Monday, 12 June 2006

Homeward Bound

Well, we're underway on the journey home having left port half an hour ago.

Saturday afternoon had a great time in St Malo, getting there in time for lunch in a beautifully-decorated creperie. I had something savoury but Jacqueline and Alice both had chocolate and banana crepes - for lunch. Tremendously hot and sunny, it was fortunate that St Malo is a town of high buildings and narrow lanes, so we were able to keep in the shade most of the time. Plenty of stops for refreshments - I had a superbly subtle Orange ice cream - but the only stuff I actually bought was from L'Occitane, and one of the main purchases there was to replace, on Alice's behalf, a large bottle of bubble bath which Alice had consumed in a single bath in Centerparcs (and we thought such antics were long left behind, nevertheless, her next few weeks' pocket money so she herself will feel the pinch).

A brief swim upon returning to the hotel, then out to a local bar-cum-restaurant for an interminable meal. Food was okay but service very slow. Just France, I guess, normally the slower the better but when Alice has to wait over an hour from her main course to her ice cream it becomes difficult. We arrived at 8 o'clock and did not finish until 11 o'clock. The restaurant was at the top of the next cove, but unfortunately the tide was in when we left the hotel so we had to travel across land (and I immediately regretted wearing pool shoes without socks). By the time we returned, however, the tide was well on the way out and we walked back along the sand. Amazing that even at 11pm there was enough light to walk by, accompanied of course by the blinking lights of the multitude of nearby lighthouses.

Another hot night with restricted sleep, certainly for Jacqueline and I. I basically left the windows and curtains wide open. Of course this meant that the room became light early bur at least we had a sea breeze coming in. And the light certainly didn't stop us from sleeping, since we rose comfortably about 8am for breakfast, all of us having slept better. Also, yesterday was cloudy, although still very warm. Spent the morning in the hotel pool - saline (yuk!) but Alice didn't care - then went out in the afternoon to Dinan, which is a charming little place very similar to St Malo and one which we must endeavour to explore in more detail on our next visit to the Cote d'Emeraude. We were even caught in a rain shower as we drove back to Dinard, although by the time we arrived at the hotel the ground was practically dry once again.

Sunday evening headed to a Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant we'd seen on the way into town. The cheapest and best-value meal of the holiday. My Duck in Mushrooms was surpassed only by Jacqueline's Beef in Ginger sauce, plus of course being Sunday the restaurant was very quiet.

Back to the hotel for a leisurely nightcap. Not much of an actual sunset because of the cloud in the sky, although the clouds themselves to the west were beautiful shades of pink.

Same ploy last night - to leave window and curtains wide open - although it was still hot. First thing I did when I woke up this morning was to shower to freshen myself up. Jacqueline woke shortly after us but helpfully Alice remained sparco, allowing us to pack all bar a couple of carrier bags in peace. I have to say that I do like the Novotel in Dinard, but the rooms are so oppressively hot that if we come again in the summer we may choose a different hotel. Even the reception areas have the warm "swimming baths" atmosphere. Although the hotel is also a thalassotherapy institute so maybe I'm expecting too much.
The rest, as they say, is history. We left the hotel quite early, made the brief drive into St Malo and had very little queuing in order to board the ferry. We were settled in and munching into a cooked breakfast each before the ship left port. Today really is a chill out day, with only the ferry to keep us amused until we dock at 6:30 this evening. However it promises to be exciting for Alice - various kids things are planned, which should be good if they're anything like last year, when Alice was shown around, met the captain on the bridge and even got to steer the ship.

Au revoir, la France, et a bientot!

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