Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Holidays in Brittany

I got back on Sunday from a weeks holiday in Brittany. Well half holiday, I was looking after the girls too but it didn't really feel like work. We were staying in Romain's grandmother's house in a hamlet near Vannes where his parents are also living at the moment. And it was with his parents and grandmother that I spent most of the week, along with the girls, as K&R had to return to Paris to work. It was lovely to be in the countryside, it felt like being back in Herefordshire. We spent lots of time by the sea too. The girls had a great time picking up lots of different shells, playing with kite (cerf-volonte) and building sandcastles, despite the cold.

The Brittany coastline is apparently famous for its wild, rough seas and we saw some pretty spectacular waves on the Bay of Biscay.

Although  the waves we saw were nothing compared to this picture I saw a few days later of the waves crashing over a lighthouse! Incredible.

We visited the towns and villages nearby including Saint Anne d'Auray, which is a place of pilgrimage and has a beautiful church and basilica. And Saint Goustan which has a very pretty port which you can see from the photo below. There is also the best chocolate shop which also sells an incredible thing called Kouing-Aman, a Breton pastry speciality with a caramelised top. Absolutely delicious. Plus a place called Trinitaine sur Mer which is famous for its biscuits. I can't describe how well I ate last week, Mamie is a brilliant cook and loves cooking desserts so I was munching away all week, so happily.

It was also of course a whole week of FRENCH!! Speaking and hearing French constantly (apart from with the girls). I feel like my level shot right up. They were so brilliant with me; patient and clear but also talking about interesting things, not just superficial conversations. That's something I've noticed here is how much everyone talks about real issues, the news, culture, history. The concept of small talk doesn't really exist with French people, or so my experience has been. Not that all my conversations in England are small talk, I think I have a good balance between the two but here it is constant - what do you think of the current situation in Libya? Who is your favourite historical figure and why? Let me tell you about the intricacies of painting. And so on and so on. All very interesting stuff, but when it's in French too, it's quite tiring (in a physical sense, not a boring sense).
It was a great week and this weekend I'm going back to Bristol which I equally can't wait for. 

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