Across Continents

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Lost in France

At least this time there were no tigers. A previous visit, many years ago, to a place called Bellevue – then a zoo on the outskirts of Manchester – had ended rather abruptly with the entire family being urinated on by one such large cat. Who says humour is the preserve of homo sapiens?

No, this Bellevue, a campsite on the Brittany coast, east of St Brieux, was a more tame affair. Just the incessant flapping of flags, Brittany’s own black and white affair being given equal prominence with the French Tricolor. Pierrick was the proprietor, receptionist, chef, barman and consummate host, effortlessly and endlessly switching between each with just the occasional Gaelic shrug. He found my efforts at French difficult at first, asking if perhaps I spoke a little English? ’Oui, Monsieur’ I replied. I wasn’t giving in that easily.

I had planned to be further east towards Le Mont-St-Michel, but it seems the cartographers had skimped on a few details, roads mostly. Frustrated at my progress, compounded by 34 degrees of heat, I stopped at a bar in the small village of St Carreuc. I struck up a conversation with Alain whilst his dog played dead in the oppressive heat outside. He suggested I explore the coast to the east of St Brieux. Tim, back at Etables-sur-Mer, had said something similar.

En route to the next village, Quenay, I mulled over Alain’s advice. At this rate I’d struggle to reach my intended destination by night fall. And they’d be no more opportunity to enjoy cooling sea breezes until Turkey. That was that then.

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