This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Another Awesome Day in Brittany



By now Linda is probably tired of me saying over and over just how much I love our gite along the river, but I can’t help it, it is totally awesome. This is the view we enjoy every morning as we sit out on the deck drinking our coffee and eating breakfast. Some people talk about vacationing in France and living like the French do, for the time we are here we really are living like they do. Beyond awesome!


Just as I said, coffee and breakfast on the deck. That is one very happy woman!


There is always something going on in, on or above the river. This morning it was a regular parade of fish going up and down stream. We have no idea what they are but they swim in small schools and are 18 to 24 inches long. They made for good water watching while we ate breakfast and reviewed our plans for the day.


A twisted multiple trunked olive tree at the edge of our patio. There are a number of plants growing in this small space that are the same as we had at our house in California. And that doesn’t count all the herbs in the herb bed.


Country roads, take us along, to the place we are going, to the place we belong.

I think it has more to do with the places we visit than how Nice Navigator (yes she has again been renamed) is programmed, but we seem to find ourselves mostly driving on the back roads as opposed to the more main roads. Not to far back down this road we were on a narrow one lane section that had earth piled higher than the car on both sides of the road. It was definitely a case of someone was going to have to backup quite a ways is we had met another car on that stretch of road. Note the field of cauliflower off to the left. We passed field after field of it today.


Did I say cauliflower? Why even our first dolmen of the day was out in the middle of a cauliflower field. The little white dot in the center of the photo is where we are heading.


With so many Paleolithic artifacts in the area we can be choosy as to which ones we visit. Linda picked this one because it was constructed with a side opening. There is so much information available about the area that we are discovering we would literally have to spend months here just to see everything within easy day trips of our gite. And that would leave out  much of Brittany. So little time, so much to experience.


I promised a certain person not to post a dozen dolmen photos today, so fast forwarding, noon found us once again out on a point of land with a marina. This town was known for its shellfish as well as its fish. We had hoped to arrive while the water still in the bay, and as you can see, we did good.


We just love these little seaside towns with their peace and quiet and lack of tourists.


Looking out from the mouth of the harbor we could see larger fishing boats moored in deeper water. Somehow pictures just don’t do justice to what we were experiencing.


A small island with a long abandoned building, now overgrown with vegetation. As we sat on a bench looking at it we had to wonder what stories it could tell. It is from scenes like this that authors get their ideas for their novels. I may not be an author, but I had several ideas of my own that could make for a good story. We try not travel to simply say we were there as many do, we travel with the desire to experience. and while we may not always be successful in that regard, it is times like this past week that more than make up for those little failures.


Linda’s view at lunch. Yep, another restaurant overlooking a harbor.


Don’t let the lack of color on the plate fool you, the food was beyond awesome even if we didn’t know for sure what things were when we ordered. Another little town on the coast, another restaurant where no English was spoken and no English menus available. We just went with the fish dish on the midi menu figuring how can we go wrong in a fishing village. And we didn’t. The fish sauce on the plate was so good I thought for a moment Linda was going use use her tongue to lick the plate clean.


The only word we could understand from our waitress when it came time to pick dessert was chocolate. Other than it would contain chocolate we had no idea what it would be. I’ll just say that after we were done neither Linda's nor my plate needed to be washed.


By the time we finish scrapping our plates clean the tide was in the process of going out.


What does an oysterman do when the tide is out?

Sorting oysters


The widows wall. Another town, another story, but this one had already been written and it had caught the attention of the entire country. Further down the coast this cemetery had become famous for the role it played in an ongoing tragedy. Every year from the early 1850’s to the early 1930’s boats set out from this area to sail to Iceland where the cod were. And every year some boats never returned, disappearing sometime during the voyage.


The toll in 1873. These plaques replaced the original ones which are now in the cloister of a nearby church.


What the wall originally looked like. We hope to be back in this area tomorrow and see some of the original memorials. So much to experience, so little time to do it. Brittany beckons us back.


On the way back to our gite Linda wanted to stop at a store to get a few things, especially a new ice cube tray as she had wrenched apart the one in the gite several nights ago while trying to get out some ice cubes for her gin and tonic. I wasn’t quite sure what the electronics department had to do with ice cube trays, but I am sure there was some connection, at least in Linda’s mind. Women, you can’t help but love them.


Just to show that she did eventually wander off to the housewares department.


I remember there was a good story behind this big laugh but I’ll be darned if I can remember what it was. Love the photo though.


Planning tomorrow’s adventures.


I build them, she lights them, we enjoy them. Life simply couldn’t be any better.


Night time in the town they call La Roche Derrien.  While the memories of what we did today blur with the onset of sleep, time moves relentlessly towards tomorrow and more wonderful adventures. May your day have been as awesome as ours.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Day Seeking Dolmen Near the Coast



Getting ready to go off on another day of exploring. Our gite may not look like much from this side but once through that gray lattice door there is nothing but one WOW! after another.


