Day 3 - Toulouse to Castelsarrasin: Out into the countryside with some raindrops! - Limoux to Bordeaux Canal Cruise - Tandem Tour - Sept 2016 - CycleBlaze

September 8, 2016

Day 3 - Toulouse to Castelsarrasin: Out into the countryside with some raindrops!

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We were up early again due to the heat. Ate breakfast in the hotel and hit the road, unfortunately during the morning rush hour. But the bike infrastructure in Toulouse is incredible and we were able to navigate successfully out of town on the Canal du Garonne with only a few squeaks of protest from the rear of the bike.

As we left town, the canal bike path treated us to much less beautiful views than yesterday. Lots of factories and train yards. A few homeless folks camping along the trail, and a sleeping dog in the middle of the bike path. We let it lie and it watched us go by with minimal interest.

Further out of town things got better, but in general the path was less shaded than yesterday.

Quiet morning on the way out of Toulouse
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We hit some minor raindrops, which to one of us was somewhat refreshing. The other of us, however, requested a stop. We applied the "next bridge" rule and took shelter under a bridge just as the raindrops stopped.

We've heard people complain that riding along the canals is boring, but we didn't find it boring at all. There always seems to be something to look at. One thing we loved were the old lock houses. We assume these used to house the people who operated the locks. Now that all the locks are automated, these houses seem to have devolved into one of 3 things: Vacant (not many), Private Homes (most), or Cafes for passing boats and bikes (the best use in our opinion).

Each house has a sign on the front of it giving distances to the next lock in each direction.

A sample lock house
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Another thing to look at are the occasional spots where the canal crosses a river or stream and the designer of the canal decided to put the canal onto a bridge.

Canal crossing a creek below
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And of course, there are always ducks to look at.

We stopped for a coffee in Grisolles, and had a massive French lunch in Montech at the Hotel le Notre Dame. In both cases, this involved a .5km detour to the left of the canal.

Coffee stop in Grisolles
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As we left Montech, we encountered this monster.

The "Pente d'Eau" in Montech
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The "Pente d'Eau" or "Water Slope". You can look it up on Wikipedia for details. It looked like it didn't get a lot of use, despite the promising write-up from the local tourist bureau.

Despite the rain, it was still very hot. We were delighted to get to our hotel.

A welcome site - the Hotel Marceillac in Castelsarrasin
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The Hotel Marceillac in Castelsarrasin is bicycle-friendly and tandem-friendly. They handle quite a few cyclists and have a designated "bike closet" where we stored the tandem. There were 10 other cyclists staying at the hotel the night we were there.

This hotel is also very people-friendly! It's a lovely little hotel with lovely people running it!

The hotel has been family-owned for 3 generations and is in great shape. The inside is beautiful, and our room was roomy and spacious. It also included a fan! Hallelujah! It's amazing what a small, thoughtful, addition to a room can do. Our first comfortable night of sleep awaited.

We highly recommend this hotel.

Inside the Hotel Marceillac
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After cleaning up, we walked down to the waterfront where a bus had been turned into a buvette. We rehydrated and walked along the waterfront looking at all the beautiful boats. Some were for sale, but we resisted temptation.

There was a really nice-looking restaurant next door to the hotel but it was strangely closed. Hmmm...welcome to France. There was a recommended restaurant up the street, but it looked pretty traditional and we were a bit tired of heavy meals, so we went to "King Taco" to try to find something light. Big mistake. Everything was fried. Oh well...

We did have a great night of sleep, though. Love that fan....

Today's ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Total: 182 km (113 miles)

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