The next morning we headed out to the train station and our trip to Narbonne. Supposedly, we'd be able to get a taxi and head on over to the hotel where we were to be picked up. Well...it was a Sunday and that made it quite difficult to find a taxi. The number didn't go through, the one we thought we snagged got away, so we walked a mile or so to the place - fortunately it was close, by our standards at least. The hotel sat on a small canal, behind a medieval garden with fountains, herbs, medical plants, and a play yard. Popular spot for a sunny afternoon. We enjoyed lunch watching the boats and then walked around the garden and up the canal. Turns out we spent a fair amount of time doing that is vacation.
|Claire de Lune - our floating hotel!|
Joanne whisked in late that afternoon to pick up the six of us to take us out to the barge, the Clare de Lune. She's a whirlwind of action with a great sense of humor and an unbelievable treasure trove of knowledge about the region. We had three couples on our journey; Jerry and Lisa and Alan and Doreen - we were the spring chickens in the group and never ceased to amaze them with our walking and biking daily...even though sometimes it was only a few miles for the day!
The boat we were on is actually an old, completely refurbished barge that used to carry cargo through he canal. It has a large, well-appointed kitchen, a comfortable sitting and dining area and, of course, an outside sitting area to sit back, sip tea (or some adult beverages) and let the world go by. There were three cabins that were very comfortable and certainly put the given space to work!
Dinner. Oh my goodness...French dinners are spectacular. Now most people think of lots of meats and cheeses and wines and indeed those things were included but the vegetarian cuisine was nothing sort of spectacular! Alexandre, the chef, took it upon himself to create gastronomic delights for me! In fact, there were a couple of times when the ladies offered to be vegetarian also to enjoy my dish.
All of the dishes, no matter what they were, were presented as works of art. The salads were artfully swirled across the plate with contrasting colors carefully placed to show off the design. Swirls of oils, crumbled dried flowers, or fresh buds were added. Everyone else loved their food also but I have to say he went all out with my incredible cuisine!