Sleeping in the sardine can like staterooms on the Armorique was very comfortable even with the choppy English Channel swaying the ship back and forth. It was kind of like being rocked to sleep on a waterbed… inside a coffin.
When the automated alarm of Bretagne string music went off, an hour before disembarkation, I had forgotten where I was and thought I was still in my dream of Andy Dufresne’s cell from The Shawshank Redemption.
Once I got my bearings and realised I was in the middle of the ocean on a floating hotel, I took a shower in the miniature bathroom, and headed down to breakfast, and then to disembarkation into Roscoff, Bretagne, and northwestern France.
After the drug dogs sniffed us, and the boarder guards laughed at my passport picture, it was off to the taxi stand at the terminal… where there were no taxis. After waiting for about 15 minutes for a cab, I decided to go ask the information desk if they could call one for us. Walking towards the counter, I started practicing my french.
“Bonjour, pourriez-vous s’il vous plaît manger un taxi? Wait… no, that’s not right… conquérir un taxi? Coiffure? No that’s a barber. What is the word for call?
I kept searching for the correct wording, and wasn’t paying attention when I reached the desk and ended up blurting out “PARLEZ-VOUS TAXI S’IL VOUS PLAÎT!” and smiled my best “I’m really not an idiot” smile.
Turned out that the woman spoke English, French, and taxi cab, and told me that the taxis didn’t start running until 9am in Roscoff (even though the ferry arrived at 8am everyday).
We reached the Roscoff train station about an hour later, and while waiting for the first train out, we found a small cafe and ordered some coffee and tea (which L navigated quite nicely). Then it was off to the Guingamp train station by way of Morlaix where our next host was due to pick us up.
The next B&B, our first in France and called Cap D’Armor B&B, was just outside of the tiny village of Plourac’h.
We didn’t know much about our accommodations except for what was on the AirB&B site… which wasn’t much, but it was the only one in the area and although all of the correspondence had been in English, we were a little nervous. When we were greeted by our host Andre, our fears were alleviated. He was a South African man who had recently retired and was turning this property into a B&B and we were to be his first guests, which was why there was very little info and no reviews online.
Everything was brand new, and well appointed with a simple breakfast of coffee, yogurt, breads and cereal (which is different than the full English breakfasts we had been offered in the UK, and what we were expecting).
The Plourac’h area is home to a few of Brittany’s famous neolithic standing stones or Menhirs, and there was an impressive one very close to Cap D’Armor. Some of these stones date back over 6000 years. Actually, the stone itself is much older than that, but they were moved from many miles away and planted 6000 years ago.
There is also an ancient Roman camp that has yet to be excavated on a hill about 6 km away, that has a newer sculpture garden called La Vallēe des Saints on it, and Andre offered to drive me and drop me off while he went into town for some errands.
The Valley of the Saints was started in 2009 with 7 statues and every summer more are added. They are all of different styles depicting a Breton saint and most are made out of granite. Eventually there will be over 1000 of the statues on this hill, but right now there are about 50.
The first thing that grabbed my eye wasn’t the statues, but the view from the hill. No wonder it was a Roman fort… you can almost see Rome from the summit.
After exploring the hill, I began to notice that La Vallēe des Saints looked like an episode of Doctor Who… and I was up there all by myself.
Sufficiently creeped out, I retreated back to the parking lot and gift shop, being very very careful not to blink.
There was also an old church in downtown Plourac’h… which isn’t really that special since every town in Europe has an old church, but it was peaceful.
There was nowhere to eat really in Plourac’h, so we shared a table with our host for a couple of days, and then he drove us a few kilometers to the northwest to the edge of the forest and our next destination.