30th July : Wetteren - Mont-Dol
7.50am. Ready to leave, so high time to
say goodbye to Mika. Sis arrives around 8.30am. She puts my bike on the car and
... off we go. Destination : La Douce France!
We are impressed by the Pont de Normandie! Waw! What a bridge! My tummy tickles
when crossing it!
GPS is great. Takes us to our destination without any problems. Well ... showed
us the quickest way to Rue de la Mairie in Dol de Bretagne. But ... we had to be
in Rue de la Mairie in Mont Dol, a very small village. Seems in situations like
this, the good old signposts still are of excellent use! We arrive at our
B&B, called Château de Mont-Dol, a genuine castle btw, where we get a
beautiful room on the ground floor. Which is great ... considering ... my HUGE
suitcase! The garden is breathtaking, we love it!
Around 5pm we head for Dol de Bretagne for a walk through this beautiful town
and to do some errands for our lunch tomorrow. We go for a walk in Mont Dol and
return to our room. We are ready for tomorrow's 72km (45miles) long tour...
31st July : Mont-Dol - Mont-Saint-Michel
Oh oh! Not a good start of the day! Being
up early as usual, I head for the bathroom and switch on the light. And ...
WHAM! The lamp bursts and there we are without power! The owners are still
asleep so there's no other option than having a shower in the dark. I ring the
front door again and all is fixed quickly.
After brekkie sis and I get on our bikes to ... immediately take the wrong way!
But! The GPS tells us right away and off we go ... uphill! When I looked at
today's profile I thought : "Oh my goodness! That looks like L'Alpe d'Huez,
Le Mont Ventoux, L'Aubisque and Le Peyresourde one after the other." Not only
does it LOOK like it, it also FEELS like it! The 1st climb is steep, the
second one even worse! Haven't got the faintest how to work those gears and have
to get off of the bike a few times. Not easy either, cos I have to push the bike
till I reach the top! Sis has less problems. We ride as far as Mont Saint
Michel, but won't visit it today, since we already have to cycle 45 miles. But
... the last 20 miles are as good as completely flat! LOVE IT!!
1st August : Mont-Dol - Saint-Malo
Brekkie in Chateau de Mont-Dol. Landlord
Yannick asks about yesterday. I tell him I'm not very fond - to put it very
mildly - of the French hills, but that I'm convinced we have the worst behind
us. He smiles and says : "Tu verras..." You will see... I dare not ask
more!! He'll take our luggage to Saint-Malo and promises to hoot when he passes.
In Cancale we eat the best oysters ever and I (think I)'m ready for the next
climb! STEEP! Very steep! Still haven't managed working the gears and ... you
guessed ... have to get off of the bike ... again! Yannick was right!! I saw!!
And how!! Sis changes gear too brusquely and the chain slips of the gear! Anyway, being the mechanic wiz she is, she
has fixed it in no time and we continue our tour. I manage to reset my computer
twice, so no data for me today..
In Saint-Malo we find we have arrived before our luggage. Ha! Yannick probably
thinks we are a lot slower!! Clever as we are we have taken extra clothes and
bathing stuff with us and after a very refreshing shower we are ready to attack
First stop : Condorferries. Tomorrow we're visitng Jersey and we want to be
prepared. Seems we have to be at the ferry at .. 7am!! There goes brekkie!
"I" am not that worried about the getting up early ... sis on the
other hand ... We walk as far as the embarkation spot to make sure we won't take
the wrong way and ... won't be late tomorrow!
We start our tour through the very busy streets of Saint-Malo and visit the
ramparts. We are hungry and choose for the pizzeria of Hotel Saint-Malo. Sis and
I decide to have the Escalope Milanese with pasta, a white Martini and a glass of
white wine. While drinking our Martini, we smell something burning. Sis says :
"I hope it isn't our dinner!" Mmmmm, when they bring our Escalopes,
sis notices hers is burnt too much. Mind you, the worst part is faced towards
the plate to hide the black crust. When the waitress comes back with lemon, sis
tells her she won't eat burnt meat and after some discussion gets another
We end the day with a short walk.
Missing iPod. When we get back in our
room, sis wants to listen to some music. She goes to the desk to take her iPod
but notices it isn't there. We search the room and the luggage, that has been
put into our room now : no iPod. 2 possibilities : sis left it in her car in
Mont-Dol, which would've been purely by accident, cos she wanted to keep it with
her, or someone stole it. We will have to wait till we're back in Mont-Dol.
