Cancale, the coast and Dinan

Cancale, the oyster village21 June
Having been inland for some weeks, and our previous trip to the coast thwarted by the weather, we headed for the coast again today with a destination of Cancale. Taking small roads and then the small coast road with colourful views of the sea, the sea looked as though someone had painted it in lines of differing hues of blue and grey, changing every time the clouds moved,and there were plenty of them about!  

Cancal is a small village, the seafront educated to the oyster farming for which the sea and particularly the village are famous for. Fairly quiet when we arrived, the tide was high but receding quickly. We parked at the end of the bay and walked towards where the permanent oyster market is held every day. As we got closer there were more and more people around, all their to see the oyster beds, and market brimming with all kinds of oysters. The great thing about the market is the sell the fresh oysters, customers then sit on the sea wall to devour them soaked in fresh lemon juice, the chuck the shells over the sea wall. The whole beach and area surrounding the market is carpeted deeply with empty oyster shells, they look amazing glinting in the sunlight that cracks through the clouds occasionally. Realising I had no plastic bag about my person I couldn’t really collect any of the huge shells just waiting for me to take them home. I resolved to return before we go home to collect some shells. Our return journey was somewhat longer than planned due to the main road being closed and we missed the diversion road! 

The Cotè Emaurad

With the threat of thunderstorms again mid afternoon we set of in reasonable time this morning to see more of the coast before the rain set in. We passed Dinard where we had run from the wind and rain on Mondays it looked a different place in the brightness of today. Following the coast as close as we could, and mainly that was very close, we headed off to the many ‘pointes’ along the rugged coastline. I had forgotten how beautiful this coast is and with the sun finally winning its battle with the clouds it was stunning from each of the viewpoints we stopped at along the way. Now I love my beaches, but Amr finds beaches boring, unless he can fish from them! So when we stopped at one beach which so so inviting, Amr sat on a seat and watched while I indulged and went for a stroll along the sands. The receding tide revealed a multitude of seashells, many I haven’t come across before, so my stroll turned into a shell collecting foray, my pockets soon full, my hands full when I realised I would have to call it a day! I had however come prepared today, plastic bag at the ready in the car!
Further along the coast we walked down to another stunningly beautiful beach, Amr accompanying me now the sun was full out to make sure I wasn’t overdoing it! The beach was full of wonderful shells which we collected in unison until pockets and hands were full again and we returned to the car.  

Our final beach was at St Cast, which is where we started our Eurocamp adventures, over 25 years ago. Eurocamp no longer use the camp we stayed in which is a pity it was a small friendly campsite next to the beach with loads of walks around it. Our route home took us through Dinan, a favourite town of mine, looking very inviting with its narrow medieval streets, but we decided we had done enough for one day and decided to return tomorrow when it’s market day so we can do it justice.

As we arrived back at the campsite, despite us thinking we may get away without it as the sun had been so lovely, just on three o clock, as forecast, the thunder started to roll, and the rain started.

It came and went ferociously the rest of the afternoon and evening, until 11 pm when we were treated/subjected to (depending on your penchant for thunderstorms!) the most ferocious thunder and lightening storm I can ever remember. If someone had said this is the end of the world I would have believed them the noise and light was so horrendous. Of course, one of us was soooo excited about it he was jumping up and down al out as much as the rain which was thundering down upon us! Even the electrify going off didn’t daunt him, it gave him the opportunity to brave the rain and retrieve our lantern from the car!


23 June

I love Dinan and its medieval buildings and winding streets and today was market day which only adds to its character. Luckily the weather, although hazy damp and foggy, wasn’t raining as forecast. Now when a market comes to a French town it usually takes over the main square, usually dedicated to parking. That means all other parking spaces are at a premium, and today was no exception. Having made a right turn, following two other cars, to find that the road was blocked for the market and the only other exit was a one way street, four cars, us being number three, tiring to go one way and blocked, two cars legitimately trying to get through ended in chaos!! One car eventually did a u turn but could go no further as others were blocking the road, one decided to get out and remove the road blocks set up to protect the market and proceeded through! So Amr did a 66 point turn! to return the way we had come, eventually squeezing out past the first driver still trying to get into the care park overtaken by the market! 

We proceeded through the town with dozens of other drivers all seeking the same thing, somewhere to leave the car, and eventually turned into a road for a car park to find six other cars had done the same, but as there was as big a queue coming out of the car park as was trying to get in we patiently waited, watching people coming out not knowing how to put the ticket in the machine to release them causing more frustration with waiting drivers wanting to get out, and others trying to get in who couldn’t understand that it didn’t matter how many times you push the button, the ticket would not be released nor the barrier open until someone had come out and released a space!! It was comical and we could only sit and wait and laugh!

When we finally managed to park the car we emerged onto the Main Street next to the market square. The market was in full swing, a mixture of fruit and veg, cheese, olives and the usual chicken rotisserie along with clothes, hats and a variety of local artists selling their wares. After examining all the stars we wandered through the streets remembering times we have visited before, with the kids, on our own and with John and Sue. We found our way down a steeply declining street which we hadn’t been down before and ended up at the port by the river, which was lovely and the cafes and restaurants by the river were doing a fair trade, even in the light rain which had us donning raincoats but not needing the umbrella. On climbing back up the steep hill back into the main town the market was closing and we decided it was time for us to leave too.

The rain was kind enough to hold off until we came out of the supermarket on the way home when it started with a vengeance, and continues to do so

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