I have already written about my frantic trip to Bretagne. Today it’ll be about my Bretagne visit itself. I was very thankful for my guide Boru, not only because my French or Breton are not worth a damn. She is from Prague and she is currently studying in Rennes.
I arrived to Rennes shortly before Thursday midnight and left on Monday morning. This trips was sort of a holiday for me. My guide took me for a walk through a part of the city right after my almost midnight arrival. I was warned about lots of glass shards, wild night life and my guide pointed out a particular street. A few years back there were just some regular shops, however, now there are just bars. This alleyway was full of people, and it was almost impossible to go through.
We spent Friday in Rennes, had some fantastic galletes, drank some cider and I familiarized myself with the city center. In the evening, we ended up in an Irish pub where Boru celebrated her birthday. Here I got lots of information about the French goverment and educational institutions from Vanessa, one of the guests at the party.
Saturday started with a visit to Marché des Lices, a traditional market, which took place in Rennes every Saturday. Here you could buy flowers, spices, fruits, vegetables, cheese, fish or even the local cider. I bought probably the most interesting cider I have ever tasted – an old, scarborous bottle from an equally old man. We also bought some fish and tompinamburs for our lunch. After this delicious lunch, we headed for the woods and groves near Paimpont. At first we visited the Paimponts pond, where is an old abbey and a statue of Judicaël, an old king who founded this abbey.
As our next destination we planned to find the Tomb of Merlin, which is actually a menhir in which Merlin was enchanted by the fairy Nimue – at least that’s what Sir Thomas Malory claimed. This menhir was many times ripped apart by treasure hunters, and because of that there isn’t much left from this once tall menhir. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find it, but we didn’t despair and moved to another location, to two fountains and a legendary beech tree.
The Fontaine de Barenton is the first one and a legend says that who drinks from this fountaine becomes mad, unless he’s mad already, in which case he finds his sanity. I can’t say whether I became mad or sane, but in either case I drank from this fountain. Next to the Fontaine de Barenton is a stone slab named Perron de Belanton or Perron de Merlin and according to a legend, when the water from this fountain is poured on it, the rain starts in the whole of Bretagne. The next fountaine was the Fontaine des Amoureux. If someone does something for this fountain, for example cleans it, or brings some stone to it, and then drinks from it, he will find great love, unfortunately, nobody can say for whom. Alchemists used this water as a basic element for every love potion, and sometimes were able to focus this love on a concrete person.
The Hêtre de Ponthus, a mighty beech, is a bit farther, aside from all the marked tracks. This huge tree is in the middle of a spruce forest and is linked to another old legend about a Saracen king. This place is really impressive, when I sat under this big tree I felt connected to at least half of Bretagne.
The last place to visit that day was the Valley of No Return. It burned for five days in 1990. The only thing that prevailed was a torso of a chestnut tree. This torso was painted gold afterwards and it stays there as a reminder of the old valley. Now the valley is green again, however, all the trees are very young.
Saint-Malo was our destination for the next day, originally a fortified trading harbour. This city is built on a small island which is connected to the mainland by some bridges. This isn’t the only island in this area, all around the Saint-Malo are other islands, often with small fortresses. We arrived in the time of outflow and the beaches were appearing in front of us, one of the islands even changed to a peninsula. It was very pleasing to spend the rest of the day in the city and near to it, in spite of the fact that Saint-Malo is hugely focused on turism. To tell the truth, we had a small problem about starting our car, however, it wasn’t anything we couldn’t solve with a starting set. And a repetition of this problem was hopefully avoided by pouring some distilled water into the car battery – do not try this at home, children.
Sunday was my last day in Bretagne, well if I don’t count Monday when I departed for Paris and Prague.
Today the batch of photographs from Bretagne are scanned silver gelatin negatives. I think that everybody must see, that silver has a totaly different atmosphere. I substituted these photographs for some of the digital photographs which were published last week, and I dare say it looks better.