visit Carcassonne, the old walled city. Unfortunately this is what I saw:

They painted a part of the city walls yellow for a kind of art project. From a certain angle you see some circles, from everywhere else you just see ugly yellow spots. If you want to see the city in all its glory, come back after September.

I didn’t finish the canal till the end. I went towards Narbonne, before going to Le Barcares, where I met up with my parents. To get there, I followed the Canal de la Robine. For a part, this canal runs in between the sea and a lake. The feeling to be cycling in the middle of the water is amazing.

The last part of the leg I also got the company from my father. He cycled the last part together with me.

I just spent a weekend here with my parents, we saw our Belgian national football team beat Brazil and I had a last ride with the kayak for now. I’m sending it back to Belgium now.

Tomorrow I’m crossing the Spanish border!

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