Brittany: a different way to plan

Sep 17th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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Brittany: a different way to plan

Tomorrow we drive to the ferry and set sail for Brittany, where we will spend a week. Organising holidays is my job in our household, and tonight Herself asked me what the programme is. Nothing in particular, I said, we'll just play it by ear -- but I did check what market day in Morlaix is (Saturday, the day we arrive).

She's fine with that. And I expect that we will enjoy ourselves as much as those who plan what they will do each morning, afternoon, and evening, whose accommodation has been booked and unbooked and rebooked several times, who have lists of restaurants and of must-sees and things they must buy and things they have to eat. Hell, we might not visit the Mont St Michel or St Malo or Dinan (then again, we might).

Who, on holidays, needs the pressure of keeping to a programme? Not us, anyway.

Au revoir!
Padraig is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 03:05 PM
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I think I would like you, Man! My wife would probably do you great personal injury, but I admire you.

nukesafe is online now  
Sep 19th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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Morlaix. We toured the market on a wet day and bought nothing. Booked into a hotel near the river port. The very chatty and helpful receptionist told us about the heritage weekend that is on right now, including a lot of free stuff. So we visited an ancient house, an interesting church, an exhibition on the history of "syndicats" in Morlaix, and saw a display of Breton music and dance (made all the more charming because some of the dancers were clearly novices). And we enjoyed some cafe life. We are leaning towards spending another night in Morlaix.

If our itinerary had said press on to Quimper in the afternoon, we would have missed a lot of fun.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 01:52 PM
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Sounds exactly like my kind of holiday. Have a wonderful trip!
hetismij is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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hi padraig

we were in Brittanty this time last year.

if you have time, do take in the muesum of culture in quimper - outstanding hats! [I mean those lace bonnets that varied from village to village]. also the art gallery was good. and all free. but I agree that there's a lot to do in Morlaix too. the ?"casserole" restaurant down in the centre seemed very good to us.

carry on having a good time,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 08:55 AM
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A small setback yesterday evening: the more attractive restaurants were all "complet". We ended up in a North African place, and had couscous (me) and tajine (Herself). Okay, plenty of food, not a budget-breaker, but our ambitions had been set on seafood.

As there was plenty more to see as part of the "journees du patrimoine" we decided to stay another night in Morlaix. Today we got three monasteries, one convent, one historic "exposition", some Breton villages, a walk in the country, and some cafe breaks. Footsore, we are having a little break before heading out for dinner in a good restaurant booked for us by our ever-friendly receptionist (Sunday night, choices can be more restricted). La Marmite was not a candidate, Anne, because it is closed tonight, so we won't be able to compare notes.

In one respect, Morlaix can be quite challenging. It is very hilly, and there are venelles everywhere. These are steep passages of steps and slopes up and down the hilly terrain (there seem to be more going up than coming down). Herself is currently fitter than I am, and wanted to climb every venelle she saw, because they all look interesting. After a certain point, she recognised that I was becoming anchored to base level and while she looked longingly at further flights of stairs, including one I know to be the biggest climb of them all, she resigned Herself to her fate.

We move on tomorrow (I think) but have not yet decided where to go. WIFI is not an important consideration in choice of hotel, so I don't know if there will be further field reports.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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Wow, for an "unplanned" trip, you're packing in a lot! Sounds wonderful!

Hope you and your wife thoroughly enjoy the rest of your holiday!
CAPH52 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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I am enjoying your report. You're doing my kind of travel--have an idea of things to see but let chance take you where you may. I have stumbled upon some interesting festivals and such by chance.
irishface is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 10:17 AM
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The more I travel, the less I plan (except when going someplace totally new to me). I love the sense of anticipation of what might be around the next corner, and the pleasure of stumbling across something new and different.

Enjoy the rest of the trip.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 20th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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in our travels around Brittany last year we came across the wonderfully named town of Brasparts.

I've never stayed there but the name lingers.
annhig is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Attentive readers will know that I am cheating just a bit: I visit Brittany a lot. I know Brasparts. It gives access to a mountain-top church that is referred to locally as the Mont St. Michel de Brasparts. Not nearly as spectacular as that in Normandy.

Dinner tonight was excellent, at a Restaurant called l'Estaminet -- lots of seafood, prepared in interesting ways, nice wine, comfortable room, friendly and efficient service, but one unusual detail: they had run out of cheese; there was a big run on it last night. The server was genuinely (and amusingly) embarrassed.

It struck me that Herself and I are generally willing to pay more for dinner than for a hotel room. Basic comfort and cleanliness are all we want in our accommodation, but we like a nice meal.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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PS: Sorry for misspelling your name, Ann. Blame the wine.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 12:50 PM
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>>>It struck me that Herself and I are generally willing to pay more for dinner than for a hotel room.<<<

That's typical for the French. Often, you get excellent food in 3-star-hotels with small rooms and dated furniture. Usually you pay twice as much for dinner than for accomodation. It's a matter of priorities.

(I am just back from Lake Como: it was just the other way round - excellent hotels but terrible overpriced food - probably due to the large number of Americans vacationing there.)
traveller1959 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 10:33 PM
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traveler1959, I agree. Some small hotels are really restaurants with bedrooms -- the proprietor is a chef and spends most of his time in the kitchen, while his wife or business associate runs the front of house and accommodation end of the business.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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As it happened, we didn't get good wifi cover during the rest of our trip, and I was not sufficiently motivated to do anything about it (there was a danger that if we got online Herself might get into communication with her office).

We continued in the vein in which we had started -- unplanned and unstructured, but taking it very easy. The weather was mostly good, and we enjoyed scenic touring, including a lot of coastal stuff; we traversed the Monts d'Arées a couple of times (including passing through Brasparts, but without stopping, as it's not particularly interesting); overnights included Morgat on the Crozon peninsula and Chateaulin (it seemed like too much effort to go as far as Quimper); much seafood got eaten; various villages got inspected, and cafés visited; a couple of churches got in on the act; parts of the Canal de Nantes à Brest were walked; Herself made a thing of walking out on every pier she could get to; our planned visit to Tréguier was thwarted by a leisurely lunch at Guingamp, time spent at Pontrieux, and a long visit to the Chateau de la Roche Jagu; we spent a couple of days visiting friends which, while very enjoyable, is outside the ambit of "normal" tourism, and it is not of particular interest to you to know that they are all in good form.

The usual shopping on the final morning (lots of wine, of course) and home by ferry. As in the essays I wrote when I was aged about 10, I got home tired but happy.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Padraig, lovely report. I've never been to Morlaix, but I could dine out on the stories that friends of mine have told me about eating in the Reine Anne (and not in a good way). Was that the Cork ferry?
sheila is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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Thanks, Sheila.

La Reine Anne was one of those restaurants that was full on Saturday night, so obviously some people like it. Its general appearance suggested to me that it might be okay, but it didn't seem to have that extra appeal that can make a meal out into an occasion (then, neither did the place in which we ended up that night).

It wasn't the Cork ferry. For us, living north of Dublin, it's a bit easier to get to Rosslare in the south-east corner of Ireland. Normally, I cross to Cherbourg, but this time we got sailings to and from Roscoff on dates that suited us.

We spent all our time in Finistère except for half a day in Côtes d'Armor, and our total mileage in a week was about 500 miles. Who needs to travel long distances to find interesting places? Very often there are very good things close at hand, and a ramble around a small town or a village can throw up a couple of gems.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Thanks for sharing.
JudyC is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 11:06 PM
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I love that part of Brittany, but don't get nowadays because of the lure of the south west
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