took full advantage of the holiday weekend, french style, by taking public transit to a beach resort. quiberon to be exact (the name reminds me of tiburon, the hyundai car).
anyway, before leaving, we took mom to the rennes market. delicious treats everywhere! because she is a goat cheese fanatic, we spent more time than usual in the bread/yogurt/cheese/honey/goodies hall than normal. we found the homemade yogurt, etc man and purchased a small tub of caramel rice pudding (yeah it was as delicious as it sounds!).
got back to the apartment and loaded up for the train. the train was packed with people heading to the south coast of brittany. we shared a seat with a little boy named matisse (and his young mother) who was busy eating a croque monsieur throughout the entire train ride (1.5 hours). after the train stopped in auray we caught a crowded bus down to the peninsula point of quiberon (150 km south of rennes).
the bus drove along the coast, through the town of carnac (famous for it megaliths that are older than stonehenge. probably 1000 years before actually), past some nice beaches, and then out to the pencil thin point of quiberon. amazing that such a sunny, beachy resort town is so close to rennes. it feels worlds away.
after exiting the bus north of quiberons city centre, we walked to our hotel. what a great place! its called the hôtel men er vro (it means something in breton) and our three-person room was white, light, airy, and fresh. tons of space in the sleeping quarters and the bathroom! a place to spread out and relax in in europe, no way!
when we ventured out of our hotel we were in short sleeves and capris (totally new wardrobe combination for me!), the sun was out and things were hot! good for a resort town, bad for me. i HATE heat. a bonus part of quiberon is that the eastern coast (the part exposed to the direct current of the atlantic) has some beautiful scenery. we headed in the direction of this "savage coast" as its called to revel in its magnificence...
cut to us 1.5 hours later, me grumpy and drenched in sweat, us having forfeited the route to the savage coast (took a wrong turn at first and were stuck in the peninsulas suburban hell...identical white houses lining blacktop roads that were hellaciously hot...). we bailed for the beach, "where the fuck is the water? i just wanna see some fucking water?," and not a moment too soon, i was feeling claustrophobic on this tiny ass peninsula with nothing but rooftops and pavement in sight. turn one corner...and, ah....the beach. first time ive said that in my life...
we had a smoothie and walked along the beach. a nice, long, white, sandy beach and i got an eyeful of elderly men in speedos. thanks europe! then took the road back to the city centre (and past a putt putt course...they have putt putt in france?). once at the hotel we recuperated and studied up on where to go to dinner...mapping it out precisely this time.
we walked to dinner at la chaumine, which, as it happens, is a stones throw from the elusive savage coast. we ate out on their terrace a tasty seafood meal. for starters, dave had some delicious fish soup (im priming my belly for fish stews and chowders in halifax). then we had fish for dinner. i tried their house specialty: sole au jus de girolles, which is an entire fish in a ginger, mushroom, butter sauce. i worked that fish with the skill of a surgeon, didnt puncture any organs and basically got all the meat off. the dish was tasty, but im not sure it was worth the price tag (23€). for dessert we shared chocolate mousse (definitely not the best) and their weird house specialty: a kind of toasted cream with berries (not bad).
(my sole...bones; mom and dave after dinner)
during dinner, we were treated to the adorable mr chippie. one of the diners brought her dog and while she went out to smoke, he followed and sat there looking cute. we were all remarking that nearly every french dog has impeccable manners. they are quiet, well-behaved, they travel well and they are treated like a member of the family. there was also a delightful little wire-haired dog on the bus from auray to quiberon. he quietly laid on the bus floor...making cute eyes at us. the population seems very patient and tolerant of the animals and the owners seem to have some magical secret to their dog training...maybe just love, trust, and teaching both their children and animals the same lesson...how to be "propre" (except for the pooping business).
after dinner, we walked into the wild-flowered breezy meadow leading up to the coast. what a serene and beautiful place (there is actually a new york times article about the area). the plant life swirling around the ancient rocks and megaliths was dreamy and when we got the coastline it didnt disappoint. the rocks were rugged with lichen and jutted out into the sea. i felt like i could sit on a rock and mediate to the sound of the ocean (if i knew how to sit still). to add to the beauty, the water was glittering with the setting sun.
(walking down a path toward the coast. a gypsy van is in the distance; mom and me on the rocks; still on the rocks; some savage rocks in the water)
we walked past the chateau on the tiny piece of land that effectively ends the savage coast and blends into the port/harbor which connects to the beach. then we ended up going back through the city centre to curl up in our our beds. it was a nice walk to take after dinner. lovely quiberon...but i still hate your suburbs.