Sunday 23rd to Saturday 29th June
Royan, Saint-Navarei, Lorient, Roscoff.
SUNDAY & Monday 23&24/06/19 – LAY DAYS; Royan
The plan for Royan was to relax and possibly laze on the beach for a couple of days, but alas the weather once again conspired to protect the public from confusing me with a beached whale. It didn’t rain a lot but it did blow a lot, so we contented ourselves with taking some long walks along the long waterfront where we took some pics of some of the few remaining grand homes.
And also a few other landmarks.
It was an easy and pleasant 2 days.
Tuesday 25/06/19 – Ride Day; Royan to Near Avrillé
Today was a circuitous route to visit some aged friends of my Mum and Dad’s whom they first met in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand many years ago, when they were sailing their 34′ Bowman sloop on a 12 year circumnavigation – now that’s the way to do it.
We tootled up the coast through some lovely seaside towns with their grand homes and past what seemed like a never ending stream of camping grounds.
Now this is where I’m coming unstuck in so much as when I started the blog back at the end of March, I used to do it daily which eventually became a bit of a burden, but at least I could remember where we’d been, stopped and done. In the last four weeks I’ve taken to relying on my memory to do it once a week which is proving to be problematic in terms of my memory.
Enough to say that today was another beautiful day for a ride and that we stopped at a couple of lovely places and saw some great sights.
We arrived at Paul and Pierrette’s lovely secluded bush surrounded home in the mid afternoon and availed ourselves of their perfect hospitality.
It was great to talk small ocean going sailing boats again with people who, like myself, have never lost the passion or the dream even if age and circumstance have limited the actuality.
200klms for the day.
Wednesday 26/06/19 – Ride Day; Near Avrillé to Saint-Nazaire
With the weather promising to get hot, and after a lovely breakfast, we said fond farewells to Paul and Pierrette and set ourselves west and north through continuous rolling farmlands rich for harvest. We had a break at Saint-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie (pronounced entirely differently from how it’s spelt, as are all French place names).
We called into the tiny inlet of Port Du Bec.
And then even smaller Les Champs
As well as Les Brochets before finding lunch in Pornic. It was getting very hot by now so we pushed through to Saint-Nazaire where we took a rest before looking around the old WW2 submarine base and the rest of the town.
A 180klm day in trying 30c+ conditions.
Thursday 27/06/19 – Ride Day; Saint-Nazaire to Lorient
With temps in the mid 30c this would be our most uncomfortable days riding of the entire trip, although a couple of days in Greece were hard as well . I’d rather ride in rain than in those temps sucking every little bit of moisture out of you in full riding kit, even though we hydrated extensively throughout the day.
But it must be said that the scenery certainly compensated for the discomfort. We took a break at La Baule-Escoublac before moving along to Vannes where we happened upon a passing out ceremony of some type. We also stopped for lunch overlooking the packed boat basin.
On through Auray to the prehistoric Alignements de Carnac. These are pretty amazing, hundreds of rocks, big and small, all precisely arranged with some age old superstitious reasoning. We passed some 5 or 6 fields of them and then 10klms further on another field. I wondered if they’d imported them from the Croatian coast.
We continued on to a pleasant interlude at Etel.
And so onto Lorient where we’d scored a room without air-con which is quite normal for these parts, but a cheap fan would have scored them points on booking.com. They couldn’t have cared less, so they didn’t score well.
A difficult 175klms today.
Friday 28/06/19 – Lay Day; Lorient
In spite of the heat we ventured forth like good little tourists to visit La Base,
where we visited the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, a tribute to Eric Tabarly who was a Frenchman and a sailing superstar in my days of sailing for his incredible feats of singlehanded sailing and sailboat design. His line of Pen Duick boats continue to hold fame in the world of sailing.
We also saw a couple of modern day short handed ocean racers as well as Gitana 17, which currently holds the record for the fastest trans Atlantic crossing for a sailboat of any type. An amazing speed machine.
We then visited the submarine museum and got to look through a submarine. It’s hard to believe just how complicated those things are, nor to comprehend how confined they are. Maximum height is 1.8m so I don’t need to volunteer.
Saturday 29/06/19 – Ride Day; Lorient to Roskoff
A cool change had come in so it would be a much more comfortable day. We called into Moelan-Sur-Mer which proved to be less than captivating so we moved onto the fortress in the middle of the harbour at Concarneau. Neat place. We indulged and a had a milkshake although I hadn’t intended in paying for the entire cow.
Past Quimper and on to Chateaulin. What a delightful place. We took some pics and moved on.
Further up the road.
Next on route was Sizun, a little town sitting on a cross roads that attracts quite a number of causal travelers including us. We ran into Stephane who was riding a 90s Moto Guzzi Centauro which was in immaculate condition and also the proper color, red and white of course. We spent a pleasant half hour together.
Stephan suggested we make a detour to Huelgoat and so we enjoyed some of the days best riding and visited the days cutest town.
Morlaix was next and desperately needed as we were running perilously close to pushing the bike when finally found a fuel station. Nice bridge.
And so onto our final destination on the continent for this trip. The road to Roskoff (pronounced Rosko) was a delight as we chased the estuary to the sea then curved our way along the coast road to this point of departure to the UK and eventually home.
A 230klm day, which had come to be quite cool as we scouted out a place to celebrate au-revoir to Europe. Thanks for the pleasure.
And so onto the final phase.