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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

5th May, 2018

Well, morning dawned upon the French Mediterranean coast and, quite contrary to the weather forecast I discovered when I wandered out onto the bridge-wing that it was raining. Typical, I thought – I had told our passengers yesterday that it would be sunny today!

As we approached the town centre and our berth – which was a narrow squeeze though a cut – the rain stopped and things started looking more promising, as the forecast had actually predicted. Indeed, just as I made my welcome broadcast shortly after 09:00, the sun poked through the clouds and remained happily shining warmly for the remainder of the day.

Sete is known as the ‘Little Venice’ of France, and once ashore it was easy to see why. I popped off in the afternoon for a stroll and some seafood. There were rivers and several canals leading inland, lined with pleasant promenades and fishing boats. Dozens of seafood restaurants and bars sit facing these waters, all advertising fresh tuna, mussels, cuttlefish and all sorts of other delights. I found it an infinitely more pleasant experience than Venice – chiefly due to the fact that there weren’t hundreds of thousands of other tourists there bumping into me, and that one didn’t require a small mortgage to feed oneself.

High up in a nearby hill lies the apparently pre-Roman fortified medieval city of Carcassonne, one of the so-called jewels of the Languedoc (this region). Of course, this was visited by one of our tours for those who wished to sign up, and the feedback from those who did so was very positive indeed. Other trips today headed off to explore Arles and the Roman Necropolis, or a boat trip on the enchanting Canal Du Midi – one of the oldest canals in Europe still in use.

For those who enjoy fortified towns then this must have been the highlight port of the cruise, for there was an opportunity to visit yet another medieval town in the form of Aigues Mortes, an establishment commenced by a tower built a considerably long time ago - in the 8th century AD so it is written.

Well, I had my fill of mussels and fresh tuna, whilst others had their fill of medieval towns, and just after supper time as the sun was setting, it was time to leave Sete. We backed out of that narrow cut again, watched by dozens of city-goers (I don’t think cruise ships are a regular feature in Sete) before pointing seaward into the calm Mediterranean towards the French/Spanish border and our next stop: Rosas Bay.

Captain Kim Tanner

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