11: Picnic on a Rock

The best laid plans of mice and men… My original plan for the day was to take the train out to the Quiberon peninsula for one last glimpse of the sea and then make my way back to Carnac to see all of the dolmens there and maybe ride from there back to Auray where I would take a train back to Vannes.

The short train ride from Vannes to Auray proved interesting in the fact that there was indeed an official bike compartment on the train, but I don’t know how any bike would fit into it. My handlebars were too wide to fit through the doorway into the passage leading into the bike compartment. Not a problem, I stood for the 10 minute ride. But I am curious to know how peple actually make use of the thing!

When I arrived in Quiberon it was about 10 and the stores were just opening for the day. (In a touristy place like this, stores are open on Sundays – France has more liberal store-opening laws than Germany.) I made my way slowly through the town, mostly window-shopping but actually purchasing some cute cups and saucers – the price was just too good to resist. Ironically enough today was the day when I rode with my small top-luggage rack back and not a pannier, but I did manage to fit all of the cups and saucers in it. A few doors down the street I stopped at the vegetable dealer’s and the boulangerie and picked up picnic provisions.

Next it was time for a coffee stop on the promenade facing the harbor. I’m going to miss this late-morning coffee pause when I get back to the grind. It was at this point that I decided to change my plans for the day. I was just not interested in having to reach a certain point at a certain time to catch a train and after the exertion of the previous day I didn’t feel like riding up and down a million little hills. It was my last real day of vacation, I just wanted to BE.

Perhaps if the sun had been shining and the wind not blowing it would have been different, but I just thought to myself “chill out!”. I decided to spend my day just riding around the peninsula and not going any further.

I drank my coffee at a leisurely pace and then headed out on the busy coast road up the peninsula. After one long uphill stretch with lots of cars zipping by me I decided “enough of this sh#*” and turned into the next turnout on the right. There was a dolmen standing in the middle of the field, so I decided there was no time like to present to touch my first really, really old stone column.

Frankly I can’t say that I’m too moved by prehistoric stones. I find them interesting but I guess I more the cathedral type. I spent a few minutes communing with it, trying to get a feeling (and of course taking a few pictures) and then moved across the road where there was a huge rocky area overlooking the sea.

Since being on the seashore is something I enjoy but rarely get to experience, I decided at that split second that I wouldn’t ride any farther for the day. The next two and one half hours were spent on this spot, picnicking, relaxing, contemplating life, thinking of my good friend George, whose memorial service was that day. How rare for me – two still hours with no books or computers for company.

I rode back to Quiberon in time to have an ice cream (had to have my last Caramel aux buerre de Fleur de Sel) and do a bit of people watching and then caught the train(s) back to Vannes.

Back at the hotel I got my bags all organized for the trip home and then went out for a last walk around town and dinner. I tell you, one thing I always miss when I come home from vacation is eating dinner out every evening. I do love to cook, but I like being waited on even better.

I had thought to myself all day “oh, I’ll just have a simple little dinner…” Who was I kidding??? It was my last night so I just decided “why not?” and once again ordered a menu.

First course: Gratinée of haddock on a bed of leeks. I do love leeks and this was a very tasty combination of thin slices of the haddock on a bed of sautéed leeks topped with a sprinkling of cheese and then broiled. Yum.

Main course: Filet de Sabre (Cutlass Fish, a white ocean fish) with coques (baby clams), accompanied by a little delicious heap of eggplant puree, a flavorful roasted baby tomato and a lovely zucchini/leek soufflé. It was all very good – the sauce for the fish had a subtle flavor and was creamy enough but not too thick for the delicate fish and the side dishes were all jewels on their own. Yum yum.

Dessert: Crème renversée a l’orange, basically a crème caramel with orange instead of caramel sauce. Fresh and light – the perfect consistency, a delightful ending to my vacation’s restaurant adventures.

Day 11

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