Day 5: Brest

Last modified 2023/08/17 16:10

map Map strava

The beer was disappointing for €4.50, it was une “demi-pression” presented in an unimpressive half-glass. There was nobody else in the “bar” at the campsite, and the internet barely worked, but the owner was kind enough to give me an extension cable to that I could type my blog post. After doing so I looked at the Auberge de Jeunesse (Hostel) in Brest, they were fully booked, I then checked - everything was very expensive, finally I tried AirBnB and found a place on my route, I asked the host if I could store my bicycle and she said “yes, in the garage” and that was where I was staying.

I’m now sitting in a room in the host’s house, I haven’t met the host yet, and I am in the house alone. It’s a strange feeling. I’m also now concious that I have no clean footwear, my sandals are as you can expect from 5 days riding barefoot, and my trainers are my running shoes and I forgot to put them in the wash, I also just found out that somehow all my underwear is dirty - and I thought I packed enough for two weeks. I have however managed to hand-wash my cycling shirt. Having clean stuff is an underrated luxury.

Slept OK last night, although some aching from the position in which I was lying in the tent. In the morning I slept in a bit later until 08:30 - I spent the remaining hour of the preivous studying my map and I discovered that it was only ~50k to Brest (taking the scenic route), and the check-in was at 18:00 (or so I believed at the time) so there was no point in rushing, I could have left at lunch time and still have been early.

I utilised my new coffee maker, pouring my coffee into my mug, getting out of the tent, knocking the mug over, and then using the coffee maker for the second time. Finally ermerging without further incident to sit at l’accueil (reception) and use the internet. The AirBnB host had replied and stated that in-fact the room was already ready, which was great news as I wouldn’t have to hang about in Brest with my bike for any number of hours.

The mystery of the numerous stone “baths” scattered about Brittany was partially solved by an historic photo placed besides one of them, in which you can see people washing their clothes. So perhaps these are historic “laundrettes”?

basin Historic Laundrette?

The sun was shining non-stop today, and it seems I was at least partially burnt from the previous day, so I took the precaution of applying some sun lotion.

Something Something and a boat

There were some steep hills today, and I’m glad that my knee was strong enough to not require me to walk, although it was also obvious that it’s still in no shape to cross the Pyrenees - if I had done my original plan (crossing the Pyrenees from Santander to Perpignan) I think I would have been in some serious trouble.

Going down About to descend

Old people on electric bikes sailing past effortlessly on hills.

Gigantic Beach Massive beach, not many people

At around twelve I started to look around for lunch, and found myself confronted with a lighthouse and a derelict abbey, which seemed to be the center of attention for swathes of tourists. I parked up my bike, checked out a self-service restaurant, then, seeing the prices, walked out and carried on my way.

AbeyLighthouse Abbey and Lighthouse

I finally stopped to supply myself for lunch at an Intermàrché supermarket, find a beer (not cold 😕) and a round handful of “bio” goat’s cheese. Whether that meant the goat is living a happy life I don’t know. Shortly afterwards I made my way to a beach and wheeled the bike onto the sand and sat down at a bench. Pasting the goat’s cheese into a baguette de “tradition” and whoofing it down with my beer, afterwards carving up and eating an apple with my knife.

Bridge Bridge de Piéton

Musically I’ve been listening to Lou Reed, Led Zeppelin, Otis Reading, The Clash and, for the first time in a decade, the Polyphonic Spree - as before leaving I discovered a cache of music from 13 years ago on an old laptop.

People Hard to see the dozens of people sifting through the sands

Slowly I made my way from the country and into the city, taking the coastal route into the center past the Brest Arsenal and a ship building yard.

Fortress Submarine Base - originally a U-Boat base

I found the AirBnB without any problem, but when I got there I realised that, amazingly for a travel app, the AirBnB application with all the information I needed only worked with an internet connection 😦 (i mean, waat). Fortuntely the host sent me the code in via. direct messages which were mirrored to my email account, so I was able to find the access code and get the keys from the box and opening the gate I wheeled the bike in, wheeled the bike around the house, I expected to find a separate room for some reason, but then it slowly dawned on me that I was supposed to go into the main house.

Ship Yard Where ships be built

It’s the second time I’ve stayed in an AirBnB where the host trusts you to enter their house when they are not there - or at least I hope that’s what happened, as otherwise I’m currently trespassing.