Day 56: Redon to Josselin - Grampies Tour de France - CycleBlaze

May 21, 2018

Day 56: Redon to Josselin

Our hotel turned out to be just by the train station, so we got to hear quite a bit of that sort of pleasant SNCF jingle that announces the arrival of a train. It did not bother us, though. We are far too tired for that.

Hotel Asther near the station in Redon
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Across the street from the hotel was the covered market, which remarkably was open this holiday Monday. That plus a nearby superette supplied us with all the food we would need for the day. The bakery in the market had little cakes call "financier" that were particularly yummy.

Yummy cakes from the market in Redon
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Beside the market several vendors were producing crepes. I had a confusion about crepes that was cleared up today. Crepes, certainly, are a traditional Bretonne specialty. But they have spread all over France, and the world. And crepes are crepes, no matter where you get them. So what about the confusion? In Quebec City there was a restaurant called "A la Crepe Bretonne". This restaurant used a huge griddle and made crepes that were 18" or more in diameter. Spreading the thin batter over this area was quite a production. The crepes, too, were slightly crispy and crinkled a bit as they were folded over your choice of filling, which could typically be something like ham and eggs.  I grew up thinking that these large crispy crepes were specifically Bretonne ones, while the smaller, floppy ones must be imposter "other" crepes. But today I am officially in Bretonne,  and the crepe I ordered at the market came  small and floppy. So, there you go.

My floppy crepe being made on a normal sized griddle, here in Bretonne. Acording to Wikipedia "Traditionally, the batter should be cooked in a specific device called billig in Breton, galetiere in the local French dialect (galettoire or tuile in Upper Brittany). The batter is spread out onto a disc with a small spatula called a rozell (Breton), rouable or raclette in the local French dialect."
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We zipped around for a quick look at Redon, and collected one shot of the church, one of the chateau, and one of a crooked old bakery, now for rent. This could be Dodie's big chance to go back into the baking business!

Redon - the church
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Redon - the chateau
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Redon - the bakery opportunity!
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Laurie MarczakWrap it up! Mark it Doney!
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11 months ago

Back on the route, it was again a question of the flowered path, the reflective water, and the boaters. If you just want to ride, in very pleasant circumstances, this is the place.

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Cyclists coming down this path from the north have a choice  once they reach the Loire, of going East in the general direction of the Black Sea, or of going West and then South, in the general direction of Spain and Santiago de  Compostella. These choices draw a lot of people down, and so we passed scads of them through the day. One couple that caught our attention, enough for us to call out to them, were Canadians, from Montreal.  They looked impressive, with their full load of bags. They were on a "short" tour this year - Nantes to St Malo to the Mediterranean - two months. Last year they had done the "full" three months.  As usual it was fun to quickly assess their gear and to hear their plans.

The flow of touring cyclists turned into a traffic jam, or perhaps you would call it a little party, at the entrance to the interesting town of Malestroit. The photo shows the basic plug of cyclists, but some more came along and stopped as we chatted.

Cyclists at the entrance to Malestroit
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Malestroit contains the ruin of the chapel of Madeleine, a small church built in 1179. It is famous as the site where a treaty was signed between British and Bretonne armies. This was part of the Hundred Years' War, something that seems far too complicated for me to grasp. I have had an explanation from Leo Woodland, read the wiki article, and now the plaque at the Madeleine. If you are interested, the wiki is pretty good. and if you know French, tell me if this makes sense to you:

So, Phillippe was decapitating his own guys, in November?
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The chapel where the treaty between "England" and "France" was signed.
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Malestroit  had more than just the chapel. It featured a super medieval section with stone wall/slate roof/ half timber houses, and of course, creperies.

Malestroit old town
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Detail from a corner of the above 15th century house
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We continued along the canal, catching interesting sights like the two below:

Gothic looking church steeple at Roc St Andre
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Flowers near a lock
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We had chosen Josselin as a stopping place just as a name on a map at what seemed like a reasonable day's riding distance. But it turned out to be remarkable place, with a giant chateau right on the canal  cycle path and an attractive old town. 

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Our chambre d'hote was also right on the canal, on Canal Street to be specific. The address was given as number 3.  We pulled up to the marked number 4, and assumed that the next door was the one, though that (white) door had no markings at all. So we pulled out the cell and phoned, telling the lady who answered that we were outside, in front of the white door. She said, ok, I'm coming. We waited - to long - but finally a man at number 4 put us straight. He was used to this. During the war, he said, the area had been destroyed. Somehow in putting it back together, number 3 had never gone in. But a block away, still on Canal Street, there was a number 3, and that was our spot.

We were just absorbing this when an old man walked by. He just said out of the blue  (in French) "Do we miss Montreal". No, we said, we are from the West coast. "Oh, he said, with the English - too bad". "We are the English", we replied. We later learned that the man was 84, had never been to Montreal, but had lived in Germany after the war, as part of the army. This triggered some reminiscences about the types of tanks he had driven. Maybe that's why when I took my camera to get his photo he raised his hands - a little PTSD I would guess. The photo shows him in front of the mystery white door.

The veteran and the white door.
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Down at the other end of the street, we did find the B&B of Trish and Tony, English people who had spent many years in Japan. We have yet to ask about how they ended up here. We dumped our bags and set off to see the town. The town is built on a big hill by the canal, and it happens that most of the roads up into it are under  construction. We did find a way, and were glad of the assist from the bikes, because it was really steep.

The village features, again, lots of stone buildings, half timbers, and an impressive church.

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There was music coming from the church, so we went to investigate. There were greeters at the door and though we explained that we are not Christians, we were welcomed in. The atmosphere was slightly like a revival, with upbeat singing and some people kneeling at the front. Only on talking to one of the greeters later did I learn that having had a traditional Pentecote yesterday, today the church was hosting a more upbeat event put on by younger people.

I had my conversation with the greeter more in the format of a French lesson, while I waited for Dodie to come out of the souvenir shop across the street. She found something really super for Gavin, Aurel's son. We will only say it involves his current obsession - cavaliers.

Our room cost a little extra because of its "castle view". I think it's worth it, as I am looking at the castle right now. This is what I see, cool huh.

Castle view room
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Today's ride: 73 km (45 miles)
Total: 3,743 km (2,324 miles)

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