Going west (Bretagne)

(0 – 1251 km)

Everything is packed, the car is filled up, I turn the ignition key and the trip starts. The known disappears behind the last turn, the new awaits after the next bend.

The weather is far from springy, but the first reasonably warm days motivate me to start the adventure eventually. The first stop is the Côte Granite Rose which is a part of Brittany‘s coast which is famous for his rose rock formation. With a short stop in Perros-Guirec in between, I go to Tregastel where big rocks lay piled up on the shore.

I walk for a start, after my first night in my camper van, around the harbor of Ploumanac‘h and to the Plage de Tourony and then further to the Baie de Saint-Anne. The harbor basin has the special feature of two tide mills on the inland side.

Port Ploumanac'h

At Plage de Tourony the first gigantic rock formations show up. Not rose here but nevertheless impressive. Even nearly every garden of the surrounding properties has a big boulder integrated.

I start my walk to the rose granite coast at the parking lot in front of the aquarium of Tregastel. Already as I reach the beach a big balancing rock cube on an island off the coast welcomed me.

Don't roll the dice

On the trail along the coast the rock formations become more and more venturous and partly have the shape of animals. This is really a place where nature let off steam.

Balance of nature

I drive to my next parking space inland. Through the trees I could see a giant radome shine through. Is this a place where mysterious experiments happen? Most important thing is that no one will snatch me away at night and use me as a lab rat over there.

The dome

The secret is revealed on the next morning. The big white bowl is part of the Cité des Télécoms, an awesome theme park about the history of telecommunication and the installation of the related undersea cables. The radome itself contains an enormous satellite dish. It made the first television live broadcast between the USA and Europe in 1962 possible.

Now I get closer and closer to the West side of Brittany. On my way to Brest I make a stop over at Château de Kerjean (which unfortunately opens only a day later for this season) and in Le Folgoët. In this place I find a relatively elegant church, compared to the others in Brittany. They were from the medieval times and dedicated to a lunatic from the woods, because on this palace grew a lily on his grave with the words „Ave Maria“ written on it‘s leaves. The name of the song, sung by the lunatic again and again before he was murdered.

Le Folgoet

I’m heading to Brest to visit the big aquarium site „Oceanopolis“. This place is located beside the yacht harbor. I spend the night at the spacious parking lot in front of the building. I am one of the first visitors in the morning and fortunately nearly alone in the aquarium. Curiously there was also a group of visitors with their dogs and at the basin with the seals both seal and dog look baffled at each other.

Who is looking?

After my visit at the fishes, seals and penguins I drive a little southwards in hope to eventually catch some waves. It is the first really warm day of the year and my destination is the Crozon peninsula. Once again I make a little stop on my way. I enjoy the sunny day with a walk around the monastery and herb garden of the Abbaye de Daoulas.

Abbey Daoulas

On Crozon I’m driving to the fishing village Camaret sur Mer. Next to a picturesque ship cemetery, a lot of restaurants and bars lined up the port promenade. Inside the town I even discover the one or other little coffee shop to enjoy „crepe et cafè“. Unfortunately, despite the sunshine, it is very stormy and therefore are no surf-able waves around. But finally after four days I have the first contact with water on Plage Kerloc. It is wonderful to be carried by the water again.

Camaret sur Mer

For the time since I began my journey I return to the base camp. My new bodyboard is finished and the delivery has been announced. And on this occasion I also repair some minor issues of the fresh water system. I seal the filler pipe and replace the connections on the water pump.

Board quiver

The new board is stowed and the water system sealed and I’m on my way back to the West. This time to the Baie de Trepasses at the Pointe du Raz, the most western point of France. For the next three days I just watch and surf the waves.

TV programm

And then a gigantic storm hits the coast. It shakes up the camper van at night and I have the impression of sleeping on a boat at sea. I use the forced break and drive on to La Torche. En route I gaze in Audierne at the furious sea. And in La Torche there is more water movement than I have ever seen before. I stay on the little cape more or less right in the middle and the foam is part of the air and the waves are running with massiv power onto the shore.

Power of nature - Audierne
Rough sea at  La Torche

The day after that nature acts as if nothing has happened. Gentle waves, blue sky and picture book clouds. I use the perfect conditions to get to know my new board and to develop a surf rhythm.

Head in the clouds

After four days it is time to again return to the base camp because I have to show the camper at the regular technical inspection. I surf my coldest session ever (11 degree Celsius both water and air) and drive back. On my way I stop over at two so called “Calvarys“. This is a kind of medieval comic made of stone displaying scenes of the Passion of Christ.

Calvary Tronoen

The technical inspection happens without any problems. And with the new certificate sticker on the wind screen the way is open for the next leg of the road trip.

Cheers, Thomas