First Week in Brittany

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May 3rd 2019
Published: May 4th 2019
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Sunday 28th April

Arrived at the home of my host family. Their house was built around 1750, and they have nicely restored it. As you will see in the photo, it looks very French.

Monday 29th April

This morning I went bicycle-riding downstream along the river as far as the next lock at Malon, and return (4km each way). There is a cycle path all along the river, this having previously been the haulage path for horses dragging barges along the river. It is very quiet and pleasant beside the river – their is a beautiful caravan park just adjacent to Guipry, beside the river. In the afternoon I took a walk across the bridge into Messac, and explored the town on foot, as far as the town church, which has a tall spire. There was a funeral underway, and as I walked back to Guipry-Messac, I could hear the bells tolling.

Tuesday 30th April

Today my plan was to post home the posting tube which I brought from Australia, which now contains the painting I bought in Paris. My hosts loaned me the car to go to the Post Office in Messac, which was closed, so I headed to the one in Guipry, which was closed too! After lunch I went back to the Messac Post Office. Apparently, it is not possible to post a tube to Australia, because the Post Office insists that the customs and address forms must be flat on a package and may not be wrapped around, like on a tube. Why? No idea. It's French bureaucracy! So it is not possible to post the painting home and I will have to carry it.

I then headed off on the bicycle to explore Guipry a bit. There is an excellent cycle path through the town, which used to be a railway line, so it is smooth and fairly level. Guipry has a large sports complex, with playing fields, courts and a swimming pool.

Wednesday 1st May

Today was a public holiday for Labour Day, and a small group of us headed off on bicycles along the river to a picnic at l'étang de Baron, a scenic spot about 6km from Guipry. There were a number of families there, some having come on horseback or by donkey. The weather was good and there was plenty of food being shared with everyone. I enjoyed the local speciality, which is the galette saucisse, a sausage rolled up in a buckwheat pancake. Gluten-free and delicious, except that the French mustard is too strong for my taste. Plenty of salads and other food to try as well. It was a very convivial gathering and we stayed for several hours.

Thursday 2nd May

Today I headed off upstream on the bicycle to the village of St Senoux, about 13 km away. Riding beside the river in this direction is even prettier than downstream, with beautiful overhanging trees, farms and houses beside the path. Being a weekday, there were few other people about. The lock at Macaire and the nearby houses were especially picturesque.

St Senoux is a picture postcard village of stone houses, with a very beautiful church which has an unusual bell tower steeple. The church has been restored, and the interior is as interesting as the exterior, with several medieval statues as well as more modern statues and paintings. Across the road there was a large group of walkers getting ready to head off – there are several walking trails and loops around the area. I spent some time sitting on a seat beside the forest and enjoying the atmosphere.

On the way back I stopped to look at a huge disused quarry which is now a deep lake. There I met a Dutch couple (probably mid-late 60's) who were on an extended walking tour. In fact, they were walking from their home in Holland to their holiday house on the Belle-Île-en-Mer, off the coast south of here at Vannes. They were in the last week of their two month expedition! Pretty amazing for people in their age group, I thought.

I headed back along the river to Guipry-Messac, where a boat was going through the lock. The scenery in this area is too picturesque for words – one scenic vista or village after another.

Friday 3rd May

Today I did a trip to Rennes by train. See the separate blog entry for details!

Saturday 4th May

Another ride along the riverbank to the next downstream lock at Malon and back again. This is in accompanying my host who jogs this path regularly. However, it was cold today due to a north wind, which also made the ride back harder work than the ride out!

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