The VTT Track, Left

Grape harvesterAny sleep that was had last night was disturbed sleep. Perhaps because there is some heavy rain in the forecast, the farmer whose vineyard is immediately adjacent to our campsite decided to harvest his grapes all night, quite literally. I snagged this shot of the grape harvesting machine this morning as it continued its steady trundle up and down the lines of vines. Throughout the night the sound would recede as the tractor moved away, then build up again as it returned to perform a clattering turn and attack the next row. Francine likened it to the Chinese water torture, anticipating the next disturbance.

Added to this, our legs knew they had embarked upon a cycle ride yesterday. Nonetheless, we decided to investigate the opposite direction along the VTT route and cycle to Mèze.

We mounted our trusty metal steeds and began along the track through the fields once again. This time the supposed Camargue steeds weren’t in the field beside the track; they clearly have a decent area in which to wander.

Meze harbourHanging a left this time, the VTT route to Mèze was considerably less enjoyable than the route to Marseillan. It started well enough on a dirt track, although there was a hill that had us off and walking, but then it joined a minor road which proved to be the majority of the route into town. We did eventually arrive at the delightful Mèze harbour, another one that screams Mediterranean at you.

The brightly coloured red and blue boats in the foreground are interesting in a peculiarly French kind of way, though, as seen here, there is a vital part missing. These are the boats of the Lance Mézoise. Imagine, if you can, an Arthurian knight carrying a lance on horseback at a jousting tournament. Pick up the knight, remove his armour and stick him not on horseback but on a platform at the end of a laddered extension mounted on the stern of these boats. Now organize a marine jousting tournament between boats. It is a bizarre sight, though regrettably we have never been present when an actual event is taking place. There are guys strung along the laddered extension presumably for stability or to act as a counter balance. Marseillan also indulges in this sport (Lance Marseillanaise) as does Sète on the opposite side of the étang (Lance Sétoise).

[Aside: I’m intrigued why the accent apparently changes from Mèze to Mézoise as it does with Sète and Sétoise.]

We wandered around the attractive harbour before treating ourselves to helpings of moules et frîtes for lunch at a harbourside restaurant before tackling the long and winding road back to the more pleasant countryside part of the VTT back to the campsite. Since neither of us was driving, we could both share the workload on despatching a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet, which is a must with mussels. We really should have had a bottle each.

That made the road home route a little more acceptable.

Posted in 2022-09 France

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