While there is a quiet drama to the silhouetted fields and medieval towns of inland Brittany, it is the dramatic coastline that truly impresses. Saturday began my few day driving tour of Brittany and the Loire valley and the grand vistas and multi-hued sunsets took my breath away. I started the day visiting Le Mont San Michel, which is an awe-inspiring castle and monastery built on an island of sheer rock. The day was crisp and bright and I could see the monument far in the distance as I drove through the winding country roads to reach it. The rooms of the monastery are beautiful, particularly the cathedral on the top, and the views of the sticky gray sand during low tide, framed by streaks of golden clouds, and fields of green in the distance were certainly memorable.
From Mont San Michel I took the coastal road to the oyster town of Concale. I arrived at sunset to find a panoramic view of the water, the oyster beds, boats marooned on the clay-like sand, and rocky islands in the distance all illuminated in changing shades of orange, pink, purple, blue, gold, gray, and navy. Once the last shred of light had vanished I stumbled upon a few tents of oyster vendors selling their final batch of wares for the day. I joined the longest line and watched as the woman running the tent quickly and deftly slipped her sharp knife into each oyster shell to crack it open. It turns out that a dozen was the minimum you could order so I took my six euro plate to the damp and cold seawall, sloshing salt water on myself the whole way. The oysters were huge and slurping them down truly tasted like the sea – it was similar to swallowing a mouthful of ocean water when a wave slams over you. Rarely have I had a chance to eat something so close to where and when it was caught. Despite the authenticity of the experience, I finally admitted defeat after consuming a half dozen of the salty creatures, prying them open with freezing cold and increasingly numb fingers, so I donated the remainder to a boisterous group of friends who had been wise enough to stock up on white wine to wash down their meal and gladly accepted the additional oysters.
It was one of my more memorable days of travel and eating and I was so glad I had the opportunity to experience another facet of Brittany.
**My camera is holding my photos of this beautiful day hostage. Will post them when I can**