Quiet lanes. Busier before Colombiers. Then the Canal du Midi which was traffic free. A lot of traffic in Beziers for a very short stretch.
The 07:22 train was running and Neil already had his ticket. It just needed to be composted in the little yellow machine at the platform entry. The train reached Narbonne just after 8am and it was only just daylight. The GPS backlight was still necessary. The cold wind was still blowing but away from the sea, there was more shelter so it was not quite so penetrating. Later in the day, the wind dropped and it was tee shirt weather.
Google Earth and Garmin SatNav came up trumps again today. These have to be Neil's most used and favourite software items. It was possible to locate little country lanes and the trouble spots like crossing the River L'Aude. Most important, the busy roads could be avoided. This walk between two quite sizeable towns could have been quite nasty. Using typical road maps, all the little lanes would be missed. The French IGN Carte de Promenade maps might have worked but these are not a patch on Google Earth. Neil has the IGN maps as a backup in case the SatNav fails or the USA turns off the signal because war breaks out. This walk follows the CR1 cycle route until diverting to the railway station in Beziers.
So the walk was pleasant. The terrain was very flat with drains like Lincolnshire (UK). The roads had minimal traffic and this was all agricultural. For some reason tractors and vans full of farm dogs are not nearly as objectionable as traffic roaring along a main road. Later in the walk there was a hill. This was the first since Leucate and made a nice change. At Colombiers, the walk joined the Canal du Midi. This went all the way to the centre of Beziers with the tow path on the left. The roads from the canal to the station were particularly horrible but only for a few hundred metres. The contrast with the placid tow path lined with plane trees was striking. Near Beziers, there was a impressive flight of locks, perhaps eight, and with a huge drop per lock. The Bingly Five Rise in Yorkshire (UK) is impressive but not a patch on this.
Today, hunger overcame tiredness and cold and Neil found the local supermarket. After 31.3 killermetres, Neil's feet were a bit sore but cooked chicken breast and tomatoes made a nice supper. It's hard to find bread with any bread in it in France. For lunch, Neil ate a whole dry baguette bought in Nissan-Lez-Enserune and could have eaten another. Pan Entier (wholemeal) is becoming the holy grail of this walk. Sore feet seem to recover overnight. This must be a throwback to our hunter, gatherer days.