The day of the trains

Hotel Gradlon

Up at 7, Mirinda up at 7:20, breakfasted, packed and checked out by 8:15. On the train at 8:30 having found out where the shortcut is.

Very comfortable train. One of the best things about these trains (along with the comfort, cleanliness, leg room, seat room, speed, toilets, police, and guards) is the automatic doors. That comforting swoosh is all a body needs to feel safe and sound in it’s little cocoon. This is in direct opposition to the trains I catch to work where the only swoosh is the mass of commuters who get on at Ash Vale and rush to the back of the train, leaving the doors open and banging!! Err mm, sorry…

Also just love the fact that there’s dogs on the train. For this trip to Rennes, we had a wire haired terrier and a silky, both sitting in the baggage section with their mistress, good as gold.

It was a very pleasant journey on a rapidly filling train, sitting opposite two girls who Mirinda swears were lesbians. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. One of them looked a lot like Sally Kay…I pass no opinions. Actually the one who looked like Sally Kay kept dozing off but would snore and wake herself up, looking accusatory at Mirinda. How could she possibly know?

A lot of people with brats, some with pleasant children. Countryside all looking most inviting. Rain at Vannes and we cast snide glances at the Hotel Mascotte. Arrived at Rennes a little late, passing on the outskirts massive fields full of new Renaults, all lined up in harvest ready formation. Had a coffee at Rennes while waiting the 1 hour 18 minutes for our St Malo connection.

Interestingly, Rennes appears to have a non-smoking room as opposed to the rest of the world. It is a glass box with seats in it. It was empty. Actually, Rennes station is exactly what a cross roads should be like. People changing trains, going up from one platform then crossing to go down to another. A lot of people milling around the newsagent, not buying, just waiting for announcements. And some weird individuals.

A guy who’s head seems too big for his body shovelling two sandwiches into his mouth at once. I found that a bit weird. You can’t eat any more than a mouthful. There’s a family of funny looking chaps who seem to be speaking some middle eastern language. Very happy and cheerful and centred around a short guy with an extremely dapper cravat, sports jacket and beard. Sort of midget cross between Saddam Hussein and Noel Coward.

The train ride to St Malo was very uneventful except as we were about to depart Dol station. A man and a child (perhaps awakened from a deep sleep) starting pounding on the automatic doors. “Merde!” the man cursed as he tried desperately to escape from the carriage. A group of people on the platform eventually drew the attention of the guard to the man’s dilemma and some other guy (without a uniform) appeared with a key to let him out from the inside. As Mirinda wryly commented “Wouldn’t happen on a slam door train.

At St Malo we had intended to catch a bus back to the city but we did not reckon on the wisdom of Breton holiday timetables. Apparently it’s a lot of fun to timetable ALL buses to arrive only on the hour. As we arrived at 25 past the hour, we figured a taxi was the better option. We got back to the hotel, dumped our bags in the room directly above the room we previously had, then went out for crepes at the Unicorn Café.

The population of St Malo has increased to around 400 million since last week. All of France is here; man, woman, child, dog. There’s not as many cars on the cobbled streets but only because there’s so many people, there’s no room! We had yumbo crepes then walked around the shops and finally walked out along the ‘cobb’ to look back at the walled city in the dark light of black clouds. Yes, that’s correct.

After 9 brilliant blue days, the black clouds started to lumber in and we had an actual shower of rain that lasted 5 minutes. We grew tired of the multitudes and went back to the hotel and both dropped off to sleep for a few hours. We woke up at 6 to a return of the blue skies – I’m assuming the black clouds have gone to south east England.

Mirinda performed her (almost) nightly ritual of trying to find The Simpsons on the tv and, as usual (except for that one time) was unsuccessful. All she could manage was Woopi Goldberg in Sister Act dubbed in German. Interesting.

Went out for dinner at 7, as usual missing the crowds. Went to Les Voyageurs Brasserie and sat outside. Mirinda had oysters for the final time while I had a warm goat salad which, strangely, had more cheese than goat. After a yummy duck main, we went for a final walk around the ramparts in a lovely sunset. We said au revoir to all the lovely bits of St Malo which have become so familiar. We finished, naturally, with an ice cream.

From the ramparts

Back at the hotel about 9.30 and to sleep.

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