Living on Garbage Truck Alley

One of the less appealing things about the Chateaubriand Hotel is the corner it stands on. Every morning, starting way too early for holiday sleep-ins, hundreds of garbage trucks drive around it. It’s like living on Garbage Truck Alley.

Apart from putting up with this rather odd consequence of hotel positioning, the Chateaubriand Hotel is our preferred hotel when staying in St Malo. We do have to book early though because it’s very popular.

Every time we’ve visited St Malo we’ve tried to catch a ferry to Dinan. The trouble is the tides.

Because the ferry travels through the River Rance barrage, which only opens at certain times and tides, timing is crucial. The trip takes an hour and half each way and is supposed to be a beautiful journey, ending in a delightfully medieval town.

You can imagine our delight on discovering there were lots of ferries today, in both directions (you CAN get a bus back if necessary). It wasn’t until we were queuing for tickets that we realised that the ferries were actually going to the irritatingly similarly named Dinard – a ten minute journey across the bay. Sadly, the ferry to Dinan starts operating tomorrow.

Dinard is a lovely spot so, seeing as the rain seemed to have gone somewhere else, we decided to go there for lunch. Before checking out of the hotel (and meeting Bob at the ferry stop), Mirinda and I took a very long walk down St Malo beach, managing to catch the rain on the way back. At the far end we found a massive ‘Surf School’ where little kids were learning how to wind surf, sail a yacht and land surf. It looked exactly like the sort of holiday that Tom could only dream of.

Anyway, our ferry trip to Dinard was very enjoyable even considering the multitude of cyclists who boarded after us and filled the back of the boat with their bikes.

The last straggling cyclists leave the ferry

At the other end, we set off, following the coastal path, enjoying the views of St Malo and the various forts and islands. There’s one particular island (Cézembre) which Mirinda insists is about 12 different islands. It’s like one of those jokes that just keeps giving.

We eventually made it to the big beach where Alfred Hitchcock is eternally being menaced by birds and French holiday makers hire out little blue and white striped tents. These are clearly the French equivalent of English beach huts and look very stylish. I assume they are taken down every night and re-pitched every morning. That can’t be a lot of fun.

Pretty tents, all in a row

We had a lovely lunch (Bob wanted to try the French version of fish and chips while we had our final galettes) before slowly wandering back to the ferry for the equally short trip back.

We couldn’t board the ferry home until 6pm so we sat in a cafe, reading and generally enjoying the French atmosphere before collecting our luggage and getting a cab to the terminal.

All in all, it was a lovely, lazy day. The perfect end to another delightful French holiday.

Bye, bye, St Malo…till next time

Actually, the only action all day was the Germany v Brazil World Cup semi-final screened live on the ferry for Bob and me. The final scoreline was an unbelievable 7-1 but Germany had it won after 30 minutes and five goals. They annihilated Brazil who played like a team of one legged herons. Extraordinary. On tonight’s showing, I can’t see any team beating Germany.

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