Brittany/ Île de Ré, France (4.14.10 – 4.21.10)

The drive to Brittany was long, and tiring, so we checked in upon our arrival, got settled into the apartment, and went shopping for food. That was our day.
On Thursday, we sorted out how to get internet and did some washing, which we were both in need of at this point. There is little to report for the rest of the day; I cooked per usual and we had an early night.
On Friday, we went to a chateau in the region called the Chateau de Suscinio. I had been before, but not in thirteen or fourteen years, and upon standing in front of the entrance, I was immediately transported to that same spot, so many years before. I remembered it so clearly, but it’s funny how it felt as though it was so much bigger back then. The chateau was incredibly impressive, as there has been tremendous work done to renovate the chateau to its original glory. The work is not yet complete, but the work that has been completed is astounding. After spending a few hours exploring the castle, we headed back to the apartment. After a little bit, we headed to the beach to lounge for a while. It was windier than we had hoped, but we enjoyed it nonetheless, and I read while my dad napped.
On Saturday, we took a ferry across to the Ile aux Moines (Monk Island) which is just of the coast in Port de Crouesty. Immediately after disembarking from the boat, we rented bikes, and took off to cycle around the island. The island was gorgeous, with terrific scenery and beach views, and luckily for us, it was an absolutely perfect day; the sun was shining and the weather was ideal. We enjoyed our picnic lunch, and then cycled on further. We got to the end of the island, where we rested, and ended up falling asleep on the beach, reveling in the glorious sunshine. After napping, we cycled back the way we had come and got to see the other end of the island. We had some time to kill before our return ferry, so we returned to the port,  returned our bikes, and then enjoyed some ice cream while waiting to head back to mainland.
On Sunday, we rested as we were fairly exhausted from our long bike ride the day before. We did head to the port to meander past all the shops, and to relive one of my favorite childhood memories. When we used to live in England, for three years, we went to Brittany and stayed at the same place that we were staying this time. My dad and I used to head down the port in the morning to pick up pain au chocolate, and baguettes for the day. I can so clearly remember heading down to the port, walking hand in hand. It’s a simple memory, but one of my very favorites. So, we held hands and walked down to the port, though this time we came away with strawberry tarts for dessert that night. That night I cooked dinner, and we enjoyed the decadent tarts. The fruit tarts are one of the things I always miss the most about France.
On Monday, we got an early start and drove down to the Ile de Re, where a good friend of my dad’s has a holiday home. This was when the problems with volcanic ash were at their worst, and unfortunately, Philippe, my dad’s friend, was stuck in New York. However, his wife, Claire, and their children, Alice and Benoit, were at the holiday home, and so we went to pay them a visit. We arrived around noon, in time for lunch. After lunch, we headed to St. Martin, which is an area of the Ile de Re. We visited a charming cathedral which offered a beautiful view over the city and the port. We then headed to the port, and got some ice cream from a shop known for its crazy flavors. I was sorely tempted by the caviar flavor, among others, but ended up choosing flambéed banana. We then headed back to their house for a while, before going out for an incredible meal.
On Tuesday, my dad and I joined Claire on a biker ride to the bakery in town so that we could get croissants and pain au chocolate for breakfast. We then went for a walk on the beach; we later had lunch and shortly thereafter, we had to be on our way back home. On the way back to Brittany, we stopped in Nantes because there was a museum that I very dearly wanted to visit. You may remember from my second trip to Berlin that I went specifically for the Royal de Luxe performance with the giant puppets. The creators of Royal de Luxe have a museum in Nantes, called the Machines de L’Ile, that houses some of their other creations. We got to see a giant elephant, and among other things, a myriad of incredible sea creatures that will all be part of an upcoming creation. I made dinner that night, and we packed our things so that we wouldn’t have as much to do in the morning before leaving.
On Wednesday, we awoke bright and early, finished the last of our packing, and left for St. Malo.

Chateau de Suscinio

The view of the entrance to the Chateau de Suscinio that instantly brought back memories of previous visits

Nap central on the beach in Ile aux Moines

Ile aux Moines

We saw these donkeys in the Ile de Re. They wear trousers to protect their legs from getting bitten from mosquitoes, because otherwise it will hurt them to walk! It also serves to make them look ridiculously cute.

The port at Saint Martin, in the Ile de Re

The view of Saint Martin from the church we visited

From left to right: Benoit, Claire, me, and my dad

From left to right: Claire, Benoit, Alice, and me

Boats in the Saint Martin port.

Benoit enjoying une gauffre (a waffle!)

The elephant at Les  Machines de L’ile

One of the many sea creatures

I got to drive the seashell!

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