Well, I don't know which way to go.
I know it's not exactly good form to go down to breakfast without one's shoes, but I couldn't get mine on my feet. The long trek on "trains, planes and automobiles" , not to mention on foot, had taken their toll. My feet rebelled by refusing to conform to my shoes now that they had been off overnight. I'm wearing all black....maybe no-one will notice. Where is a nice hot basin of water when you need it?
Ah......the shower felt so good this morning. I didn't even mind trying to figure out how the French plumbing system worked. At home, we have a simple little handle in the shower that turns on, then off. The French system, much like the English system involves several nozzles, buttons, things that twist and turn and numerous choices of where the water will come out.
Strolling into the town centre of Lannion.
It is alot like when I try to use the remote control on the TV at home. I can eventually turn things on but have a hard time remembering how to turn things off. I had that moment of panic when I forgot which button to turn to get the water to go off and inadvertently gave myself a cold blast when I turned the temperature control instead.
But, all was right with the world once more as we sat down to breakfast. An oversized cup of steaming coffee, pain au chocolat, orange juice, cereal, baguette with butter and jam and convivial conversation with our hosts, M. and Mme. Stervinou. We have been made to feel very much at home here which has added to our enjoyment of the entire French experience. Mark headed off to work with his French counterpart who arrived to take him to the local offices just 5 minutes down the road and I headed upstairs to put my feet up while taking care of some postcard writing and blog composition.
When was the last time you grew flowers on your house?
As an interesting aside, although this area of Bretagne, known as la Cote de Granit Rose (coast of rose granite) has a rich history that goes back thousands of years, Lannion, especially, is a dominant center of technology, ie: engineering, telecommunications, fiber optics, etc. and houses well known corporations such as Lucent and Alcatel. It is this technology that brings us to France as Mark does his "engineering thing" while I do my best to keep up my end with the "sightseeing thing".
By the time that I decided to walk into Lannion town centre it was nearly lunchtime and my feet were willing to slip into my shoes without too much of an argument.
The entrance to a small park in Lannion.
I retraced our steps from the evening before, leaving out some of the circles we had made in the process. As I approached town, the lack of civilization struck me as a bit odd and I felt like I was on an empty movie set that was built to portray a foreign locale. Shop after shop was locked shut, in many cases with shutters closed. My first thought was that the French really take their lunch time seriously and are less interested in the odd tourist with a Euro to spend than in satisfying their noonday appetites over a lush, gourmet, 3 course meal with a bottle of wine thrown in for good measure. I even asked the shopkeeper at the lone store I could find open if it was a holiday today. No, it is MONDAY and most establishments are closed.
A picture of the vegetable garden taken from our bedroom window at Le Grand Chene.
So, I had the double whammy......not only were most of the shops closed, the ones that were open were closed for lunch anyway for at least an hour and a half and in some cases two hours. I decided then and there that we really need to adopt some of these customs in the U.S. The French have the right idea about enjoying life. Work will always be around so why be in a hurry?
I roamed the town, squeezing out whatever shopping I could find in the odd place that might be open. That included time in the post office as well as a small grocery store where I purchased my obligatory baguette, cheese and ham and relived my sandwich making days of the first time I had ever been to France in 1973. I strolled along the streets doing what the French call, "lecher la vitrine".
Our French refrigerator.
...or licking the windowpanes or to better explain......windowshopping since that was all that was available in most cases. I was struck by the multitudes of real estate establishments in the town, which would be similar to a church on every corner in Oklahoma or a bank on every block in Texas. I let my imagination run into overtime as I picked out our next house and compared what we could get if we expanded the budget by a few thousand Euros. I think I must have walked 20 miles when all was said and done....well probably not really but my feet were beginning to quarrel with me again and I didn't much care for losing this argument. I decided to head back "home", making a few detours along the way as I scouted out the supermarket and craft store not too far from the house.
The local surgeon down the block from our B&B. No, I haven't been there, yet.
Another cup of tea along with Bretagne butter biscuits was the order of the day.
Mark returned from work and surveyed my sockless left foot with eyebrows raised. "What did you do to your foot"? The traces of blood clinging to my two smallest toes gave it away I guess. That and the fact that I NEVER take my socks off except for time in the shower. My toenails had embedded themselves into the flesh of the neighboring toe as revenge for time spent "on foot" instead of "in car". "It'll be okay as long as I stay off it for awhile", I said as we got ready to go into town for dinner. M. Stervinou once again had graciously offered to drop us into town as well as give us a mini-tour of Lannion in the process. We hopped out of the car near the restaurant where we had eaten the night before.
A local pub in town.
We'll walk from here since it was still daylight and Mark could get a better view of the area with which I was now very familiar. Upon deciding that we didn't have the apetite for a full blown meal, we returned to the little grocery and loaded up on smoked salmon sandwiches, salad, fruit, chocolate, milk, cheese and bread. We passed up the chance to say hello to our friend the policeman on our way back to the house. Using the windowledge as our temporary refrigerator since it had turned off chilly, we fashioned an impromptu snack as we relaxed for the remainder of the evening. A loaf of bread, a glass of wine and thou.............well, we forgot the wine but there was plenty of bread left!