2nd August : Tour on Jersey
Alarms set for 6 and 6.15am. Early!
Especially when you're having holidays! But! We don't want to miss the ferry to
No breakfast in the hotel this time of day. We have a croissant and a chocolate
roll, so we won't starve. Rather chilly and very cloudy, not what we expected!
We are wearing bike shorts and I left the raincoat in the hotel. Hope I won't
We start our tour near the Tourist Information in St.Helier. We have decided not
to take the route that covers the east of the island. According to the tour
organiser that one has very stiff climbs. We head west towards the Corbière
Lighthouse. Now these are roads after my heart! As good as ... completely flat!
Part of it used to be a railroad.
We change our sleeveless shirts to shirts with sleeves and turn left to visit
Lavender Farm, where we have hot lavender tea. Ha! That helps against this
When we reach the Corbière Lighthouse, we are pretty hungry ... and ... pretty
cold. There's a very bleak wind and all we see is an ... ice cream stand! The
lighthouse is completely surrounded by water. When we turn round to ride back,
we notice The Lighthouse Phare hotel and restaurant. Food! At last! But .. we
are early ... we have to wait till 12pm ... British time that is. Our empty
stomachs are on continental time! Anyway, it is worth waiting. We get a
delicious meal : Salmon with Prawns and Mussels baked in white wine with a lemon
and dill sauce. For me with chips and a salad. For sis with sautéed potatoes
and roasted veggies. All for £10.95 each! What a difference with yesterday!
The window has a view of the lighthouse and we can see the tide is turning. The
path that leads to the lighthouse is becoming visible metre by metre. We can
also see ... it's pouring with rain! A good thing we are inside!
When it stops raining we cycle back to St. Helier where we visit the town.
Unfortunately the Market Halls are closed as from 2pm on Thursday.
On the way back to France, the ferry is completely full and things are so busy
we arrive in Saint-Malo with quite a bit of delay. It's 10pm when we finally are
back at the hotel. Has been a long day!
3rd August : Saint-Malo - Dinan
Brekkie at 8.30. We aren't in a hurry. A
cute card on the table tells us it's going to be a sunny day. Seems yesterday's
weather was a lot worse here than it was in Jersey!
Short trip from Saint-Malo to Dinan, 42km, that's 26 miles. I don't like the
profile, a lot of uphill and downhill. But we have all the time in the world and
... like I said, we aren't in a hurry. Sis even takes time for some paddling in
Dinard. She's having a chat with two Czech female cyclists and tells them you
can take much more beautiful piccies from the beach than from the promenade ...
but ... they are in a hurry. Shame...
Guess what! I finally manage how to work those gears and ... don't have to get
off of my bike once!! Good on me!
When we almost reach our destination, we treat ourselves to some delicious ice
The street of our B&B is very narrow, very steep, built with cobbles and
full of walking tourists. We are very pleased when we see the sign that says you
can't cycle here. As if that is possible! Mind you we saw a mountainbiker ride
the whole climb early in the morning when there were as good as no pedestrians!
Chapeau! "C'est dur, dur", he says while passing us.
Beautiful location, great room! But we have to carry the bikes up a few stairs.
OK, I admit, not "we", but sis... This will have to be done a few
times. We are happy to see our luggage has arrived before us. You can't believe
how glad I am to see that heavy suitcase in my room. Dare not think of having to
carry that upstairs ... yes ... more stairs to our room ... all by myself. I guess
the taxi driver did it.
We find out the restaurants don't open till 7pm, so we have time for a walk.
Dinan is a very beautiful medieval village and I can feel in my bones I'm going
to spend extra money here.
We choose Le Cottage and are lucky there still is a free table inside. The place
has been fully booked. I have the grilled (on the open fire) entrecôte and sis
the pavé de saumon rôti. Délicieux!
We return to the B&B and I have a look at tomorrow's profile ... oh oh ...
4th August : Tour round Dinan
Gorgeous weather for today's tour round
Dinan. I'm not happy with the profile. There's this rather long climb which
doesn't seem to end at all! Oh well, we'll see. First we have to go down the Rue
du Petit-fort. On foot that is. Those cobbles are very slippery, so we
proceed very carefully.
