A spot of bother....
Morlaix Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
We had great plans for our second weekend in France. The sun was shining.... occasionally (we've since come to relish these elusive moments of brightness in an otherwise dreary winter environment) and we'd packed our bags for a trip down south. We were headed to the land of vineyards, the howling Mistral and the home of our friends, la famille Espinasse.
We had made rather elaborate plans to drive from Lannion to Brest, fly from Brest to Lyon and then take the train from Lyon to Orange (the closest we could get to their village), where our friends would pick us up and treat us to a relaxing weekend of good food, wine and sightseeing.
Airline employees are always on the lookout for and at the mercy of any potential problems that may occur when traveling but we had been "assured" (in airline "speak"), that our desired flight had plenty of seats available (for those of us who are silly enough to believe them).
We drove the 30 or so miles to Brest, arriving in plenty of time to admire the new airport terminal which had been built since we last visited the city less than two years ago. There weren't alot of people queued at the counters so my "nonrev" radar was lulled into a false sense of security as I approached the man at the check-in desk.
The agent looked at the tickets, then looked at me, then looked back at the tickets, while executing that famous French shrug of the shoulders, which told me that we had no chance (in you know where) of getting on a plane that day. "Mais, madame, le vol à Lyon est complet. " As disbelief registered on my face, I asked..... "What about the next flight?" "Tous les vols sont complets" he announced with a certain amount of satisfaction in his voice. To add insult to injury, there were five people waiting for seats ahead of us.
He scrutinized the tickets once again as if he couldn't believe we actually expected to use them there. "But you have not paid very much money for these tickets!" he exclaimed. "Even if there were seats available through Paris (which there were not) you could not use these tickets."
I was a bit shell shocked as I tried to explain to Mark why we wouldn't be flying today. The only thing I felt good about, at this moment, was the fact that I'd understood every word he had spoken in French.....but that was a very small concellation.
I phoned our friends, to explain and apologize for our change in plans, while Mark had already started work on "Plan B".
Morlaix sits in a very pretty position, at the bottom of a valley and smack on top of the river that runs through it. As a matter of fact, because part of the river was covered over to allow for more building space, the valley occasionally floods as there is no other place for the water to go. A very picturesque, shop lined boulevard sits on top of the river, which allows pedestrian traffic only, to more fully appreciate its splendor.
To get a better view of the city, Mark and I climbed the innumerable stone steps leading up to the viaduct but were disappointed to see the access to the lower level had been gated and locked. Our friend André told us later that the walkway had to be closed off due to the high number of suicides which had taken place on the site. One could make a similar comparison to the suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco although the landing might be a bit different.
We were in an area of France famous for its gallettes and crêpes as well as its cidre. We found a lovely little side street not far from the city center which was crammed with cafés and restaurants of every conceivable nationality: Italian, Moroccan, Thai and of course an over abundance of Crêperies. We walked up and down, reading menus and discussing the merits of one eating establishment over another until we finally decided on a cosy little Crêperie filled with tiny tables in dark corners.
We each selected a gallette de blè noir ( a huge crêpe made from buckwheat flour) which was filled with a selection of fruits de mer: scallops, mussels and shrimp. Mark's selection featured a cream sauce made with onion, rich butter and white wine, while my choice contained the same delicacies, except they were smothered in a tomato based sauce with a hint of garlic and herbs.
The only possible accompanyment to a meal of this stature was a pitcher of locally made cidre.
Well, looks like there is hope for us yet.......... just let me have another litre of that cidre and I'll sound like a native!