Tue 4 Jun 2013
Still exploring with our friends we headed to the Marais Poitevin which is a large swampy area. It was once all a bay but it silted up over time.
We started out in the town of Coulon and took a boat trip out into the channels on a flat boat guided by Alain.
What we saw as we arrived-a larger canal lined with boats for tourists. The local inhabitants have their own boats to get around. Alain told us many a woman takes her groceries from her car, loads them into a boat and then rows her way home. The boats are rowed on the back while standing up like you see in Venice unless you are in an area with low hanging trees.
We saw groups of brown cows here and there called Marshlanders, as are the locals. They are only grown for meat as it’s too hard to find them to milk in the swamps. They are all rounded up at the end of summer and put on boats and taken to farms so you will see boats loaded with 8 or so cows then. I’d like to see that. Alain told us that they have tried to import other cattle here but they don’t do well in the wet climate.
This little tower on the side of the church is actually an outdoor pulpit where the preacher would give sermons when there was a flood and the church members would arrive in their boats to attend and listen outside. The flooding is controlled now with dikes.