Yesterday I arrived at the house of Bruno and Astrid. I won’t deny it, it was a relief to leave Pars. The transmogrification of my life from rural to urban, just was too sudden. Arriving in a small, rural French town, Daoulas, right by the Ocean felt like my travel had finally started.
The coastal environment of france does not look terribly different from that of the West. Ferns and evergreens compose the foliage, supplemented by brush. One has an overwhelming impression of life, thriving in the rainy conditions. In fact, if I really tried hard, as the bus took me from Brest to Daoulas, I could have imagined I was back home.
But, once you arrive in the small French towns, any illusions you may have had of western Washington will dissipate. French towns in Brittany leave an unbelievably quaint impression. Grey stone houses with slate roofs that turn blue-black in the rain, lawns of flowers and well-tended grasses, moss-covered stone walls, bakeries and at least two bars where people weren’t drinking beer, but sipping wine.
Daoulas, especially, is so compact. The center of town has nearly everything, post office, general store, administrative, and then 20 sec away, the ocean, beautifully quiet streets that look like they came out of the 1900s. It was so small, that arriving there, not knowing where my host house was, I simply asked some random guy and he directed me to a place only 2 minutes from where I was. Walking through the town, almost no traffic, no frantic hurry, I felt the tightness, the pressure, of Paris begin to leave. I watched people arrive at the old church, I climbed past a park with a fountain from the 1800s, and found myself on a small street. Houses weren’t big, but compact. Opening up the door to Bruno’s and Astrid, finding myself in a place that had love and was loved, dog running around the dinner table, small child plying in her crib, this is what I look for in travel. The opportunity to intimately know someone else’s life, to immerse in a new culture has always been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.
So, brief 2nd day addition.
Last night I went to a Breton language study group. Really interesting. We learned some interesting words in Breton (Tut: people, Saout: cows, Civis: Strawberry, Tribi: I eat, Vo: there is/are). Then we had an amazing potluck meal of bread, cheese, local salami, slow-cooked beef from the Breton teacher’s farm and of course, delicious wine. I also learned that Daoulas has existed before Washington was even a state. It’s really humbling being in a place with such deep-rooted history. The US seems almost like a child in comparison.
So the next blog with include what I’ve learned about france (the industrialization of their cheeses (Sacre bleu!), nitrate pollution, and rotting plants that release enough hydrogen sulfide to kill wild boars (which have killed their fair share of the French aristocracy). Also more about Daoulas and the culture of the Bretons!
PRINCE TOFIO POTON J… on The History of the Adja sara cate on Voyaging to Toulouse Ethan Maier on Daoulas mom and dad on Vacation Togo-Togo Russell Maier on Saucy actions