For our final morning at Locquirec I went for a wander to post some cards and milk the ATM dry while Mirinda read by the sea. We once more bought lunch in the patisserie. I packed the car, paid the monstrous bill and we left about 12. Because we were leaving, the day was beautifully sunny and the skies very blue.
We stopped off at the Abbey at Landevennec. This is the remains of several monasteries built one on top of the other. The first stone one was built in the 9th century but a previous wooden building was probably erected in 818 when St Gwenole and chums landed on the spot and decided to establish their church there.
The monastery was rebuilt in the 13th, 15th and 17th centuries. After this the French Revolution reduced it to ruins so they built no more. What we have now is the remains of the four buildings with archaeological notes and guesses scattered around the site. The dig took place some time prior to 1985 when the current restoration work began. This was completed in 1988.
Obviously I loved every minute of it but the one thing that really stood out was the way some areas of the church have been used to create small gardens. Some with big pumpkins growing in them, some with banana trees. Big plants with big colourful flowers. Fantastic.
Rumour has it that King Gradlon (we met him way back on our previous trip to Brittany when we visited Quimper) was buried in the sacristy of the church. Naturally we said hello.
After the abbey we drove out along the Crozon Peninsular towards Camaret-sur-Mer to see the sea and the fabulous coastline. After managing to find a way through Crozon itself, we drove up to a large car-park, baking in the sun. There was no shade, just walkways, rocks and people. We strolled over to the edge of one of the paths and Mirinda spotted the only bit of shade anywhere. It was against a huge rock, just near the edge. Tentatively we climbed down to this tussocky vantage point – the grass was all soft like a sofa – unpacked our food and had a very picturesque lunch.
The views around this point are pretty amazing, though I have to say they are not as dramatic as the Great Ocean Road in Victoria! Still, they are gloriously dramatic in a Breton way. And very popular. Although there is nothing there but a car park and some vantage points, a lot of people seem to visit anyway. Naturally there are also the few insane people who like to risk life and limb by clambering over rocks that have no right to be clambered over but generally people just go there for the views.
Retracing our tracks, we came across an odd sight on a roundabout on the Crozon bypass. This is not a back street, or an unused road. The traffic was pretty constant and this roundabout is the main thoroughfare back off the peninsular but there, as we swung around, in the middle of the road, was a big dog licking himself. Mirinda tooted him but he paid no heed, just kept right on licking. Maybe he owned the roundabout.
Having recovered, we drove towards Douarnenez via Plonevez-Porzay, the small town we are going to visit tomorrow. It hopefully has a pardon on. Then on to Treboul, a place I shall long remember when I grow weary of pleasant thoughts.
We managed to find Treboul after a lot of argy bargy on the road. The signage in Brittany could be a bit better. Sometimes you are lucky enough to get a sign that actually appears BEFORE a turning but quite often, there is no sign and by the time you’re on a roundabout, you’ve missed it anyway so you end up halfway up some strange road. Happens all the time. You’d think someone would figure out it’s not a system that works very well. Still, I guess that’s all part of the fun of driving in Brittany.
Anyway, after an age of avoiding turn offs we didn’t think we wanted, we ended up in the marina. Actually not IN the marina but beside it. Mirinda parked and I went searching for where the hotel was supposed to be. Obviously it wasn’t there but I did find a map which showed it just over the hill, right by a beach. I snapped a photo of it then hurried, joyously back to the car.
I needn’t have bothered with the joy. Up the hill was the most evil network of tiny, squeezy roads, one-way streets and nasty turns I have ever in my life been stupid enough to enter. The one-way system is actually diabolical and should be one of Dante’s levels of Hell.
Eventually I had Mirinda park the car and I went off on foot. Actually, after a bit of swearing she told me to go off on foot and find it.
The temperature was topping 50 and there was no shelter from it. My runners were melting into the tarmac as I went up and down the lanes, towards my quarry. Suddenly I came across a pathway with sand on it. This had to signify something so I followed the grains until I found a big, very crowded beach. This was where the hotel was supposed to be near. I trudged past the happy, chirpy, beachwear clad, French sun-seekers stunningly overdressed in my jeans, sweat simply drenching my clothes and then I found the street. Then, eventually, I found the hotel.
I started to double back along the streets but quickly realised the one-way system was impossible. By this stage I felt everyone wandering around in swimmers and thongs was secretly laughing at me, which just increased my discomfort. I headed back to the hotel and decided to walk the long way back to the marina which was not made up of one way streets. It was a long way via main roads, roundabouts and successive pedestrian crossings. I ticked off landmarks as I walked so I could remember the way back. Just as I was about to give up all hope and lay down and die, the marina appeared around a final corner.
From here I climbed and climbed and climbed until I found Mirinda sitting, reading in air conditioned comfort. After a bit of calming down and cooling off, I directed her to the Hotel Thalasstonic. I felt totally robbed when the girl at reception was really, really nice.
It turned out that the room wasn’t that bad. I lugged everything up to the first floor then jumped into a lovely cold shower. I stood under it for quite a while trying to reduce my core temperature. Thank God the water pressure was good and strong.
After sitting around for a bit, we decided to go for a walk around by the beach. It was a bit less crowded than earlier and the water was very cold on our feet as we paddled along. Lots of families enjoying the beach. One very odd thing: a low wall runs alongside the beach with a path and another wall beside it which keeps the riff raff out of the properties there. The odd thing is that these properties have built a little area of sand that is behind the wall where you’d normally expect there to be a garden.
Above the beach there is a wooded path and a handy shower for washing sand off one’s feet or very baggy swimmers if you are a balding Frenchman who likes to show off. A bit further up the path is a lovely little spot of sandy beach where a single family was enjoying the solitude. Behind, on a hill above the next popular beach along, was a very crowded cemetery, evidence that the one-way system has managed to trap quite a few other people permanently.
We then wandered back to the hotel, deciding to eat in the restaurant. Boy, another big mistake. The food was pretty tasteless and the worst we’ve had on this trip. Not to mention the waitress who was pretty surly when Mirinda started eating her langoustines. The only saving grace was the beer, which was good and cold and went down very well. Love that Duchesse Anne.
The night was even worse than the day. The hotel appears to be in the heart of the noisiest part of Treboul. It also seems that the main straight for the Treboul Grand Prix circuit is directly outside the hotel window we stayed in. Possibly not so bad, except this night was the 50cc Mosquito Bike Championship and what with the constant loud buzzing and the adoring cheers from the drunken crowds, it meant little sleep all round for us both.
I am trying to find something good to say about the place in Treboul and all I can come up with is the pressure in the shower…but the shower stall was too small.