Friday, 26 July 2013

Little French Towns: Hello Kitty and Gherkins

With a very slow start to the morning, the day after we visited Mont Saint Michel, we thought we could stop over in Dinan, as Lonely Planet said it was a nice little medieval town. First, we found parking, and as it was just past midday we planned to go to a creperie called Ahna.

But we got lost. It was a very nice place to get lost. There were loads of old houses and many of the roads were cobbled. It smelled in parts here too. Yannick thinks it is because people in France do not pick up their dog poo.

We happened to just stumble upon the creperie after almost two hours, and it was delicious. A simple ham and cheese galette to start, followed by a specialty of the region - flambeed Calvados crepes, Calvados being an apple liqueur. The waitress who served it to me at one point exclaimed 'Soufflez! Souffez! Souffez!' and I thought she was just getting excited, but Yannick said to me 'blow!' so I blew out this one part of the crepe which had not meant to be on fire. Now I know what soufflez means in that context. We accompanied our meal with a local cider which was one of the best I have had. We hauled ourself back to the car with very full bellies. Shortly after, we found a rest stop and pulled over to have a nap in the shade. 
I woke up to the sound of Yannick eating chocolate.

We found a campsite in Héric. Unlike New Zealand, none of the campsites we stayed at in Europe had a kitchen, and many didn't have soap and/or toilet paper in the toilets.

As we didn't want to buy a large number of loo rolls to lug all over Europe, we tried to find packs of 4. Unfortunately, sometimes the only ones that came in packs of 4 were Hello Kitty loo rolls.


Some of the bendy poles that held our tent together started to splinter and snap, making our tent sad and a bit saggy. We found a nice new tent on sale that was actually a bit larger than our sad one. It's very easy to put up, but not to squeeze back into the bag it came in, so we kept the bag from the old tent and used that one.

We stopped at a town called Arçais which was one place of many where you could see the 'Green Venice', a series of canals turned green by the type of algae-like plant that grows there. 

The stroll along it was very pretty, but sweltering hot, so we stopped for Orangina and an ice cream sundae (Dame Blanche variety) afterwards, then continued south.

Sarlat was our next stop. We wandered the medieval streets trying to find a patisserie that Yannick once went to. We didn't end up finding it, but we did buy two watercolours from an artist running a stall. And now I feel like a grown up because I bought art.

We found a different patisserie and purchased a raspberry tart and a lemon tart. So good! (We have since learned that the patisserie we went to may actually have been the one we were looking for. Funny, that.)

That night after finding a campsite, we went to dinner. We both ordered three course meals, sitting in a courtyard filled with golden light. For entree was cantaloupe and a type of ham like prosciutto. Interesting and delectable. This was when I also found out that I like gherkins again because there were two tiny ones on the plate.
After that I ate the pheasant in thyme cream sauce and Yannick had steak with green pepper sauce. To finish we had ice cream sundaes again. Mine was rum and caramel, his was chocolate sauce on chocolate ice cream. I really enjoyed the meal, and in particular the pheasant.
After we returned to the campsite we laid on the blanket in the shade for a while because we were so full. (Sense a theme?)

We stopped in Auch to see the 'monumental steps' which had a statue of Dartanian (Musketeer). It was a nice stop on our way south.