Sunday 12 October 2014

Day 9 - Quiberon to Piriac sur Mer

Saturday 11 October 2014

It rained in the night, hard enough to wake me up, but not Cathy.  As I lay awake I thought this might mess up my morning bike ride. But it stopped at about 0400 and I drifted back to sleep. Being an hour ahead of the UK, it does mean the mornings are darker and it was getting close to 0900 before the sun was up. But I stuck my head out of the skylight above the bed and saw blue sky and a few well-lit clouds - a good sign. Breakfast for me was very continental - cold meats, cheese and bread with a glass of orange juice and a mug of tea.  I uncovered and unlocked my bike, then grabbed my cycling gear from the garage. Bidon filled, computer set and money and phone in the under-saddle pouch, I climbed - with my bike - over the 'anti-pikey' mounds and clicked into the pedals.  It was quite warm - short sleeves in mid-October is exceptional and very agreeable.  I turned right as I wanted to check out the small hamlet of Keren. This was a small commune of cottages and original design modern houses (architects and councils take note) and I rode through then turned around and cycled along the narrow lanes. I eventually ended up on the main road to St Pierre. When I say main road, this means a car about every minute or so!  But even that was enough for me, so I turned around and headed back, taking the first turning right back towards the Côte de Sauvage.  This took me back through Keren and past the Aire; I looked to the left and saw Cathy sat outside the van reading so shouted a 'Bonjour' as I sped by. Turning right I cycled up the road with the Atlantic to my left. The road was undulating and I enjoyed the ride with the sound of the sea and the sun on my back.  About 5 km in the road turned away from the sea and after a while I decided to turn and ride back the other way.  I enjoyed punching up the hills and speeding down and was soon passing the Aire again and heading for Quiberon.  Into town I did a short circuit along the front before turning and heading back to find a coffee stop, directly opposite the Gare Maritime - the ferry terminal to Belle Îsle.  I visited the island in the summer of 1980 when I was ship's company at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, having sailed across the channel, past Île d'Ouessant and into La Baie de Quiberon in a Nicholson 55 yacht - much bigger than our campervan!  So there I was, sat in the warm sun overlooking the sea in mid-October, bike parked up and enjoying a coffee.  It was a shame my cycling wingman Ray wasn't sat with me; he'd have loved it.  As I soaked up the sunlight and enjoyed my coffee I decided to try and sort out my Euro coins.  For years I've struggled with working out which coin is which, embarrassing when trying to pay in a shop or restaurant. So I spent some time working out the difference, the size of the coin but mainly the edge of the different coins.  This took a lot of concentration so I had to order 'en autre café' to see me through my learnings - and soak up some more sunshine.

It was a short 3km ride back to the van, where I locked my bike back into the rack and left my gear to dry in the sun during shower time.  With everything 'secured for sea' we checked out of the Aire and drove into the service point to drop waste and fill up with fresh water.  All sorted, it was now lunch time. On our walk yesterday we passed a small bistro selling seafood including Moules. It was literally 1 minute's drive away so we pulled in and bagged a table outside in the sunshine.  Cathy had Moules a la Crème and I had a la Marieniére. C had a glass of Muscadet and me some local Cidre (driving), plus we shared some mineral water. It was a delicious light lunch and we were soon on our way to our next stop, an Aire near Piriac sur Mer, very Brittany (read Cornwall), but actually in the Pays de Loire region. On the way back out we say the hotel for the small sailor (le petit Matelot) - definitely a photo opportunity!  We stopped on the way at a Super U Marche, where I topped up with food and diesel.  Catchy was feeling in pain and tired so took the risk of laying on the bed while I drove.  This isn't legal or safe, but we accepted the risk against the pain of her Fibromyalgia sitting in the passenger seat.

One and a half hours' later, I pulled up at the Aire at Piriac, which is actually in the small hamlet of Lerat. Cathy had enjoyed her illicit ride in the back and, after parking up, we walked across the road to the sandy beach. The tide was out and much of the sand was covered with fly-infested seaweed. We walked along the coast, Cathy enjoying the rough sand barefoot and me the rock pools.  It had the potential in the warm sunshine for a sea swim, save for the thousands of small dead, dying or still very active jellyfish in the sea and stranded on the sand.  So instead we walked along, enjoying the warm sun and sound of the sea breaking over the rocks.

Back at the van we enjoyed a brew and a read, before packing up our seats, some nibbles and a bottle of pastis & water with glasses before walking back to the beach for 'sundowners'. Duty done, we walked back to the van at dusk for a light supper and a chat.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll get out on my bike again.  We plan to move on again, aiming for one more night on the coast before heading East into the Loire Valley - Cathy's white wine country! So time for bed now, as the owls give it some proper 'terwit, terwoo' in trees outside.

Coffee stop but sadly without my wingman
Lunch location
Moules and a glass of Muscadet for C, Cidre for me
Hotel & restaurant for small sailors!
Beach at Lerat
Lerat - warm and sunny
A summer's evening in October
Chillin' on the beach with a small pastis
Sunset on the beach
Bare feet again!

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