dimanche 22 janvier 2006

At the end of August, Alain and I drove up to Bretagne (Brittany), northwestern area of France, to visit his grandmother for a week. It took about 14 hours of driving along the autoroutes. Most of the autoroutes were toll routes, and not cheap but well maintained with frequent rest areas. The toilets in the rest areas were for some reason Turkish toilets. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to install these awful things rather than regular toilets should be shot. Basically, you squat over the hole as best as you can, (me, I did not want to put my shoes on those dirty platforms). When you flush, you had better be launching yourself out the door at the same time because the entire area is flooded with water.
For example picture (third down), please click

Anyway, back to Bretagne.

His mother is from Bretagne and most of her family still lives up there. This was the first time that I met all of them.
From the guidebook
"A long, jagged coastline is the region's great attraction. Magnificent beaches line its northern shore, swept clean by huge tides and interspersed with well-established seaside resorts, seasoned fishing ports and abundant oyster beds. "
We walked along the coastline several times. The tide is quite large, going out for half a mile or so. The water was too cold to go in. At least for me. But then, I like my oceans pool-like. A lot of people were out with rakes, scraping the sands for oysters. Alain's father said that 30 years ago it was very easy to find oysters, that you didn't have to look very long before finding a lot. I guess something has changed because we saw few people with oysters.

The area has a Celtic heritage, as well standing stone sites. The Breton language/dialect still exists and a lot of the signs have both languages.
The difference in architecture between Provence and Bretagne is amazing. Alain's mother is from Lanhouarneau, and his grandmother still lives there.

The regional specialty is crepes. We had them every day. Sweet ones are great with butter, jelly, whipped cream, chocolate, ice cream, fruit, caramel, etc. The salty ones are usually served with ham, cheese, and egg inside. The most popular drink is cider.

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