Monday, 21 September 2009

Flavour of Brittany

Back from my hols and already suffering from patisserie withdrawal. We managed to call in somewhere and pick up cakes most days. This is one of the fruit tarts although my favourite was the dense custardy thing that was the flan (pronounced flon) which I proceeded to eat for the rest of the holiday in all its guises, whether plain, with fruit or covered with coconut.
When we disembarked from the boat at St Malo the first thing we did was head for Mont St Michel. It was very early in the morning ( a black coffee and pain au chocolate to wake me up). I had been told this that was the best time to go, otherwise it is too busy. Spectacularly set against the flat shining sand and visible from a long way off it did not disappoint inside, or with the views from the top.

Later in the holiday we also visited monuments of a far older time. Dolmen and other constructions are so mysterious; as are the people who built them, all those thousands of years ago. They must have been so like us but we can never know their minds or beliefs and can just stand and wonder. This is one of the Les Alignments du Moulin near St Just near Rennes, I managed to get the windmill in the picture, and as an added unintentional bonus a white van. The boards near the structures were very informative but alas the ones describing the birds, insects and plants were a bit sad as large areas of the undergrowth were just a blackened mass where fire had destroyed the gorse, as you can see in this picture.
However it was only a small area compared to the surroundings. This is the picture taken from the plateau showing the dense forest and lake at the start, or finish of the walk to the structures depending on whether you had walked from the village or like us had actually started with a walk through the wood and by the l'Etang du Val, which is the lake you can see here. A pleasant place to sit while the dragonfly buzzed along the top of the water and occasionally hovered in front of us.
The coastal walks are fabulous. This is a view of one of the beaches in between Fort La Latte and Cap Frehel. The tops of the cliffs were covered with yellow gorse and purple heather which which was a spectacular contrast of colours (a little of it is in the foreground of this image). Spoilt for choice for lovely fine sandy beaches along this and coast the Cote d'emeraude which is further east.
St Briac sur Mer

Although you may need a boat to get onto some of them.

We walked by many little lakes. This is the popular Etang de Boulet where people were picnicking, sailing and walking. Unusually the wooded area around the lake had nobody looking for mushrooms. In most other woods we encountered many people with long sticks as they searched out the delicacy in the undergrowth.
Water was a continual theme of the holiday, but all of it on the ground and not coming down from the sky (apart from one day). There are some pleasant walks by the pretty Ille et Rance canal, with its many lochs and loch keeper's houses.

The buildings of the area are very interesting. Here is Dinan with a Creperie on the left. Yes you can have pancakes in all shapes, sizes, flavours although we did not indulge here. Well RB spent most of the time eating Moules Mariniere so had no time for pancakes. The Italian ice cream shop called Le Pole Nord here sold some of the best ice cream I have ever had.
And lastly no holiday would be complete without some art. We called in at St Richardais to the house were Manoli had his studio. In the year he died the garden and surrounding spaces were turned into exhibitions spaces for his art. He is described as "an alchemist of materials and forms". There are mobiles of acrobats, mechanical kinetic works as well as static sculptures of many forms and types. Fused metal, reclaimed items or smelted granite. There is something for everyone here in the lovely setting of home and garden which seems to fuse all his ideas together. The tall white figure in the photo is his self portrait.

I had a wonderful time in this area of France. I hope these images give some of the flavour. There is no doubt that some of my other photos from this holiday will turn up at some time on the ABC Wednesday meme. Now I wonder what letter they are up to at the moment...

No comments: