Tuesday, July 12, 2011

9. Dinan life and discoveries

Most of Monday 7-11-11 was lazy exploring and doing chores. We found the best Boulangerie to buy bread and pastry, the best Boucherie to buy meat, and found our way back to the ever-present Monoprix for all our other needs: soap, drinks, paper products, etc. The fresh-food market comes to town in a day or two, so we will stock up on fresh veggies and fruit there. First thing you notice here: NOBODY is up and around at 8, 9, or even 10:00 a.m.! Signs of life begin around 11:00 a.m., and tourists show up from then on until 4-5:00 p.m. So, before 11 and after 6, we have the whole town pretty much to ourselves and other local residents. Wow, this is pretty cool…we had enough crowds in Paris, so are happy as can be here.
Put my ”suitcase bike ” together yesterday in the courtyard. It made the trip without damage. Planning to ride tomorrow.  The trick is getting OUT of Dinan: we are at the top of a steep hill running down to the Rance river, so roads from Dinan are generally pretty steep going own. AND most are covered with ancient cobblestones, not friendly to my road bike. 

So, Lynn and I decided to walk around the town and scope out the walls and battlements of the city, find some new sights, and see what we could figure out for roads out of town. Our first surprise was the fantastic park just down the block from our apt., right along the city wall facing the Rance and the scenic aquaduct that brings traffic into town now. Awesome sight that we had seen on a lot of Dinan posters and post cards…right down the street from us! 

We explored a zig-zag dirt path down from the wall to the river, coming out just under the aquaduct…not good walking conditions for Lynn and her recovering broken ankle, so we’ll not take that route again! BUT we ended up at the river, so walked a mile or so to check it out. Beautiful town down there, Port Dinan, with lots of sailboats docked, and kayaks/canoes for rent all over the place. Saw a pizza place overlooking the river, which gave us an idea for supper…
We found the street from the river back to town…Rue de Jerzual also known as Rue de Petit Fort (there’s a small fort/battlement at the top) so we stayed confused awhile. MAN it is STEEP! And all big lumpy cobblestones…so I don’t think you could bike it unless on a mountain bike with fat tires. We walked it though, resting on the way up on little stone benches some ancient monks probably installed for that purpose…thank God! It took us to some new streets we’d not found yet, new sights, and a cool-looking Italian pizza place we decided to try for supper. Later on our walk we hit all the other stores mentioned above, and took our stuff back home. Made some baguette sandwiches for lunch, and headed out again for a lunch walk and picnic. The park down the street is just so unexpectedly perfect for us. Beautiful view, ancient wall and tower, right by the church that is next door to our apartment, and shady benches for sitting and eating. 

         You gotta watch out for the dog poop though. These dog owners have NO pick-up-the-poop habit, so doggy dodo (caca de chien) is always a hazard. We don’t sit in the grass, for instance! It’s a hazard in the street too come to think of it, a small hugely irritating detail! 

We took a nap after cruising the walls again, then set out to find some more stuff on the other side of town. We were able to track down the town wall and tower that are visible from our bedroom window, out the back of our apartment. So, we climbed the wall, found the tower (it’s flat and not high, just real big around), and Lynn took my picture pointing to our apartment from across town.
 Hey, I know it’s a silly, but it gave our lives some purpose! Lynn took some time off to go browsing and do some chores, while I had a beer at the pub down the street and used their wifi hookup to check email. 

She got a bracelet that matched her earrings, so when we got back together we explored the town a little more wearing the new stuff.  Saw a huge group of road cyclists, escorted by motorcycles, coming across the aquaduct. 

 We went to another battlement along the wall, and met a Chinese lady who took our picture, we took hers, and we traded thoughts together in French (well, LYNN did, mostly I just stood there looking on).  Then, it was time for supper to celebrate the great day.

Supper was at Pizzeria Cocco; we ate at a small table inside, and a younger couple sat next to us who looked really cool…and we heard em speak English! So, after we ordered our pizza and wine, we started talking to them (it’s usually rude to be overtly friendly to strangers in French public places, a cultural difference from us gregarious Americans)….turns out they were from NETHERLANDS, so LIKED us talking to them! It was a fun supper, we had a wonderful time talking to our new friends, and the meal was superb. Lynn ordered a great bottle of wine, the pizza was perfect, and we saved room for desert which was tres incredible, with heavy rich chocolate sauce. This was a happy day for sure.

Pic captions: Assembling the suitcase bike in courtyard.
                          Lynn looking down on Port Dinan, River Rance.
                          Park St.Sauveur, end of block by our apartment.
                          Look at my finger...it's ON OUR APARTMENT dormer window!
                          Cyclists crossing aquaduct (viaduc) used for Tour de France from Dinan.
                           End of our happy day at Pizzeria Cocco.

CLICK here for all photos and vids:
2011 Dinan and Paris French Adventure

1 comment:

  1. Just re-reading some entries with Jack so he can see the pix! Love the one of Dad pointing to the apartment!! Jack says HELLO and COME HOME PAPA and GAMMY :-) We love you!