In Sète: Day two - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

November 4, 2022

In Sète: Day two

This is ridiculous.  For five or six days straight I’ve started the day finding myself two days behind on the journal, vowing to catch up but not pulling it off.  I’m tired of trying to think back to what happened just two days back and seeing a blur.  This is why I eventually quit keeping a written journal decades ago - I’d get behind, couldn’t catch up, and eventually gave up.  Perhaps today will be the day, but we’ll see.

So, about today: it’s very windy - a steady 20 mph all day, enough to keep Rachael off the saddle.   She left early to go out on a 12 mile hike hoping to beat the showers, but came back after just four miles after walking out to the lighthouse and back because the showers came in early.  

The Saint-Louis lighthouse stands tall at the end of the long Saint Louis Jetty. The jetty was the first structure built in town when Sète was founded in 1666.
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Keith AdamsSomehow the red light cupola makes the thing look to me like a tall, skinny, vastly-oversized water bottle.
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3 weeks ago
Looking back on the city from the Saint-Louis Jetty.
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This place.
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Looking west from the base of the jetty.
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Perfect rainbow!
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The showers left, and so did we.  Rachael went off on the other eight miles of her original plan, walking east along the Rhone-Sete canal determined to find some flamingos.  She found some.

I went west and into the wind, on a loop of the Étang du Thau.  It blew in my face for the first fifteen miles, the sky ahead steadily darkening.  I was more or less on a race to reach the far end of the lake before the rains did.  I made it, barely; and after rounding the bend I left the clouds it in my wake as I biked east and downwind toward home.

Is there anything else that needs to be said about the day?  Oh yes - we discovered that we don’t actually care for Sète that much.  Our memories have played tricks on us, making it much more attractive in our memories than in actuality.  Thinking back, we didn’t actually do anything in Sète that first time other than to hide out from an awesome thunderstorm and pack for the flight home.  We didn’t discover that the core of the city is pretty strangled by traffic and difficult to bike or even walk in.  Fine once you get a few miles out of town, but it’s not really our place.  I doubt we’ll be back.

Oh, and one more thing.  It really is great to have the zoom camera back.  Thanks again, Susan!

On the Saint-Louis Jetty, out to see the lighthouse before circling the lake. Terrible surface to bike on, so I’ll just get far enough to get a bit of a view of the lighthouse.
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Close enough. Fortunately Rachael walked all the way to the end earlier this morning for an uncluttered shot.
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Looking back, I see there’s a second lighthouse up on the flank of the mountain. Looks quite modern. Interesting that the two are so close together. I should read up the background on that someday, maybe over the winter.
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Looking west along the coast. It’s rocky and rugged here in town where Mont Saint-Clair comes to the sea but beyond that it’s totally flat for the next fifteen miles.
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Looking back toward Mont Saint-Clair from about three miles off. It will steadily recede in the distance as I bike past fifteen miles of sand dunes anong the Isthmus of Onglous, the filament of land between the sea and lagoon.
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Velo-porno du jour.
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Looking down the Isthmus of Onglous.
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On the beach. From the many parking lots and access points along the way I imagine it gets quite crowded in the summer.
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Someone’s collection. The beach is densely littered with broken cockle shells.
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The view southwest. I’m surprised by the distance and orientation here, after looking at the map. Tunis is out there, but across 550 miles of open water. In between is the tip of Sardinia.
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I wonder what this is.
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Keith AdamsLooks to me like a fortified watch tower, perhaps to ensure that roving Tunisians and Sardinians didn't become uninvited and unwelcome guests?
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3 weeks ago
At the west end of Étang du Thau, looking back toward Sète. I’ve made it! The sky looks fine, in this direction.
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But not in this one. I really have just made it in time. It’s lightly sprinkling, and for the previous mile I’d wondered if I’d be stopping short and backtracking.
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Very ugly cloud, flying across the sky.
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The ride on the north side is much different, much more varied and interesting. Bird life, fishing villages, interesting riding surfaces. And a tail wind! There’s so much to stop for though that even with the wind I travel as slowly on this side as on the other.
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We’ve seen tons of photos of windows, walls and beckoning roads. We can afford a few photos of flamingos, so just brace yourself for it in the next few days.
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Face-off.
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The Onglous lighthouse (constructed in 1902). marks the end of the Canal du Midi where it enters the Étang du Thau. In the distance, Mont Saint-Clair.
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East of Marseillan, at the entrance to one of the fishing villages.
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A series of long, rickety piers extend into the water. On most of them a pair of iron rails runs from the end of the pier to a shack on the shore.
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East of Marseillan.
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East of Marseillan.
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Leaving the waterfront, the bike trail moves inland over a succession of interesting riding surfaces.
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The most appealing was this raised boardwalk crossing a marsh.
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A cabane - another class of subject worth many shots.
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Definitely the least appealing surface. It took a few miles for the mud to work its way off the tires.
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Ride stats today: 35 miles, 1,000’; for the tour: 1,505 miles, 88,900’

Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 1,504 miles (2,420 km)

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Suzanne GibsonDon't give up! But I know you won't. Your consistent posting over the years is more than amazing. I can't even get my act together for the four days of our last tour (but I will eventually).
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3 weeks ago
Kathleen ClassenFlamingos. Post all the pictures you like. I am ready!
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonNah! Not at this point. We head home in three and a half weeks, so I’ll get a break soon enough.
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3 weeks ago