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2008 Log
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Brittany. Click to enlarge.
Brittany & N Biscay..

France at last. Biscay is behind us!

We are now in Brittany France and looking forwards to a more relaxed time.
Biscay was a real phsycological barrier and a good one to have conquered.

Concarneau (2nd June, 320 miles from Spain)

The weather when we arrived was really cold but the forecast was for warmer weather, we therefore decided on the marina's weekly offer, buy 5 nights and get 2 free. We'd been her in 2005 but then only stayed a few days.

The marina is beneath the walls of the massive, Vauban designed, Ville Close (citadel). Walking the walls is a must for all visitors but walking the streets is disappointing as its largely given over to products aimed at the tourist. For an official view visit Concarneau's web site and you'll see that it has everything needed by the holiday maker and visiting yotty.

Brittany. Click to enlarge.
Cycling along the GR34
20m above the beach.

One day we set off South on the GR34 and had a splendid walk. Naturally its pretty flat but surprisingly varied. The tourist board, or whoever, have routed it mostly along the coast but often through villages and wooded sections. Our pedometers showed some 18 Km upon our return, naturally we could have walked for a further 3 days before completing the 50 Km walk. Another day we walked North for a few Km until we came across another GR but one very much in the woods. Another day maybe!

On that day we decided that although the forest would most likely be a real challenge, the Bromptons would be up to it if the riders were. So, ignoring the first few "No Cycling" signs, we headed into the woods. We covered about 20 Km, of which 90% was ridable, before we reached La Floret for our picnic lunch at the marina; yeah, a real busman's holiday outing. You might have noticed we often take a picnic lunch but rest assured, Janet is in no way calorifically abstemious as she makes it. The return route was slower, full bellys maybe, so gave us more chance to take in the elevated views of the many bays we passed.

Brittany. Click to enlarge.
Janet checks the mooring
at Sauzon, Belle Ile.
Sauzon on Belle Ile (10th June, 47 miles from Concarneau)

Keith and Jo had set of NW a couple of days earlier and were now snug in Cameret. It was quite lonely without them as we set off in the opposite direction, SW, towards the island of Belle Isle, good news though, it was warm and sunny.

We sailed 90% of the distance, as is the norm and took a bouy in Sauzon. What a lovely place but oh so rolly. Mid morning Barry rowed ashore to the bakers, soon after we left for the sanctuary of La Palais as we expected the wind to soon blow straight into the anchorage.


Brittany. Click to enlarge.
Marina-Port La Palais, Belle Ile.
La Palais (12th June, 6 miles from Sauzon)

La Palais is the island's capital and the ferry terminal, moorings are fore and aft between bouys. We tied up alongside Safran a Calisto 385. Nick and Rumi were in no hurry, simply waiting for a good wind to head NW towards UK. On our first day we walked around the city and fortifications, yes you've guessed, they were by Vauban and a collosal undertaking by all concerned. Most impressive.

Writing this, one week after we departed Belle Ile, I recall it as a very relaxing island; this sits badly with the fact that one day we cycled 55 Km around the northern parts of the island, and on 2 other days we walked 15 - 20 Km each day, hardly relaxing.

A few tips regarding La Palais:
  • Super market and brico-marche are a 15 mins walk N out of the town, (5 mins on a Brompton) and downhill on the return.
  • Don't climb the walls by the moorings, row 50m across the harbour to the slip in the centre of town.
  • Each morning when the ferries fire up there engines from cold they deposit thousands of dirty black spots on everything. Whenever you plan to sit down first check for horrid black spots. Also remove shoes before going below. Naturally this whole issue is wind direction dependant.
  • No WiFi in the harbour but a couple of cafes in town offer it.
  • The coastal path (in June) was so overgrown to be virtually impassable. See picture in the gallery.
  • The chains you'll tie to are wickedly rough. A 12mm Marlow braidline just about abraded through (80% gone) during one night. The chains are better above the MHWS level.


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