Pont du Loc

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8 travelers at this place

  • Day49

    Signs of the Camino

    October 8, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Although I have been to France many times and have ridden and driven many thousands of kilometres all around the country, I have to admit that there is one feature that I had never noticed before. Next year I will be bringing a group 16 Ghostriders (Ghostwalkers ?) to Europe to walk the famous pilgrim trail from Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees to Santiago.

    Although this route (the so called "Spanish Camino") is the most well known version of the walk, there are in fact dozens of different routes scattered all over Europe. The word Camino simply means "The Way" and the true pilgrims started their pilgrimage from their own front door and then walked all the way to Santiago. The cathedral there is supposed to contain the body of St James and this is the reason why tens of thousands of people still complete this pilgrimage every year.

    The symbol of the Camino is the scallop shell. The radiating lines of the shell indicate that there are many possible starting points but only one destination. Scattered all over France are numerous camino paths and these are most commonly marked with brass scallop shells on the footpaths. Sometimes the way is marked with a green arrow or some other symbol.

    Because we will be completing our own "Camino" in 2018 I have been more alert to these symbols and have been amazed at how often they appear, especially near the locations of famous cathedrals or abbeys. I have attached some images as well as a map showing some of the versions of the French Camino
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  • Day48

    Return to Auray

    October 7, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    I have to admit that the more we see of Brittany, the more we fall in love with it. After spending several days in Vannes we thought we had discovered a city that was just about perfect. Not too big and not too small and with a fantastic assortment of restaurants, tea houses, shops, parks, gardens and an amazing medieval city centre dating back to the 1500s. It was just the sort of place that we could imagine spending a year in if only we had the opportunity.

    Although we were sorry to finally leave Vannes, our train tickets and hotel had already been booked for our next stop. We packed our bags once again (why do they always seem to be getting heavier ?) and wheeled them the 1.3 km back to the railway station. We were both relieved that we seem to have settled in to a prolonged period of fine and sunny weather, so the walk was more of a pleasure than a chore.

    We arrived at the station just in time for a succession of announcements about train cancellations. It was just as well that our French has improved enough for us to now be able to understand quite a bit of what was being said. Dozens of passengers (most with luggage) started to file off the waiting train. This did not auger well for our trip. When we asked at the ticket office whether our train would be affected, we were met with a polite "je ne sais pas". We sat down in the station and waited.

    The same passengers that had filed past us some time ago filed back in the opposite direction, and then once again for good measure back outside again. It was obvious that no one had any idea what was going on. As I have said many times before, life in France is NEVER boring.

    When we finally boarded our train we were relieved to find that it was almost empty. We sat down with our luggage for the short trip to nearby Auray Le Loch. On arrival we caught a taxi to take us the 2.4 km to our hotel ( a little too far to walk with luggage). We were thrilled to find our hotel was situated right on the edge of town, in the middle of a forest. It was like being in a marvellous tree house. And that is one of the most delightful aspects of travel in Europe - you never know just what to expect of your next hotel until you are actually there.

    After dropping off our luggage we walked through the forest to the old port. If we loved Vannes, we quickly adored Auray. It is a beautiful town with a lovely city centre and a beautiful port. The streets are quiet and clean and the many city bells are a regular reminder that we really are in France.

    We had briefly visited here 4 years ago and had a rather traumatic experience when I accidentally drove our rental car right into the middle of the port (not knowing that I was driving the wrong way up a one way street). At that time I did not take much notice of the surroundings, I just wanted to escape with ourselves and the rental car intact. This time we have allowed 3 days to explore the town. We then catch the train back to Paris where we will be staying for 4 nights before the long flight back to Melbourne.
    C'est la vie.
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Pont du Loc