When my French ‘son’ ( a beloved former exchange student) and his fiancee sent an
The journey was arduous. Ten hours on a packed and cramped flight, a shoe-sized rental car to the equivalent of a motel six for the first evening. As is usually the case when traveling abroad on a shoestring, food is rare. The arrival time is generally in direct conflict with any stores or restaurants being open. At least after the airport exit dance and following the GPS to a place whose route includes one track winding roads with numerous round abouts/traffic circles–all in the dark.
This particular hotel reminded me of an RV–the bathroom raised above the bedroom in a corner with a nautical window hatch, a shower you have to exit to change your mind, and other fixtures matching miniature. But it was clean and warm–just the ticket for jet lag exhaustion.
In the morning, it was off to Bretagne (Brittany) – a chilly marine influenced environment with windswept gentle rises and falls in topography. The roads are good, decorated with a gorgeous array of wildflowers and apple-green tender spring grasses. Three and a half hours and a handful of tolls paid (beware tourists- carry Euros/cash as the French credit card machines will not always work), the roads narrowed further, landscape dotted with white cows and stonework farm houses.
The couple chose a hotel whose balcony faces a natural granite harbor. When the tide is low, beachcombers can walk many hundred yards past boulders that will be submerged as the tide returns. Coin sized crabs scurry along, diving into the wet sand when they feel threatened.
Trivia: Perros-Guirec is where, in Gaston Leroux‘s The Phantom of the Opera, a teenage Vicomte de Chagny retrieves young Christine Daaé’s scarf from the sea. It is also the resting place of her father.
Those a bit more intrepid can climb through narrow passageways and over enormous boulders. Some look as though they balance on a golf tee. The wind has sculpted them into many unusual shapes. Wildflowers nestle in the cracks between rock and sandy earth, red winged moth-like insects bounce through the knee high grass. A well maintained gravel pathway stretches along the coastline for a few kilometers. A lifesaver service house and boat launch ramp, a few sea weathered houses and a church are placed at odd angles so required by the massive boulders.
This peninsular region of France is one of the coolest and wettest, microclimate – can be gray and fifteen Celsius lower than mid and southern regions of France.
The village roads amble through beautiful stonework houses. Creperies are common, serving regional cider. As the Scots revel in the complexities of their scotch, so the Brettons adore their cider. Served cold, the first flavor one tastes is the subtle sweetness, followed by a mild yeast and with a finish of burnt wood. Odd? Not at all. It is amazing and quite delicious, flavor complexities remaining in your sinuses as you enjoy.
I ordered a combination dinner: One “Gallette” (savory crepe), one sweet crepe and a bowl of cider.
And so day two ended with the light fading well after ten and a stroll back to the hotel, snapping photos all the way.
To be continued….