Wednesday 28 August 2013

A ride along the Garone Canal

A ride along the Garone Canal Breakfast was taken on the terrace and we enjoyed the pleasant view across the valley from Le Clos Castel. We had not planned a ride but eventually decided on driving to Damazan and riding along the Canal de Garonne. The minor roads around Casteljaloux would make an excellent bike ride -something we will try on our next visit. From Damazan we cycled along the Garonne in the direction of Agen. The path was of tarmac and some sections of the route were along minor roads that ran alongside the canal. Just before Agen we crossed the second Pont Canal of the day to reach the city. A magnificent structure build in 1849 to cross the Garonne and spanning 539m on 23 arches each with a 20 m span. We rode into the city far enough to locate a boulangerie to get some provisions for lunch and returned to eat it by the canal. After lunch we retraced our steps back to Damazan. We purchased a cake and watched the local men play boules. We returned to Le Clos Castel in time for a swim in the pool. The water temperature was 25 degrees C. It felt colder but was pleasant once you had got in. We capped this off with a dip in the spa pool where the temperature was a lot warmer! We booked an evening meal at the Chambres d’Hote where sat outside with Alain, Veronique their daughter and their daughter’s boyfriend. We started with an aperitif. Lyn had Floc de Gascogne an Armagnac fortified wine. Some of the ladies had a glass of Rose but the men had Alain’s special flavoured rum. The aperitif was served with small freshly cooked sausage rolls and the starter was Alain’s duck liver pate. The livers had been sliced and soaked in wine. He had added some currants to the pate and soaked these in port before cooking and pressing the pate. This was served with a white Duras wine. The main course was confit du canard served with homemade rosti potatoes served with a Duras red wine or rose. There then followed a cheese course of local cheeses and then a desert of ice cream strawberries and homemade Chantilly cream. Veronique then suggested a digestive to finish! Our French and their English improved as the evening progressed. Fortunately it was only a short walk to the room. An excellent meal that we really enjoyed in good company.

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