Saturday, July 23, 2011

18. Cliffs, Bridges and Ocean

Concarneau was a wonderful place to begin today (FRIDAY 7-22-11). Hotel Kerr-Moor threw an extensive breakfast, so we lazed over it long into the morning, using the internet to update our lives and watching the beach life begin. Windsurf class, fishermen, water skiers all in front of our huge picture window and oceanliner-like breakfast table and benches. This town has 5 different beaches, we were at Sables Blanches, all part of Baie de la Foret…I’ll never pronounce all this stuff!

After a surprise charge for the premium breakfast (!) we headed out for Quimper, so Lynn could visit the factory where her favorite French old-timey plates and decorative pottery stuff are made – it’s called “faience”. Over the years she’s acquired a nice small collection of old Quimper, so this was a good chance to see how it’s made. THEY WERE CLOSED for vacation! So, no tour and we couldn’t even see inside the windows. Ah well, the STORE was still open, but held no treasures. Lynn really prefers the old Quimper stuff, so we left empty handed.

 Figuring we didn’t want any more big city for awhile, we decided to skip Brest, and set our GPS for Crozon, so we could tour the Presqu’ile de Crozon. It’s the point of land extending into the Atlantic Ocean (“almost an island”, thus the name), from which you can see forever, including 3 or 4 other named Pointes of land, bays,  beaches, etc. A high promontory, almost impossible to scale from the sea: you can see why it would have been so important to all the armies who warred here over the centuries. The drive in was fantastic, through rolling farmland and sea views, when suddenly we crossed the most fantastic bridge I remember ever seeing! 

We took a lot of photos later: Pont de Verenez. It is a curved bridge, 220+ meters above the valley floor, all suspended from steel cables, supported or strung from two beautiful concrete towers curving gracefully up from the valley floor. EVERYTHING is asymmetrical, the towers, the cable attachment points, the feet of the bridge supports which go to the valley floor, and the bridge curves beautifully so you are able to take in the whole structure with one eyeful. I loved it. We played around on this bridge a long time later in the day, but not enough!
Onward to Crozon, which was not a scenic town at all, but in a picturesque water setting…so we took off to Morgat down the road. It’s a small beach town, set in a beautiful protected cove. We found a sidewalk café for lunch, and watched the action a couple of hours, eating our way through a bucket of fresh moule for me, and house specialty pizza for Lynn. Moule-eating is my new French skill: You take an empty moule shell (2 shells joined together), and use them like pinchers to pull the meat out of another moule shell, and pop em in your mouth to eat. Great stuff to know…you DON’T use a knife and fork! Pizza, well you DON’T eat it with your hands here, generally. We finished, bought some supplies for later at a nearby boulangerie (baguette, cidre, cheese, and an éclair for dessert), took a pic at the CRAPATOLA bike shop (!), and headed for Pointe de Penhir.

Pointe de Penhir was another unexpected fantastic piece of scenery. Massive stone cliffs with huge rocky bases rise above the Atlantic Ocean, giving you unlimited views in almost 360 degrees. This was well worth the trip. I tried to take a set of panoramic pics with my phone cam, by revolving around the same point while shooting. I HOPE there’s an app for stitching these shots together properly. We were so blown away by this place. 

Then, on the way out, we spotted a field of MENHIRS!(Alignments de Lagatjar) Wouldn’t have thought anything about it except we saw huge fields of menhirs at Carnac just a few days ago. This was a small field full, no less mysterious, but fun to walk around.
On the way out, Lynn found us a hotel at a tiny town (crossroads would be a better description) called Kersaint, so tomorrow we can drive Les Abers, the Coast of Legends. Abers are like fjords, deep incursions of the ocean inland, with mountain on the sides. There are a couple of roads that follow the abers, recommended by Jean-Marc, so tomorrow we try them. I still have my bike, so hope to ride a loop of one of the abers tomorrow before breakfast…the weather must cooperate. 
Lynn addition: tonight at our hotel we had a picnic in their garden under the tower of the neighboring church…. And while we were typing this up in the room we were listening to a play/concert coming from the church which was beautiful…how many fun things can come together purely by accident like this!!

PIC captions:  Lynn says "IT'S CLOSED for vacation!"
                            John digs the Pont de Verenez bridge.
                            John at crappiest named bike shop ever!
                            Lynn at Pointe de Penhir.                                                  
CLICK here for all photos and vids:
2011 Dinan and Paris French Adventure

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