From Ashford to Athens
|Alpine adventure (Days 1-4)
Viennese whirl (Days 5-9)
Slovenian theatre (Days 10-12)
Bombing it through Belgrade (Day 13)
Litohoro lazing (Days 14-16)
Olympic ideas (Days 17-19)
We are sailing (Days 20-21)
Assisi amblings (Days 22-23)
Breton brouhaha (Days 24-26)
Encore en Foix (Days 27-28)
Barcelona and back (Days 29-31)
Almost 30 hours passed between leaving Assisi and reaching our next stop: St Malo. Top put that in perspective, we could have started singing '5000 Green Bottles' on leaving Assisi and have finished with time to spare.
After the hectic hours in Florence, there was a late change in Milan on to the sleeper to Paris. Couchettes are great fun, especially when SNCF provide free breakfast in bed.
After a quick metro trip across Paris, the TGV whisked us towards Britanny and by lunchtime we were in St Malo.
Richard had promised to be happy in St Malo, but he wasn't too impressed when we discovered that ferries to Guernsey weren't quite as frequent as we had hoped. The Channel islands remain on hold for the time being.
Even if St-Malo is a bit dead, it is French, so there is the compensation of good food - baguette, pate de campagne and patisseries creating the perfect picnic lunch. The campsite is situated on a picturesque peninsula with water on all sides, so the view are worth staying for anyway. I haven't yet made my mind up about St-Malo ... tomorrow may help me decide.
I am still undecided about St Malo. On the plus side are the pretty harbour views, the lack of tourists and the fact I can speak French. On the minus side is the undeniable fact that we are stuck on a peninsula miles from anywhere with non-existent public transport and mediocre weather.
To my amusement two people today thought I was French: a man in a van asking for directions and an English couple in the laundry, who were debating (in English) whether or not to ask me for change. Luckily they didn't and I didn't have to admit to eavesdropping on them for the previous half-hour. Maybe it's because I smelt French, not having had a full clothes wash since Vienna. [Andy: Boo. Why the racism?]
The laundrette, walking to the station, shopping, eating and various wanderings around the peninsula filled the day.
In the evening we had a wide-ranging argument about where to go next. Bad timing of the ferries ruled out Guernsey (the temptation to say 'I told you so' was very strong) - so a half-hour shouting match ensued. Richard and Andy seemed to have totally incompatible demands so I tried to keep mainly out of the flak. Eventually we settled on somewhere that satisfied us all.
Today I found the tourists and to a lesser extent, the good weather.
First though a dreary hour-long slog to the hypermarket, followed by a dreary half-hour slog to the station.
Things improved when I ate my picnic lunch and set off into the Old Town - Intra Muros - surrounded by ramparts. This was definitely the tourist trap, although the traditional French pastimes of boules and ignoring foreigners continued. [Andy: Boo. Why the racism?]
Time passed. Not much happened. The sun set.