Thursday, June 9, 2011


We spent the last two days in the eastern part of Bretagne in a town called Vannes. We didn’t know much about this town before we got here, but chose it because it was close to the Gulfe de Morbihan, where we wanted to visit. After spending some time in Vannes, we found it to be a really nice town with friendly people, decent weather, great architecture and some very good boulangeries.

Not knowing much about Vannes before we explored it, we soon learned that it is a pretty old town with impressive cathedrals, chateaus and common village buildings.

This cathedral was very similar in style and scale as the one we saw in Quimper, with its spiky towers, detail archways, and numerous gargoyles.

Whenever I see a Chateau like this, I always wonder what it was like to call it home. It’s strange to think about inviting someone over for dinner at this place. “It’s the yellowish beige one on the left with just one room on the top floor. If you pass the church, you’ve gone too far!” I guess I’m trying to say that this is insanely beautiful and overwhelmingly impressive.

But not as overwhelmingly impressive as this. “It’s the one with the moat!” This Chateau was built into the wall that once surrounded Vannes and I can’t help but imagine it being extremely well protected. It was quite a sight to see with the sheer size of the thing, followed by the intricate landscaping and of course, the ever-cool moat.

Here is a picture of that cathedral with the a few buildings behind the wall. I took this picture at the entrance to a nice little park at the top of a hill where we enjoyed some rest and quick sketch.

As I mentioned before, we came to Vannes to see the Gulfe de Morbihan, a bay just south of Vannes, littered with islands with remnants of past societies dating back to 3300 B.C. In the past, there were enough islands to name each one after a day of the year. But with higher water levels, today, there are only about 30 that can still hold their heads out of the water.

Being that there were still quite a few to see, we decided to take a boat tour around to see them up close. In my last post, I mentioned the Bretagne flag. Here it is, proudly flapping in the wind from our boat.

The boat started out slow, making a few stops before heading out to open water. It was a very cold and windy day and despite the sunny weather, we were freezing. To our disappointment, it didn’t get much better than this. The boat tour was about two and half hours long and this church was probably the coolest thing we saw on an island. Other than that, it was mainly these tall, dark trees on flat, yellow land. I guess it just wasn’t the image we had in mind of big, tall, rocky islands jutting out of the deep sea.

But, we enjoyed the tour the best we could and it was cool seeing sailboat about. I realized that I’ve never seen a sailboat sailing up close in real life. So it was really cool when we saw this one whiz by.

As I was taking that last photo, this other sailboat jutted by even closer to us, the members on the boat waving over to us. I’m currently reading a book called, “The Age of Wonder: How the Romanic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science,” which highlights a number of scientists during, mainly, the 18th century and their contributions to modern science. One of the stories takes place in Tahiti and talks about their voyage from England to the Pacific. Seeing this boat sail by reminded me of my book and put into perspective their voyage.

After the boat tour, we were dropped off at one of the two larger islands for about and hour and half. Unfortunately, again, we made the mistake of getting off on the wrong island and were left to explore the island we were avoiding. Oh well! We didn’t see much, but this old man repairing his boat during low tide caught my eye.

Today is June 9, 2011, and for the past three months, that has meant Paris! We are on our way to Paris right now and will probably be uploading this post from our apartment. We are quite excited to be settling down for a bit in Paris, with a means to prepare our own food and time on our hands to relax and enjoy. More to come soon!


celia said...

I like your adjectives for the Chateaus, insanely beautiful and overwhelmingly impressive. I thought the waters where you were sailing was so blue and pretty. For someone who enjoys being in water, it must have nice to sail.

Paris!!! Yay! I can only imagine how much fun you and Casey will have.

Gummy Choco said...

hey jon, i'm really enjoying your travel posts! pictures are so pleasant. my fav photo is the bretagne flag colored boat in the water. can't wait to hear about paris. safe travels.