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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: West Vancouver B.C.
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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor
We rented a boat on the Canal du Midi in southern France - an amazing experience. The boat looked like a regular flying bridge power cruiser that had been left in the sun too long and melted so it was lower than expected. Also you had to really duck down under the bridges. The boats are governed to go no more than 6 mph so the pace is very leisurely.
The canal opened in 1680 so it is not a brute force/straightline thing. It follows the contours of the land, to the right around one hill and the left around the next. In some sections there are 300 year old plane trees making an arch over the entire canal. They planted something like 1.5 million of them to stabliize the banks. You can either stop at a town dock (free) or pull over anywhere and drive a couple of metal stakes into the crowd to tie to. Much of the area we passed through was vineyards (Occitan) and in some places they leave a wine barrel next to the canal with bottles on it. You stop, take what you want and leave the money. A wonderfully civilized place. Hope to go back.
Your comments about cruising the French canals reminded me of an old friend of my dad's who had what I still consider the best death of anyone I ever heard of. This was about 20 years ago.
George & his wife planned a trip with another couple my dad & I knew well. George was a very fussy OCD type - he worked as an instrumentation tech if that gives you any idea. The trip was to pick up a boat in Holland and take it across France on the canal network from the Channel to the Med. George took on the planning of the whole thing for the group and was in his glory - huge amounts of fussy detail to be worked out and organized. He spent all his spare time for 6 months working out the perfect trip of a lifetime. He & Betty didn't have a lot of money and hadn't travelled a lot.You can imagine how the anticipation built for him during this time.
Finally, they were off to Holland, George barely needed the plane he was so pumped with anticipation. They got to Holland and were walking down the dock to the chartered boat when he dropped dead in his tracks.
Sounds terrible (and it was) especially for the 3 others who obviously had to deal with the tragedy, cancel the trip etc. BUT, think about it from his perspective - he had months of all the OCD fun of dreaming about and planning the trip just the way he wanted it, he was at the absolute peak of anticipation when the lights just went out. No unmet expectations or any of the little problems and letdowns that inevitably happen on a trip like that - the old saying "anticipation is always better than realization" is very true. He got ALL good and none of the bad and was at the absolute top of the mountain when everything stopped for him.
I hope I go in some sort of similar way and don't end up too old to really enjoy myself and just sort of dribbling out of life like so many of us do.
I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.