Today will be my one full, final day (for now) with members of my family. They have been here several times before visiting Julia and are keen to show me some of the sights.
Carnac, probably above all other parts of Brittany, is famous for its masses and masses of mysteriously placed megalith stones, or menhirs that are arranged in long, numerous parallel lines running along an east to west axis. As with so many such sites of anthropological history, and mystery nobody really knows how or why the stones were found, brough to the sites and arranged in the manner that they are.
They vary in size and prevalence but are seen here in very large collections indeed. Fields of them in some cases, with lines occasionally only broken by the fact that over the centuries some were taken away to use as house-building materials. There are some 4000 standing stones in all! They can be found over a 4km area and even crop up in the gardens and lands that have become encompassed by peoples’ homes such as those in the tiny ‘Village du Menac’.
The Carnac stone alignments, the little guide informs us, were built in the Neolithic era which in the Armorican region covers the time 5000 to 2000 BC. There are various theories (as with such sites as Stone Henge in England) as to their meaning whether it be fertility, or religious rites, time keeping or other purpose but nobody really knows.
Julia assures us that certain stones over time have been excavated and lead to disproval of the theory that they may be large burial sites. Nothing was found.
We next drive along to the ’Tumulus de St.Michel’. This is a large earth hillock, often built or excavated to enclose a tomb, and in this case atop of which rests a small church. Stuart and I ascend a steep, uneven stone staircase up the hill side to the church whilst the others amble up the milder slope on the other side, where at the top we meet to admire the view. We then pop along the road, further through Carnac, to a small historical viewing tower that can be climbed to look out over yet another field or two of the ancient menhirs.
We return home for a spot of lunch and relaxation before arsing about in the communal swimming for a little while.
The boys and I stroll to a nearby bar to do a bit of internet action before returning to the flat where tonight we are treated by Julia to a traditional meal of home-made gallettes (savoury pancakes, often with an egg placed in the middle) followed by sweet crepes. She has a special table-top hob upon which the mixtures she’s prepared can be ladled at which point it’s down to the hapless chefs (all of us on a steep learning curve) to coax the mixture into something resembling a circle before chucking our choice of ingredients into the mix. Absolutely delicious and (disappointingly!) no pancake disasters from anyone! I sink 3 galettes and 3 crepes before I too sink slowly into slumber-mode. Happy and fat. Good times, good company and good food I remind myself will not always be so easy to hand upon The Road. But that’s all part of the adventure of course. Early to bed now. I have an early train to Paris in the morning.
Underwater family, (L-R): Julia, Di, Si & Stu.