Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Apologies for a week without posts - I've been away. France to be precise, with the blonde for a week of wine, cidre, cheese and french bread - oh, and a few bike rides as well.

We spent a night in a Travel Lodge close to Folkestone before taking the chunnel across to Calais and then driving to Morlaix - that's in the Finistere department of France - Brittany to you and me. With around 400 miles of driving to get to our destination it might have been better to get a ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff - but the blonde likes driving - she's not a good passenger, can't sleep or read on a journey (unlike me) - and so was happy to take full responsibility for driving duties!

Soon after we emerge from the tunnel we start the time honoured litany of English folk on the continent - "The French are so much more stylish, more cultured" - We join in, eating croissants with jam and excellent coffee and resolve to kick out the schoolboy Franglais once and for all - "I'm going to learn French properly" I say. "How great would it be to go into a restaurant and confidently order something and be sure of knowing what you're going to get"

Our stay on a farm about 7 Km from Morlaix gives us just the base we need. It's quiet, rural and our accommodation is all we need. Outside is a field with three donkeys who quickly learn that positioning themselves near to our window and braying loudly will result in a reward of a handful of carrots.

The Church at Garlan
My first ride is a short one to the nearest village - Garlan. The lane is narrow and winding, there are overhanging trees, deep verges and a scattering of stone cottages along the route. After only a few hundred yards - (sorry , that should be metres) - A dog dashes out into the road from one of the cottages - quickly followed by another, smaller model. Both are barking aggressively and heading for me - it's a steep uphill section and I don't have the speed to outrun them - thankfully they don't attack me but persist in running alongside, barking and snarling. As I pass over the top of the hill I manage to lose them on the descent and from there its an easy ride into the vilage. It's quiet, spotlessly clean, a small bar (closed) a boulangerie (closed) a church (probably closed) and a scattering of houses. No sign of life at all - where is everyone I wonder? I ride around the village in a wide circular route and rejoin the road back to the farm. The little dog is still mooching around the verges, his larger accomplice is nowhere to be seen however, and the small dog lets me pass without any sign of attack.

Morlaix with the viaduct
Later we wander into Morlaix to buy provisions - The town has winding streets of cobbled stones with overhanging houses constructed of stone and timber. It is dominated by the towering 19th century viaduct that spans the valley - an impressive sight. We walk around the pretty streets - once again we are surprised at the cleanliness - there is no litter at all? We find a 'Cave' and spend some time browsing the wine selection, we buy a bottle and a bottle of local Cidre along with some Breton butter and a large wedge of Comte. Further on we find a pattiserie that is open, a couple of Meuile Feuilles and a rustic looking loaf and we're sorted for the evening! We find a street cafe and settle in the sunshine for a coffee to watch the world go by. We're on holiday and I feel relaxed already.

Streets in Morlaix

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