Shearwin's in Europe 2015 travel blog


We both agreed that we are suffering from travel fatigue and experiencing periods of declining motivation. This was evident with our 1100hr departure from the hotel to explore the city of Rennes. A light breakfast ( one pastry less than usual - we are going Paleo on RTA) ) was enough to power our batteries and wander the back streets and take in the cities buildings and watch people at play.

I had previously read, what I thought was a strange comment, that Remmes feels like a university town of young people. I can now see the rationale to the comment as the majority of people appear in the 18-25 years of age range, although there are no books in sight. They are generally more attractive, slimmer and fitter than the population of the other areas of Brittany where short and broad dominate.

Another realisation of gastronomical importance which we knew but have probably lost awareness of, is that pastries with coffee are generally only available until about 1100hrs and a sandwich ( baguette with filling) only appears about midday. There is a period in limbo for both or either with any certainty.

We are also just becoming accustomed to the 1200-1400hrs, close down period for most shops and even the odd church. However, not knowing who is open, and when, is some what frustrating for the traveller.

We are also experiencing a lack of English menu's and when staff tell us they can explain a menu, they can at best tell us whether it's duck or veal or fish but nothing of the cooking styles or ingredients. I cannot but praise them for their patiences with our questions. We have also experienced nothing but politeness and assistance from everyone we have approached with an English question.

An exercise I promise myself before we next return to France is to learn and understand the terminology defining the different food outlets eg, Boulangerie, charcuterie , brasserie etc.

Returning to our mornings explorations; we very much enjoyed Thador Park. This exceptional city park has the reputation of being one of France's best gardens. It must have every garden design principle incorporated into it and quite a few well establish trees reveal its age. The rose gardens in particular were outstanding and while there are only several modest water features they balance the garden nicely. The people in the garden during the lunch period, reflected its acceptance and popularity.

Across the road from our hotel are the Central Markets and like all food markets we have seen, they are mouth watering and dining inspiring; we would love to try everything.

Three hours of walking had us back in our hotel for a break/rest at 1400hrs.

We emerged again at 1600hrs for Kaye to shop for L&S which was successful. We are now proud owners of two pairs of converse tennis shoes which we need to transport home.

In the meantime, I walked the old city, visited the church of St Germain and watched the workers underpinning the churches corner foundations - a big job requiring many concrete pins. I stopped for a beer on my return to the hotel to prepare for dinner.

At 1900hrs, we returned to a restaurant area Kaye identified during the day. The plan was for one course of mussels plus white wine at one restaurant and a shared pizza and sweets with wine at a second. The plan worked well as the food and service was great in both restaurants.

We returned to our hotel at 2045hrs to prepare for tomorrow's early start for Brix ( 269 km ) in Northern Normandie; stops at Fougieres ( 55km ) and the coastal village of Barfleur ( 195 km)

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