It would be terribly remiss of me if I didn’t mention the toilet in our hotel room in Saumur. It was clearly designed by someone without legs. Imagine a cupboard and now imagine someone has plonked a toilet against the back wall of it.
When sitting down on this ridiculous thing, my knees were about 50mm (2″) from the door. It’s ridiculous. It’s not comfortable sitting on something, trousers down, feeling like you’re about to be ejected into the hotel room. It’s also difficult standing up as your head moves forward and bashes against the door. And it could so easily have been included in the bathroom and turned 180 degrees. Annoying, stupid and just not nice to sit on with a good book.
I can report, however, that the shower was fine.
Well, we checked out of the Hotel Londres (after a lovely breakfast) and headed further north, on the final French leg of our holiday. The weather started off beautiful – all blue sky and sunshine – but quickly started turning grey. The clouds menacingly gathering ahead of us, causing consternation about whether to keep the sunglasses on or not.
When the rain came we were in a bar/tabac in Chateau Grontier, a town we didn’t stop in on our way down to the Dordogne but had intended to.
The bar/tabac didn’t look too appealing from the outside (apart from the fact that the two town drunks left just before we arrived) but inside it was fine. In fact, it seemed to be a bit of a family friendly establishment with the children out-numbering the adults.
There was a bit of consternation shortly after we arrived when a grandmother and her two charges (boy and girl) couldn’t decide where to sit. They looked a bit peeved that we had sat in what seemed to be their usual place. Eventually they settled into the only six seater table in the place. Eventually they were joined by grandad and the two other kids (boy and girl) which made six altogether. So, as Mirinda pointed out, they had the best table anyway. Though it has just occurred to me that perhaps grandma didn’t want to sit next to grandad.
We had a lovely coffee before heading outside into the now rain drenched streets of Chateau Grontier. We managed to make it back to the car without getting too wet with the help of Mirinda’s umbrella and a rather fruitless investigation of the only shopping mall we’ve ever seen in France (outside of Paris).
Back in the car we drove away, leaving the rain behind us as we journeyed further north. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful (the weather came and went) and Linda eventually deposited us at the railway station carpark in St Malo where the pregnant Europcar woman appeared to be standing there waiting for us.
This was rather odd because we’d not really given a time of arrival. I said bonjour and looked confused. She said bonjour and told me to leave the car key in the special box outside the office. She then climbed into a car and drove off. Great service.
We then hopped into a taxi and arrived at our hotel in time for the room to be ready for us at 3pm. We were to be disappointed yet again as the Chateaubriand Hotel was running behind schedule, just like on our first day. The room was eventually ready by 5pm, two hours late. I still have no idea why. Still, we left our bags with them and went in search of galettes.
St Malo was experiencing some sort of festival with crowds everywhere. It was like everyone who wasn’t in Saumur yesterday was in St Malo today. I thought it was something to do with the Ascension.
As well as the crowds, there were also various street performers wandering around adding a bit of a carnival feel to the place. These two women were wearing stilts, were sewn together and made strange noises at people. They also scared a dog or two.
We gradually walked back to the hotel to end up waiting in the sitting room for half an hour. At least it was worth waiting for a decent toilet when we finally did gain access to our room.
We went out and had a delicious, final St Malo dinner at one of the many crowded restaurants that line the bottom of the ramparts. There was a lot of French people out and about, eating in groups of four and more. We think it’s the Ascension four day weekend effect. St Malo was very busy today.
During dinner I received a text from Brittany Ferries. This reiterated something they’d sent me in an email earlier and that was that the morning ferry tomorrow will be leaving earlier than scheduled because of a ‘technical fault’. I’m very glad I read my emails and had my phone switched on otherwise we might have missed the ferry home. I wonder how many other passengers will be left waving on the dock at St Malo?