Trip dist: 92 kms. Trip time: 6 hrs, 39 min. Tot dist: 2659 kms.
Ah, lucky for me, there was still a section of Canal between Bèziers and Agde (short ride, only 2 hours or so), so I made sure I spent a bit more time enjoying it before heading for the auto roads (how, you ask? Why, among other things by stopping by the little town's fruit markets and then finding a nice place among the trees to sit down and eat cherries as the barges passed slowly by, for instance!). There were a few more cyclists today than yesterday (groups of school-age kids on field trips, for instance), perhaps because it was Friday, or because as it happens this section of the Canal apart from the dirt bank road also has a paved cyclist road a little further outside but still flanking the canal (so now you start seeing some road/sport cyclists as well). Since the paved road is farther from the water, I found not much use for it, except right after stopping by a bakery suggested to me by a nice British lady I chatted with (at first, quite comically, in French, which was particularly amusing because as it turns out neither of us spoke it all too well!), for then, on a paved road without needing to use both hands to control the bike as it goes over rocks and tree roots, your hands are free for snacking on some chocolate croissants and sipping fruit juice as you pedal. This British lady, by the way, apart from having excellent taste in bakeries and other great trip recommendations, has been navigating the Canals of France with ther husband on a sailboat for 2 years now! Can you imagine?
Anyway, arrived into beautiful Montpellier where the social life clusters around the Place de la Comedie, and where I found that the gentlemen here are pleasantly audacious and gallant: one of them, after kindly taking my picture for me, said: "Tu es belle comme un coeur", and not twenty minutes later another gentleman gave me an orange Gerbera (I am wearing an orange T-shirt today) "To put in your hair." These ministrations were not limited to men around my age, another one, mid-fifties, this time, gave me a rather very highly effusive "Bon soir, mademoiselle" as he was walking down the street in the opposite direction.
And, you know, after years and years of corporate, puerile game-playing Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area, where 30-year old boys go home after work to hypnotize themselves at "Warcraft" or "Unreal" on their Nintendos, and the dates are interminably, eternally, never beyond first dates, and your male friends are always simpy just your "male friends", and the compliments from interested gentlemen that come only when something is expected in return, and then, only addressed not to the girl that is smartest, or friendliest, or most charming, or even prettiest in the room, but to the one who is wearing the least amount of clothing, then, it feels good, you know, because every woman is beautiful, to be reminded sometimes.