Friday, 19 December 2014

Sore feet on Day XI: Pas de velo, pas de bateaux !

This is my fourth time in Saint Malo.  Three times I have been here and I've never taken the ferry from Saint Malo across the mouth of the Rance to Dinard.  So I had planned it for today, given the forecast for rainy weather.  But it seems that this ferry only runs between April and October.  I'm not sure whether the stormier weather or the lack of tourists during the winter months is to blame. 

I'm wide awake at 4 am again. Which time zone am I sleeping according to ??? OMFG: I live on somewhere between Moscow and Islamabad time !  Couldn't I have chosen Fiji?

Blame it on all this time confusion, that I call Chantal at 5:30 pm my time.  That should be 8:30 am Vancouver time. I am utterly confused when she tells me that she's at work. "You are working Saturdays?" I ask.  "No, Its Friday", she replies.  Oh, right. Vancouver is 9 hours BEHIND on the same day.  This isn't Hong Kong, where the other calculation would work.

Before breakfast I look out over the ocean. It's still PITCH dark out there.  But there are lots of little lights moving back and forth.  Under-the-cover-of-darkness sea-doo championship racing?   That seems to fail Occam's razor, so I decide on fishing boats trolling in today's catch.

Breakfast is at 7:00 and it's good but not quite worth the money the charge for it.

When I leave the hotel for my first beach march at  8 am it is still dark.  But that has its benefits as the following pics show ;-).

The Post office opens at 8:30 am, so this is the brightness level at about 8:45 am:

This is why I keep coming back here: It's not a beach but a mirror!

At 9:30 a seagull (by its looks it could very well be the same one as yesterday) has discovered the piece of bread on the railing and after consuming it sits patiently on the railing and looks at me typing away at the computer.  It's not even scared when I open the balcony door to throw it another larger piece, which it catches on the way to street level with incomparable grace/poise.

Naturally, it comes right back and tries to look hungry.
I head back down to the beach.  As a teenager there was a few painters I liked. Sure, Salvador Dali was one of them, but I remember another one by the name of Yves Tanguy.  I even once tried to paint something in his style.

To me it looks like he is just adding flotsam and jetsam to the beach I am standing on.

Mid December. Thank you Gulf Stream !

Fortunately I am one of a small group in love with this beach

I had already found out yesterday that the bicycle rental places were not operating during the low season.  I then find out that La Renard, which I sailed on in 2013, does not operate past October either.  But what really irks me is the fact that the ferry to Dinard has stopped its service during the low season as well!

No Pirateering during low season !

Or maybe they just sank their last ferry boat?

My walk seems to lead me once around the outside of Intramuros, the walled tourist heart of Saint Malo.  When close to the main gates of Intramuros I see many people in fancy coats (fur and not fur) and most women seem to prefer expesnive-looking shoes with heels that would have them fall over backwards if they ever set foot on the beach.  For them a holiday at the sea seems to consist of click-clicking on their heels from fancy store to fancy store without ever coming close to the ocean.   

I, on the other hand, am wearing perfectly sensible heels and climb down this latter to reach yet another beach.

A secret underwater exit/entrance

Spoil your seagulls while they're still alive !

By the time I get back to 'my' beach, my feet aren't talking to me any more.  A plan to walk to the supermarket to buy some more wine is abandoned as a peace offering to my feet. Instead I tell them to take me to a Creperie.  My feet are happy that they don't have to work for a bit and I delight in the view ;-)

I order 'un quart de Rose'. However, somehow I end up not with 'un quart' (0.25 l), not even 'une demi-bouteille' (0.375 l), but with 'un demi litre' (0.5 l). Ah well. When in Rome .... 
I order a Gallette avec Noix de Saint Jaques 

While we are on the subject of Noix de Saint Jacques, known in the English-speaking world as Scallops or Pilgrim Mussel, or Saint James Scallop, etc etc.:  First of all, the stuff sold as scallops in the freezers of Canada is a joke. It's garbage, as anyone will attest to who ever had one of a decent size that was never frozen and that was most likely caught on the same morning.

So the things that are hidden from view in my Gallette look like these (kind of):  

But what are they?  NO, they are not what the literal translation suggests. Noix de St Jacques are NOT actually Holy Jack's Nuts even though that is what it translates as ;-)

They are actually the closing muscle of a shell that looks like this one:  

Now, this should remind you of 2 other images:

Boticelli's Birth of Venus
... and ...
Big Bad Oil company
Last year I brought my grandmother 2 souvenirs of my trip of Brittany.  2 fine examples of the shells depicted above. Only: There were completely flat.  What happened?  I tried to explain to Grandma that I didn't bring her plastic imitations but that these were maybe driven over by a beach-cleaning tractor, which gave them their flat shape.  Grandma was not convinced and the riddle of the FLAT scallop shells remained unsolved.  

Until today !

I went to the local Intermarche (a supermarket)

And I see a whole basket of the actual article on sale.  Scallops still in their shells.

And behold: upon closer inspection, each animal has one flat shell and one convex shell.
Riddle solved!

All is well in ocean-view country ;-)  Bon nuit!

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