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Travel mojo restored in Granville

(written by Dave)

Are we bicycle tourists or are we tourists who happen to be travelling by bicycle?  That’s a good question.  We are quite pleased that we completed the JOGLE (the top to bottom traverse of the UK) but one of the side effects of doing this route was that it put us a little into “heads down” travel mode.  We knew that w could make it to Lands End but over time it became the end goal and the act of traveling lost some of the focus.  Leaving the UK in head down mode, we set a goal for Barcelona, first via Spain, then modified due to ferry strike, via France.  When it became clear to us that the weather was going to make crossing the Pyrenees very difficult we sort of felt like we had failed or let ourselves down.  This may have come through in our last couple posts.

Having pulled the plug on Barcelona, we decided to stay here in Granville and have a look around.  And boy are we glad that we did.  We’ve had a great day here today and I am pleased to report that our travel mojo has been fully restored.

We started the day late.  Our guest house bedroom has an automatic blind that completely blocks out the sun.  We did not know this and no light this morning meant that we managed to sleep past our agreed time for brekkie.  Slightly embarrassed we turned up for 30 minutes late.  Never mind, our hosts Therese and Maurice were most gracious.  They greeted us warmly with a great spread of fresh bread, homemade jams and giant bowls of coffee.  Therese had to shoot off for her power walking session but Maurice sat with us for over an hour, sharing all sorts of stories.  This would be entertaining under normal circumstances but it was made even more fun because Maurice speaks very little English.  The entire conversation was in French, meaning great practice and re-learning for Nancy and me.  We exited the breakfast room with smiles on our faces and some great tips of what to see and do in a day’s wander about Granville.

Reinvigorated we headed for old town Granville.  Our first stop was Notre-Dame du Cap Lihou Church.  The church has had many different phases of construction with the first being in the 1400s.  Given Granville’s association with the sea, the church had many nautical items, along with some very impressive stained-glass windows.  The church is quite large and we had it completely to ourselves for the better part of an hour.

We next walked the old town city walls out to a point where there is a light house and many German WWII battlements.  The battlements were part of what the Germans called the Atlantic Wall.  The wall was not a contiguous wall but rather a series of different types of fortifications.  Like everywhere else, fortifications here were meant to withstand great bombardment and thus are still in pretty good shape.  Today, they provide a silent reminder of how crazy the world was back in the 1940s.

Eventually we needed nourriture (food), so we stopped for déjeuner (lunch) at a restaurant that Maurice had recommended.  We both tried a form of gallette, which is a casserole of baked cheese, crepe and filling.  I had the seafood version, Nancy had the smoked salmon.  Accompanied by a glass of Bordeaux and Cote du Rhone red wine each, we were in food heaven.  It didn’t hurt that we were sitting in a 400 year old building with a log fire, in the heart of a classic old Normandy costal village.  It was probably about midway through lunch that our travel mojo returned.  We stopped feeling bad for not pushing on through to Barcelona and started to feel good (make that great) about being in somewhere in Normandy, France and discovering hidden corners that we would have missed otherwise [editor’s note – see what having a glass of wine with lunch will do for you?].

After lunch we headed back down to the harbor foreshore to have a look a few of the nautical shops.  While there were many boats for sale, none of them caught my eye enough to push Nancy’s “no boats Dave” rule.  We were however, completely entertained by a group of junior sailing cadets with matching red, green and yellow sails.  They were towed out into the shallow part of the bay, cut loose and best we could tell, told to go sail.  Mostly they went in one direction, with only a few seeming to not get it, heading in the opposite direction.  They seemed to be having a ball, but I can’t imagine how the class master in a small runabout was going to get them all gathered up for a safe return to the harbor.

We walked town a bit more then stopped at a store for dinner supplies.  Our guest house has a mini-kitchenette (yes, that makes it super small).  We are getting into the French culture, have a really big and filling lunch, and then only have a small dinner.  It’s almost 7PM and neither of us is particularly hungry as yet.

So, now where?  We are staying here two more days.  Tomorrow there is a weekly market in town.  Therese gave us the run down on what sort things that they have.  It seems that we won’t starve tomorrow either.  Sunday we are planning on taking a bus out to Mount St Michel, one of the iconic sights of Normandy.  Had we stayed in “heads down” mode, we certainly would have skipped Mount St Michel.  Mojo restored, we are looking forward to seeing it.

On Monday we’ll start working our way towards Paris.  I am trying to talk Nancy into riding a few days back up towards that Normandy coast to check out some more of the D-day sights.  The weather will probably be the deciding factor.  Whatever we decide, thanks in large part to Granville and our pause here, we are looking forward to that last couple weeks of our trip, regardless of how many k’s we ride.

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7 responses to “Travel mojo restored in Granville

  1. Lovely place! Thought you were working on the ‘Art’ of travel – rather than the ‘Act’ of travel…….. more breaks like this one!

  2. Awesome. I’m always telling Pete it is all about the journey, but he still thinks it’s all about the miles! Enjoy your last few weeks and to heck with the bicycling k’s. Keep the pictures coming..it looks fabulous!

  3. Yum! I want some of that lunch!

  4. I like the bright blue doors and the narrow streets! AND the gallette looks delicious! Pictures ‘feel’ more relaxed so enjoy!

    • Nice old town area like those we saw when you were in Nice with us. If only the rain would stop! But it just gives us an excuse to hang out in cafes and eat pastries, which isn’t too bad.

      See you soon! Nancy

      ________________________________

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