Day 12 Rennes to Vannes

Nothing happened in Rennes.

Nada.

Nowt.

Well, if it did we were not there to see, hear or touch it. This was because we decided to stay at the hotel rather than tramp into town, pretty though it is.

A lovely warm evening calls for a lovely cold beer, served by the lovely hotel receptionist/barstaff/problem solver/breakfast preparer. Lets call her ‘fifi trixie-belle’ which is as good a name as any save ‘Bert’. Fifi looks about 17 and I wonder what she is doing working here. She should still be in school. Many of the hotels seem to run on just one or two staff who do everything (apart from Thai massage and kitten fluffing). Fifi is no exception. Her english is pretty non existent and so my french had to suffice, and it is good enough now not to need hand signals, a book or an emergency call to the British Consulate to get me released from jail. She is a size 10, wearing a burgundy blouse, a figure hugging black skirt and has the eyes of Catherine Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She also has the teeth of a dog eating breakfast in a dumpster. I did not notice, but Sean did. I think he may have overstated the case.

That was as good as Rennes got for us, except of course for dinner.
We set off the next morning for Vannes, another 72 miles away on the south coast of Brittany. Another blue sky greeted us, with temperatures set to ‘very comfortable’ rather than ‘mad dogs and englishmen’ of the past days. There is a boulangerie (isn’t there always) beside the hotel so we stock up and go.

Lunchtime finds a bar/restaurant rather than just a bar/tabac open. So, and for just 11 euros, we have salade nicoise/assiete of meat for starters then a steak frites. We passed on the desserts but it was all inclusive. Great value, good food. We sit outside on the terrace in warm shade. Food is of course very important as it is easy to get ‘bonking’ on a bicycle. Its that sinking, weak low energy feeling that results in cycling through treacle. We have found the heat to be especially sapping of energy. Lunch is thus very welcome, in addition to packing our daily baguette, bananas and sweets.

As this is Brittany, the country resembles Devon and Cornwall. This means hills rather than beaches, moorland and questionable locals. As we are inland there are no short sharp steep bastards like Portreath or Porthtowan. There are however long ascents that creep up on you like a paedo in a darkened cinema, if you know what I mean, kind of unexpected. The last 20-30 miles today began those hills in earnest, and despite lunch we were very near to bonking before we got to Vannes. I might have said some rude words at some hills and slopes given the energy required and energy available ratio getting really low. Sean was quiet which is always a sign of trouble up Mill.

Fortunately, Vannes has a rest day planned for tomorrow to enable us to take stock, let chalfonts settle and prepare for the last push to the north coast. We have 61 miles to Rosporden, 88 to Landernau and 31 to Roscoff, For now, there is a cold beer waiting for me at the bar.

a Bientot.

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