Summer in Brittany (Day 8)

Ste-Anne-sur-Vilaine – St-Vincente-sur-Oust

Saturday, 02.08.2014
1 Lock 39 km

I get the bike out and cycle up the hill to find a boulangerie. To my surprise there is a little supermarket which is brand-new and run as a village coop. So rather than other villages of that size which tend to loose all their infrastructure, the brave people of St-Anne seem to be happy to stem the tide. So I buy a bit more than strictly needed to support them a bit. And whats wrong with having some extra local cidre on stock?

This is the first and only morning with some bad weather in all the three weeks. Just as we pass the jetty of Beslé-sur-Vilaine heaven opens its sluices and we moor up to wait for the torrent to end. While getting ready to get going again we are approach by this friendly lot.

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They are on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. They only started in Rennes, but the nine-year-old grandson is already a bit tired. (And why walk if you can boat). We take them on board and have good time, also communication is a bit difficult.

The river widens out, the countryside gets flat and we can almost smell the Atlantic as we get closer to Redon, the great crossroad of Brittany’s waterways. With interesting craft, small

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and big:

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Not long and we pass the “Fishing World Championship”. These guys seemed very determined and equally autistic then fishermen elsewhere.

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We pass the Redon waterfront on the Vilaine and do an almost 360° turn to pull into the Grand Bassin.

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Against a good assortment of vessels that look like they have just moored up on their otherwise non-stop-trip around the world Argo looks a bit forlorn.

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We visit the small waterways museum which is well worth visiting for the die-hard inland boating nerd, but with little of interest for the general public. We walk into town just to find all creperies closed at lunch time. (What is it, that the French close there eateries when everybody actually wants to eat? I can understand that the people working in the eateries want to eat as well, but still, somehow, fail to understand the business model.) At least we find a very interesting shop that deals in all kind of exotic spices and ingredients. Free space inside the boat decreases even more.

To get from the Grand Bassin to the Canal da Nantes à Brest you have to use this curious arrangement. The lock is crossed by lift bridge that opens when boats are locked up. Meanwhile the lock keeper gets roasted in his glass tower / light house surrounded by three big ventilators.

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After leaving the town the canal soon meets the river L’Oust which widens out and we discover some nice mooring at St-Vincent-sur-Oust. It seems to be a very desirable place with a lot of weekenders around swimming paddling and climbing the rocky outcrops.

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A short stroll away there is a nice little creperie (crepe and ice cream for the child, very nice cidre terroir and crepe for the adults) overshadowed by more rocks and also those guys:

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More about this tomorrow.

 

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Summer in Brittany (Day 7)

Friday, 01.08.2014
6 Locks 45 km

Pont-Réan to Ste-Annr-sur-Vilaine.

After a breakfast with fresh Baguette and Croissants we leave the pleasant Pont-Réan heading further downstream. Soon we get to the famous moulin de Boël. Also it is out of use since 1935 the weir linking the lock with the mill and the mill itself make for some spectacular scenery.

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For the next 10 or 12 km the Vilaine keeps cutting through a rocky valley with wooded backdrops and the next few locks are enhanced by nicely renovated mill buildings and the associated weirs.

The day is getting sunny and very hot, but the crew seems happy. Although note the Breton flag we are flying since yesterday.

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I am even too lazy to take more pictures for the day. We have a lunch stop at Guipry. But all the restaurants an crêperies are closed. The supermarket is quiet a hike away in the blazing sunshine. But at least we are able to fill up with sans plomb. We potter on to Ste-Anne-sur-Vilaine were we stay at a nice jetty for the night. There is a little timber-build makeshift bar near the river so the child gets an ice cream after dinner and is happy. A hippie type character comes by an tries to chat with me. He asks what im reading (Arbeit und Struktur by Wolfgang Herrndorf). When i translate that in travail et structure he leaves rather hastily. I like to destroy peoples world views….