The first miles are rather flat along the water, but pretty soon we have to
climb and how! But ... that rather long climb I feared so much is actually
pretty easy. We're climbing gradually over a long distance, a piece of cake it
is! Which can't be said about the next climb! STEEP!! Followed by ... yes ... a
very steep descent. I look at my speedometer and decide 45kph (28mph) is
fast enough, so I use my brakes. Sis doesn't! I see her falling away and when
checking afterwards it seems she was riding 51.2kph (32mph)!! Guess what!
Maximum speed there is .. 50kph (31mph)!
The last miles are ridden in real mountainbiker style. Small path full of nasty
little stones. We join the main raod and end up under the huge viaduct ... the
one we're supposed to climb first thing tomorrow morning! We decide to cheat ...
with good reason of course! See, climbing that viaduct with cold muscles isn't a
good start of the day. We take the GPS and go out exploring. We notice that when
we climb part of the Rue du Petit-Fort on foot, we're very close to the viaduct
and the decision is made very quickly.
And then it's time for some more shopping...
I meet Jackie, a young girl from Pennsylvania. Seems we have a mutual friend :
Zsa Zsa, the cat.
5th August : Dinan - Mont-Dol
So, yes, we start the day cheating, but
... it's logical cheating. Let me explain. Our B&B lies ... now how do you
say that ... at half height of the viaduct. Instead of going down and then ride
that very steep climb, we go up and ride down to the viaduct. Are we clever or
are we clever?
Before the actual start we go into the village to buy fresh made baguettes. I
have tuna and sis has chicken. Smells delicious! Can hardly wait till lunch
We return to the B&B and ... this time I have to drag my heavy suitcase
downstairs myself. Seems the taxidriver refused to bring it in and our landlady
had to drag it all the way up. Where's chivalry these days!!
Time to start our last official tour : back to Mont-Dol. Uphill, downhill, our
usual climbs and ... I manage to stay on the bike!
It's still early when we arrive at Le Château de Mont-Dol. Yannick is surprised
to see us this early and tells us the room still needs to be vacuumed.
First thing sis does is check the car and all the luggage again to see if she can
find the missing iPod. But no luck at all. (Ahem ... later, on 26th August to be
precisely, the totally drowned iPod will be found when sis is ironing one of her
We have a shower and drive to Dol de Bretagne where we have a nice wine on a
terrace and choose a restaurant for tonight.
A shopkeer doesn't know whether to keep his door open or closed, cos he can't
find his petit chat. He says :"If you can catch it..." Catch (and hug)
a little kitten? Moi? He doesn't have to repeat himself. I manage to catch it
quite quickly. What a cutie! Totally black, just like my Mika. It's only 2 months
The restaurants don't open till 7pm, so we go back to our Château and come back
We have chosen restaurant "Le Porche au pain". I have grilled salmon
with rice and sis has grilled lamb chops with chips. All very yummy! The
"chef" uses the open fire to do the grilling.
Back at the B&B, housecat Croquette decides to keep me company, after she
pushed over a glass of good white wine...
6th August : Mont-Dol - Ducey
Last brekkie at our Château. We close the
door behind us, pay a short visit to the local supermarket for some refreshments
and to fill up and off we go to Ducey. We take our luggage to L'Auberge de la
Sélune. Oh oh! We are staying on the 1st floor. Thank goodness for me, the
landlady orders someone to carry my suitcase upstairs. The poor guy does it with
a forced smile on his face. I understand.
We drive to Pontorson, bikes on the car. We find us a good parking spot and ride
to the Mont Saint Michel. No helmet and just one bag this time. The less we'll
have to carry the better. The Mont Saint Michel will be very crowded!
Thousands of tourists are swarming through the very narrow streets. We stay there for about an hour
and ride back to the car.
Back in Ducey we decide to explore the town, but that doesn't take long, cos
it's very small. A small stroll, having a glass of wine on a terrace and
that's it. Our hotel has a very nice garden, so we spend some time there to read
Later that night, we get a nice surprise : some lovely fireworks to end our
holidays. Tomorrow we're going back to la Belgique...
7th August : Ducey - Wetteren
Monday, 7th August, time to return to La Belgique!
After brekkie we head for Champion, a local supermarket to do some errands,
mainly provisions for the return trip.
We expect to be back in Wetteren by 4pm. No heavy traffic and all goes well.
Well, we do make one mistake at the complicated exit of the périphérique Caen,
but a local tour of the roundabout and the GPS set us back on track and off we
go destination Wetteren!
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