Matthieu and I are in the midst of a Road Trip around Brittany, the western region of France. Big thanks to Matthieu's family who loaned us a car! It has allowed us to explore small roads and coastlines. France is an amazing country to just GO in. There are awesome information tourist centers in most villages (look for the blue lower case i). These tourist centers post lists on the door: campsites, B&Bs (gites in France), and hotels. Even when they are not open you can find what you need. But better yet, the signposts in town TELL you where to go for camping, hotels, and gites. The handy blue rectangular signs will guide you to a good night's rest. Campgrounds abound, and many municipalities run them, offering a cheap night's sleep. You can actually camp in cities!
I wish America had more of this- it would make travel much more affordable.
So far we have wound our way from Rennes to the Granite Coast, to Brest, to the Crozon Peninsula,
to Quimper. More entries to come on this beautiful country!
Camping at the municipal campground, next to the soccer fields, in Camaret-sur-mer:
(Thanks to the Bigers for the car, the tent, the sleeping pads, the maps and Matthieu!)
Yesterday we went with Matthieu's sister Sophie to the magical forest of Brocéliande. Whether you know it from the many tales of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table- from Mighty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail- from the Pendragon series- from the Disney Movie The Sword in the Stone-or from reading the Magic Tree House stories- you know somethingof the tale. If you don't, please go to your local library and read up!
Let me refresh your memory with what most scholars would call a horrifying recap:
Arthur was the king of the Britons (which includes Brittany of France in some tales way back when the channel was walkable at time). After being raised by the Wizard Merlin, Arthur became king after pulling the sword out of the stone (that Merlin had enchanted). Arthur was the leader of the knights of the round table, whom he assembled to protect the kingdom, right wrongs and to search for the Holy Grail (the chalice/cup used in the last supper). Merlin the wizard was in love with Vivane the water fay- also known as the Lady of the Lake (she lived in a crystal palace under the water). Lancelot du Lac was raised by the Lady of the Lake and then came to Camelot and was accepted into the court after showing how brave he was. Most of the tales of the Knights involve them going off to rescue damsels in distress and fight evil knights like the Black Knight. Morgan le Fey also plays an evil role in the tales as a wicked enchantress who traps people in the Valley of the Lost. In some versions she is the half sister to Arthur, in some his healer, in some his enemy. It is one of those stories that changed many times over history as various characters were given major and minor roles depending on who is telling it.
I think one could spend a lifetime on these fabulous and tantalizing tales.
The forest we explored has natural springs and valleys and enchanting 'lakes' (really more like big ponds) and although maybe not the real place (I like to think so)- exciting and lovely all the same!
The saddest thing is that we did not bring our coconut halves from Building 19. It would have been nice to ride along on our horses. Sadly, this is not the first day in which we had wished for them not to be in a storage unit in Iowa but in our hands for clip-clopping along.
Merlin heading into the woods for a bachelor party.
Jackie gazing into the "Fairy's Mirror"
Preparing for a quest at the round table.
Dipping my pinkie into the Fountain of Youth.
Despite Morgan's Spell, we escaped the Valley of the Lost!