According to Mirinda, our cabin was like a prison cell…if the prison cell had a flat screen TV, pink sheets and no window, maybe. On other trips, we’ve had a double berth cabin, which means I’m stuck pressed against the ceiling. This cabin, down in the very bowels of the ship, is a four berth jobbie, which means we both had bottom bunks. Very comfortable…although I spent most of the night listening to the scuba divers scouring the barnacles off the bottom of the boat.
We arrived, disembarked and strode into St Malo. We wanted to have our usual galette at the Unicorn but it was not yet up and running! We had a coffee next door and then, having left our bags at the Hotel Chateaubriand, decided to go for a wander around the city walls. We managed to get all the way around in 45 minutes.
Back at the Unicorn we tucked into a lovely breakfast of galette complet and coffee. Excellent tradition.
We couldn’t get into the hotel until 2pm so Mirinda decided it would be a good idea to visit the aquarium. After a long chat with the trainee tourist person at the TIC, we boarded the number C2 bus and managed to find the aquarium stop.
As aquariums go, it’s a good one. While not a very good indicator, on the Gaz scale, it’s not as good as some but it’s a hell of a lot better than the one at Lyme Regis. We wandered all through it, in and out of the fish tanks full of exotic things. I particularly liked the big doughnut room where you could lie on the floor on cushions and watch the fish swim round and round. Very relaxing. Well, it was before the 30,000 ravenous children arrived.
The highlight of the aquarium (for me at least) was the nautibus. This is French for submarine. It is at the end of the trip through the aquarium. It is a ride, like the ski lifts at the Jorvik Centre in York, except it’s underwater. You start from within a sort of cave where you step from the bank into a shell-like structure with spiral staircase going beneath the water. These are floating by, like rides in a funfair. Down the stairs are four seats and a small window.
A voice starts and the dials go crazy as you feel like you are descending deep into the water. The small window clears and you see fish, statues, shipwrecks and many other bottom dwellers. It’s a bit odd but fun. Sadly, it only lasts five minutes.
Mirinda tried to steal a scallop but otherwise we managed to make a clean escape onto a bus back to St Malo where we checked into the hotel. And what a lovely hotel it is! The room is gorgeous. It looks out over the plaza and has a little terrace. We can even see the sea!
After a short granny nap, we ventured out to buy some lunch. We managed to find the greengrocer from three years ago, bought some fruit then a baguette. On the way I nearly bowled over a very small, very old French woman and her freak of a dog. I also dropped Mirinda’s baguette on the ground and had to go back and buy another. I think it strange that after 19 years of marriage she is still astounded when I am clumsy.
I am convinced that the old woman was a witch and the evil spitting dog was her familiar. Rather than “Oh, I’m awfully sorry. Do forgive me,” I think what she said was “I curse you, English scum! The next time you are carrying a baguette, it will leap from your bag and roll all over the filthy floor! And you will be sworn at by your wife for your stupid clumsiness!” And it worked. Fortunately, as I explained to Mirinda, these sort of curses are only good for one incident and I was lucky it happened so soon after seeing her. Sadly, this was not true as my inherent clumsiness would once more rear its ugly head in the days to come. But enough of this evil devil worship…
Interestingly, the hotel has WiFi and a very strong connection but nowhere in the room or when I registered, do they tell you about it. You need a login and password so, I assume, it costs extra. Why then do they not advertise? We’re only here one night so I’ll not bother. How much easier would it be if they used the login screen to advertise, firstly the hotel’s facilities and secondly, the wheres and hows of the WiFi connection. They could even have a start page with lots of different flags, denoting the language. You click your own flag and are then taken to a page of instructions just for you. This would be really, really easy and cost virtually nothing. Makes you wonder why they don’t bother, doesn’t it. It could have a menu for the restaurant, a TV guide, rates for the WiFi, local taxi numbers, etc, etc. They could even sell ad space for local businesses. I really should be in marketing…
We had a bit of a feast in our room and a general relax until a parade invaded our window at about 6pm. Very loud bands and, presumably, lots of people. It was all just out of sight but it cleared the street beneath our balcony for a good half an hour.
The shower in our room is a sort of waterfall affair and is absolutely fantastic. I wanted to take it home. Nothing to complain about in the bathroom.
We had a lovely stroll along the beach all the way down to…well, whatever is down there but quite a long way passed the Intra-muros. We spotted a rather odd woman walking her cat. It was on a lead with one of those harnesses that small dogs sometimes have. It was most peculiar.
It was then to dinner. We went to the Café le Lion d’Or and Mirinda had oysters followed by a chicken while I started with grandma’s coddled egg (which was seriously delicious) followed by suckling pig in honey (again, sensational). We were both too full for dessert so we settled for coffee then a stroll. Mirinda also decided to have a cocktail for a change. It arrived with a sparkler in it. A bit disconcerting. Very alcoholic, she said.
Mirinda had an interesting chat with a couple about their poodles. They had a black and white one. Mirinda was trying to talk to them in French (both the couple and the poodles) but it turned out they were actually Polish. Fortunately they (the couple) spoke English so Mirinda stopped pretending she was French. Of course, she discussed poodles. The black one was only a year old and was a 30th birthday present. The white one was about 8 and had turned up in Krakow, lost and looking for a home. She adopted it.