Wednesday, August 12, 2015

En vacances

Am back!  We now have new fibre broadband that is 37 times faster so I can upload photos to my blog in seconds rather than days! The modern world has finally arrived at the bungalow.

Holiday snaps from June - Brittany.

Hotels stayed in - 6.
Galettes eaten - at least 4.
Picnics at view points - lots.
Mosquito bites - 5.
Miles driven - 831.

As soon as the front wheels of our Land Rover hit the ramp on the overnight Portsmouth - St Malo ferry - we are on holiday.   We like to watch the sun set and then head for the bar - tres bon.

On the ferry

It's so nice to do the boring travelling bit whilst you are asleep and then arrive for breakfast in St Malo - fresh as a daisy (ish).

Favourite place for breakfast - Cafe L'Ouest

 I need coffee.

First stop - Menez Bre.  

We drove across several fields trying to find it! Thankfully we found a shady spot for our picnic behind this chapel as the heat was stifling.  We munched on tomatoes, crisps, baguette, cheese and apple that we'd bought in the supermarket and admired the amazing 360 degree views.  

17th Century chapel

Menez-Bre (Holy Mountain)

We then headed off for the pink granite coast that is so like Cornwall.  I love the tiny inlets and the interesting shapes in the rocks.

Pointe du Primel

We were very grateful of the cool in this church.

St Thegonnec

We can never get over the lack of traffic and the space in France.  We bang on about it all week!  The Monts d'Arree region is vast (148,000 acres), sparsely populated and I love this area of Brittany.  It has huge areas of heath, peat bogs, and granite. Apparently the area is rich in legends and sorcery.  I would love to visit in the autumn when it is shrouded in mist.  It reminds me of Dartmoor and I could spend a whole week on holiday in just this one place.

On a walk somewhere between Sizun and Commana in the Monts d'Arree region - everything is BIG in France!

Then on to Morlaix.

I managed to have a long conversation with a shopkeeper (I wanted to know if they sold stamps) completely in French with no signing, pointing or going 'errr'! Very chuffed.  It gets easier and we remember more each time we come to France.   Took far too many pictures of the viaduct and had a lovely raspberry Belgian beer at 'Le Tayler'.  Practised our French on a very chatty 19 year old waiter who served us at 'Creperie L'Ermine' whilst he practised his English on us.  I am feeling less than chic at this point though, not helped by the humidity and gnats.


Viaduct built in 1861 to carry the Paris-Brest railway

All the towns are so neat and tidy with beautiful flower displays.


We watched the fishermen at Pointe-de-Penn al-Lann.

Very strange to find pine trees right up to the coastline.  To smell pine and sea all in one - a treat for the nostrils.

Pointe-de-Penn al-Lann

St Barbe - Roscoff

Roscoff - once the site of naval battles, raids and smuggling with the British (unruly lot)

We had an interesting visit to Landeda.  It was the only time that my fellow Bungalow girl/driver had a lapse in concentration when she dropped me off outside the hotel on the LEFT hand side of the road and then pulled away round the corner in to the path of an oncoming car! Mind you, the French do some interesting manoeuvres on the road too.  We witnessed one mad Frenchmen slowly reversing a caravan on to a roundabout!  

That evening we stopped at a restaurant and Sarah asked the waiter what 'Hache' was on the menu. Lots of head scratching ensued and then the waiter asked the whole restaurant, including customers, if they knew the English translation.   Lots of mumbling and then the waiter's wife was fetched from the kitchen.  She emerged holding a frozen packet of burgers and pointing at the picture.  All this took place whilst the cook balanced an empty bottle of beer on her head.  Nobody batted an eyelid.

Landeda - studying the menu

Evening stroll

View from our hotel window
More strange occurrences.  

We parked up in Locronan to visit the village (got heat rash now) and I was just admiring a camper van in the car park when I realised I knew the woman in it!  What are the chances of bumping in to a fellow singer from Poole in France who is en-route, travelling with her husband to Austria (lucky devils)?

Fellow 2nd Alto Liz & hubby - en France.  Fancy!


We loved our hotel in Douarnenez, especially the outdoor pool.  I even managed to get my lily white English body in for a swim.  

View of the pool from our room

Dining room - very decadent

Our hotel - Douarnenez

Cap Sizun nature reserve

C'est moi - love my hat

Pointe du Van

17th Century chapel

Had a walk and a paddle at Bay de Trepasses (Bay of the Dead).  Beautiful beach with caves. According to legend, the bodies of those who had died at sea would be washed up on the beach in strong currents, hence the name.  Luckily we didn't see any corpses that day.  The sea is so cold! Very windy so good for surfers.  

Atlantic bit chilly dear?

Bay de Trepasses

Then Quimper on the way to St Malo so that I can eat my favourite Pork tenderloin with salt caramel sauce at 'Le Finistere'.  I'm ruled by my stomach.

Talking of stomachs.  Sarah had a very unfortunate experience in St Malo involving a seagull (won't talk about that though) and a galette with the local delicacy 'Andouille Sausage'.  When her meal arrived it looked like a pile of grey, rubbery worms.  It smelt like something had died!  Needless to say she pushed it to the edge of the plate.  We later found out that it was pigs' small intestines!  

Back full circle to St Malo

I don't know why I love St Malo so much.  It must the combination of beautiful beach, city walls, cobble streets with nice shops, masses of restaurants....  In August 1944, at the end of World War II, 80 per cent of the city was destroyed but it has been rebuilt in keeping with its historic character.  I wish they had done this in the UK!  Could Southampton have looked like St Malo?  Nice thought. Lots of people sit on the city walls and watch the sun go down with a bottle of wine.  Classy.

View from the city walls

Sun worshipper

People watching in St Malo

We spent the day on the beach in St Malo with picnic (of course) and books trying not to think of the journey home.  

Cheers m'dear!  You never see French people with a flask!

Quick stop at Arromanches - on the way to the ferry at Caen

Back home to drive off the ferry the next morning and immediately sit in a traffic jam on the M27. 

Je suis triste.......

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