Saturday, May 17, 2008

from Brittany, France: the morning after

The Inn, La Baie des Anges, is at the curve of a narrow road. Not much traffic here. Who would travel along this barren coast to a village that hadn’t even a grocer or a boulanger? Who would drive 600 kilometers from Paris to wind up here, the most western corner of the continent?

The window looks out on slate roofs and beyond that, the Aber Wrac’h (a long, wide inlet). The names here are like that – not French and not easy to say out loud.

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If you think there aren’t many quiet French places by the sea these days, then take a look at Aber Wrac’h.

Oh, but wait. You need to get here first. The rapid train will zip you from Paris to Brest, a mere 30 kms away from here, in no time. But for a price. You can also drive. The highways are good. Or you can stick to the lesser roads.

Ed and I most always stick to the lesser roads. Especially if we’re tired. Nothing pushes you to sleep more than a stretch of boring highway. On the backroads, on the other hand, now that's my idea of gorgeous. Lush, rural, punctuated by villages where people walk their dogs and shop for afternoon baguettes.

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Yesterday’s weather was varied. And therefore beautiful. A landscape against a pattern of clouds, a rain and then a clearing sky and then more clouds.

And if that wasn’t splendid enough, the detour toward the coast and the Normandy sight of all sights (Mont St. Michel), just as the storm broke over it was over the top magnificent.

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We paused for a cappuccino and a baguette and watched sheets of rain pound the rural landscape.. It was a good moment.

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So, Aber Wrac’h. I haven’t said much about this place. I’ll get to that. We’re here for a week. Last night we did only two things: had the meal that I think about so often when I am not here – plates of Brittany oysters, langoustines and grilled fish (followed by, of course, crème brulee; there is always a crème brulee on the menu; no, really: always).

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You ask what was the second thing? We tried to get the Internet to work in the room. That’s another “always” in the more remote inns and b&bs in France. It’s part of the process of settling in here. When the little box says “limited or no connectivity,” I feel I’ve arrived.