2017 E5 walk, day 31: Le Minihic-sur-Rance to Saint-Malo
My destination for the day, the Saint-Malo area, was a relatively short distance down to the mouth of the Rance. After a lovely breakfast1, I headed back to the trail in the late morning and rounded the rest of le Minihic-sur-Rance’s promontory. This was fairly rugged — the most stairs’ worth of climbing since the Lac de Guerlédan.
A few hours north of Minihic, I reached the bridge across the Rance. Here, the GR 34C met the GR 34, which I had followed for the first five days of the walk, and which I would follow east again for the next four days.
Just north from the bridge was the suburb of Saint-Servan-sur-Mer, with the requisite charming, expensive-looking houses on the waterfront. I then paid for a tourist attraction for the first time on my walk: the Tour Solidor (“Solidor Tower”; I haven’t been able to find out what Solidor refers to), a six-and-a-half-century-old keep.
After the tower, I wound my way up to the tip of Saint-Servan’s promontory to Camping la Cité d’Alet, my destination for the night — the first time I’d camped in almost a week.2 I was set up well before 5 PM, so I strolled a little further along the trail3 — a preview of the next day — to Saint-Malo, to sightsee and have dinner.
Saint-Malo was … fine. It was nice. It felt like a touristy, slightly-artificial version of Dinan, which wasn’t entirely off-base: The Allies bombarded the city half to rubble during the war, since the Germans weren’t eager to surrender it. As a popular tourist destination for the British, it was rebuilt stone by stone afterwards.
After wandering around town for a while, I settled down to dinner at Crêperie Ti Nevez. It did not pretend to be a gourmet restaurant, though the food was perfectly fine. But there was a woman at another table, British to hear her speak, who didn’t bother to even attempt French4, badgering the owner in English for an after-dinner cheese plate. The restaurant did not have one. She clearly didn’t think the owner had understood her request — how could it be that she had not received her cheese plate? — so she asked again, louder, in English again but with a fake French accent this time.
I was embarrassed for the British woman, and for myself for hearing it, and for all English speakers. I thanked the owner profusely as I left.
I strolled around town a little longer, and then headed back to the campsite — about a half hour walk — and slept well through a breezy night.
I learned to my chagrin that I had been identifying my breakfast bowls incorrectly for the whole trip: The large bowl was intended for coffee, and the smaller one was for cereal. ↩︎
Mine was horrible, but at least I tried. By this point, I could conduct transactions under relatively narrow, face-to-face conditions. ↩︎