Last meal: Homemade ham and mushroom omelette, with macadamia icecream for dessert
Drink of choice: GinFizz (yes, it’s what it sounds like)
Favourite quote: “Maybe I shouldn’t have had Bailey’s with my cereal…” -Justin
Song in my head:
(This should also get a special mention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdUtV9FCGoQ&feature=related)
I’m real sorry for my lack of posting recently. Jus doesn’t approve of this activity, and we’ve been between interwebs a bit, so it’s been difficult. I’ll try to catch y’all up now:
Arrived in Rennes with hopes of awesome accommodation but had to settle for a hotel that was, in retrospect, incredible. In retrospect only. It was nautical themed, right down to the matchbox-sized shower in the bizarrely positioned bathroom in the room decorated with seahorses and boat steering wheels (what are they called?), and its rather odd smell.
The next day we got out of there quick-smart and headed on to our awesome wish-we-had-been-able-to-stay-here-the-previous-night hotel, which was right across from the station, and the staff were really lovely and the room was great! Happily, we headed over to a local restaurant where we got free rosé/cider to accompany our meal because we had to wait for a table. Good day thus far.
The day became EVEN better with our decision to make a day trip in the afternoon to Dinan. I’d been recommended this place by my friend Jess (thanks, by the way) which I’m really glad I took because the place turned out to be one of the main highlights of the trip thus far! It’s this fortified town on the river dfkmgflkfdjlksdf and it has cramazing panoramic views over the surrounding countryside (much fun was had on the battlements, pretending to arrow down pedestrians below. Old school).
It was lovely to explore the little cobbled alleys, with the wooden houses overhanging, and walk through the medieval gates complete with drawbridges and oil traps. Of course there was an amazing church (forgotten now whether it was a basilica? There was another but it had teenagers macking outside, so I doubt that was anything special) which had pride of place with a garden overlooking the river valley and township below. A beautiful place, and I am recommending it to you all!
On Saturday, we caught the first bus to the long awaited Mont Saint Michel! As the bus approached, the Mont was shrouded by mist and it looked all mysterious and whatnot. Very cool. It is actually as cool as people say, and I know I’m an uber tourist, but it was awesome so shut up. We walked around for a while, then climbed up to the abbey for an explore (via all the battlements – it’s pretty well fortified/protected all the way up, with a ridiculous number of arrow slits. Cue previous day’s immature shootings. Views were sweeeet, highlights of the abbey itself was the ginorme wheel used to bring up supplies (there were WAY too many pigeons up there for my liking), and the fireplaces in the kitchens and dining areas. Pretty. Also there were heaps of sparrows everywhere, which was nice and symbolic (ooooh year 10 english!) until we saw one poop on a table.
The next day we left Rennes for Angers, bypassing our original plan of going to Nantes. We figured we wanted as much time as possible in authentic Loire, so Nantes could be overlooked. I’ll brush over these Loire days mainly due to a lot of waiting-around-to-hire-a-car that seemed to happen and its ensuing disappointment.
Not to dwell though! Angers was rather nice – the old town was a pleasant walk from our place, and we happened to stumble upon some Christmas markets which were very cute and very busy, especially considering the pouring rain. Angers also had an authentic castle (our first real one! A portcullis and everything!) so we had a little geez. Didn’t realise it also had a famous Armaggedon tapestry inside. Bonus!
Then onto Tours, toted as the home of the Purest French Accent. Again no luck on the car front, however we DID see the basilica of St. Martin, and walk along the banks of the Loire until our legs were sore with cold, and stand in the shade of McDonalds while a freak hail storm engulfed passersby!
Ended up staying one night in a country town about half an hour out of Tours, in a converted mill! It was so beautiful and the owners were so nice – picked us up from the station, cooked us dinner (complete with wine accompaniment), and the next day drove us to Chenonceau via a local cave with water in it, and a hunting castle. Incidentally (well not actually, thank goodness), she let me/Oribia have a practise drive in her car! Such faith. It was scary and she put a stop to it fairly quickly.
Chenonceau is SO COOL, but everyone forgets the gardens – they are JUST AS COOL! There was a maze. It was amazing. I made that pun on the day too, except I’m so clever, I didn’t even realise. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I especially liked the fact that none of the famous people who lived there had the same room as anyone else, so it was all decked out in their stuff only. The reading rooms were also very impressive.
That afternoon we were off to Bordeaux (~2.5 hour TGV [the ultra-fast one] ride). Arrived and couldn’t even navigate the station, let alone the city. Ended up staying in a cheap hotel for that night, but the next day, we explored a little with our packs on, and came across this delightful square with internet!
We also found a café nearby where we have bought breakfast every day since!! It had six condiments and a basket of bread with every meal. Also we noted our top 5 breakfasts of the trip, as follows:
- First breakfast ever in France: warm buttery croissants and a heavenly apple turnover dealie, from the amazing bakery in the 10th.
- THIS PLACE IN BORDEAUX (seriously, their muesli was even served with cheese! And one of the condiments tasted like melted MilkyBar)
- Brunch with Françoise and her awesome fam (she would butter her bread then dip in into tea – what a champion!)
- That ridiculously fat and mindblowing chocolate crêpe in Rouen.
- Breakfast at the millhouse (she had homemade jams!)
This is now what we talk about. Après ça, we went to our new digs in the Saint Martin quarter of Bordeaux, where we had a little apartment to ourselves where we could wash our clothes and cook our own meals! That was exciting… It was a pretty cool area: dog poo everywhere, every second shop a grocer, and Saint Martin’s Basilica literally around the corner!
Bordeaux was really lovely, but we essentially milled around until the 21st, when we decided to get off our arses and head to Lascaux II, the cave grottoes to the east. Since the car place had no cars, we caught a 1.5 hour train to the nearest large town, Périgueux. Bit of a disappointment, however, when we realised that there was absolutely no public transport to Lascaux, ~40km away. Quote for a taxi: €80 each direction. So we hung out in rainy Périgueux for around 4 hours. I think I can now say that I have examined every piece of clothing in Monoprix (yes it’s a supermarket AND a clothes store – could it get any better?!)
Got up at 5 the next morning to head to Venezia…
Also, Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël! Buon Natale! Lovelovelove xoxo