The areas of the coast we have been visiting have been lowlands. Today we had our first glimpse of the coast was from a promontory.


We could see a small island in the distance. Sharp eyed Linda said she could see something on it, but exactly what we couldn’t tell.


Birds, just birds.


Not much of a sign and not so easy to find a place to park, but it didn’t matter, we were off to see our first dolmen.


A very excited Linda.


So, exactly what is a dolmen? It is a prehistoric burial chamber.


Large upturned flat stones form the sides, and even larger flat stones placed atop them form the roof. The size is such that by bending down, we could easily walk through them. I like to think of it as Linda being in “dead guy” heaven. As long as we were near one a huge smile never left her face, something about menhir being awesome but dolmen being beyond awesome.


Across the field we could see what looked like a large rock, and as we neared it Linda, the family archeologist, paleontologist, and finder of “dead guys’, pointed out it was another dolmen.



This one had actually served more than one purpose.


At some point in time it had been modified, becoming the house someone had lived in. Now I have to wonder if Linda will be searching for a dolmen gite to rent the next time we are in Brittany, and you can be most assured that we will be back again. One only has to be here a short time to fall in love with the area.


Then it was back to the shore, which actually isn’t hard since it seems to be a short distance away from wherever one is.


While I was busy taking photos of the interesting plants clinging to the rocks Linda was busy trying to remove all the shells that littered the beach.


As I was to quickly learn, Linda had standards when it came to which shells she wanted and I just wasn’t capable of identifying them. Okay I thought, I’ll show her, if she didn’t want any help I wouldn’t give any help. Later she came up me and thanked me for leaving her alone. So much for me showing her. Rejected Bob.


Looking at this photo I still have no clue as to what her beachcombing standards are. Maybe it’s A LOT, ALOT? (A Little Of This, A Little Of That) Baffled Bob.


No sooner had we pulled out on the road from the beach parking lot than I had to pull off the road so she could look at another dolmen. This one was in bad shape as the area behind it had been partially eroded by the waves in the distant past so the back half had collapsed and was covered by vegetation.


You thought that would be the end of the dolmen photos? You don’t know Linda. The key is in what makes this one different. Look at the size of the two stones forming the roof of this one. To some people a dolmen is just some stones. To Linda a dolmen is…., well I don’t know what it is to her exactly, but I do know excitement when I see it and does she ever get excited when she sees a dolmen. Think of it this way, I do the dolmen driving, she does the dolmen drooling.


The small upright stones surrounding this dolmen were intriguing. we had to wonder what their purpose was. Could this have been a very important person? As Linda would say, what tales could this “dead guy” tell if he could tell tales.


Another day, another harbor. This constant eating at the waterfront is getting almost boring. Almost, but not quite. The area we are in is simply awesome, no other way to describe it.


At least they found the plug for this harbor so the water hasn’t drained out. Actually we were a little earlier eating today and low tide is a little later with each passing day. Out of the photo to the right some of the boats were already resting on the bottom.


Linda letting me know what she thought of my ability to read French. I had pointed out what I thought was rose wine, which we ordered. Unfortunately it turned out to actually be the local beer. This was the before she tasted it photo. After the first teensy weensy sip, she took a larger one, then smiled and said, not bad at all. I had to agree. Sometimes we just luck out and this was one of those times. Relieved Bob.


Recall the incident of the, would not open, washer lid? Well once it was open and she was removing our clean clothes, out came a blue sweater. A nice blue sweater that was just her size. The only thing she could think of was that the previous renters had inadvertently left it in the washer. Linda, being a person not to look a gift horse in the mouth, dutifully hung it up to dry, then decided to try it on. Fast forward and she wore it today. As we were waiting on our food she happened to notice a problem with it. She had put it on inside out.


How she got back at me for ordering beer instead of wine. Egg yolk, I hate looking at egg yolks. As far as the pizzas we both had were concerned, they were perfect with a hard crust just the way we like them. Nothing like looking at what other people are eating before you order to help select the right dish. French, we don’t need to speak French, we’ve got Bob, which is why Linda has learned to always bring along her menu decoder. Bob, a great German guide, a complete idiot in France.


This area reminds us so much of Monterey.


I’ve already written far too much today and have skipped so many dolmen we saw, but I can’t leave without this. Linda has been dutifully washing our dishes in the dishwasher exactly as the lady, who spoke very little English, told us to. She was very explicit that we were not to remove the wrapper from the cube of dishwasher detergent, and both Linda and I agreed that was what she said.

So when I went to remove the dishes from the dishwasher this evening I was very surprised to see the little cube of detergent still in its plastic wrapper. Then looking in the bottom the dishwasher I saw the plastic wrapped one from the previous load.

Everything on the box was in French, but Google Translate is our friend. Translating the translation, we learned we needed to remove the cube from its wrapper before placing it in the dishwasher. The joys of traveling in countries other than our own are never ending. Bob and Linda, having more fun with each passing day. Life is indeed awesome!!!