Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Emerald Coast

Today we did three things along the "Emerald Coast"— the Atlantic coastline west of St. Malo.

The day started out overcast and stayed that way, but dry, until after lunch. Then it rained all afternoon and evening, but we were done with outdoor activities by then. Still, the pics are a bit gloomy.

First stop was Cap Fréhel, a scenic point with a lighthouse.

Lighthouse and Emerald coastline.

A group of birders assembles below the Cap Fréhel lighthouse.

There were not many birds, mostly seagulls and a few cormorants, but thanks to sticking close to the French birders we did see a Guillemot. Looking south along the Cap we can see our next destination in the distance.

That would be Fort la Latte, a restored medieval castle.

Distant castle with drawbridge awaits.

We approach the outer gate.

Critical tourist inspects the portcullis.

Very nice masonry, using the local pink granite.

Marian (top center) celebrates her successful assault on the keep.

One unique feature of this castle was that it retained a kiln, or furnace, that was used to heat iron cannon balls red-hot for shooting at wooden ships.

Sign says, "Four a rougîr les boulets de fer, 1793"—Furnace to redden the iron balls.

Marian inspects the ball chute.

Next thing was a visit to a small town that is one of three major sources of scallops for Europe. Erquy (air-key) is reminiscent of Cancale yesterday, but smaller and not as jammed. It sits on a perfectly round enclosed harbor that was also at low tide when we visited.

High and dry boats in Erquy harbor.

We looked at the posted menus of all six of the restaurants behind the quay and picked one that offered local scallops ("Coquille St. Jacques d'Erquy") sautéd with garlic, and ordered that. It was delicious, the scallops small and sweet and perfectly cooked.

Later this evening we walked around Dinan in the rain. It is a very nice town, nicer for browsing around in than Bayeux or Avranches, and with lots of quaint wonky buildings. With any luck we'll get some sun in the next day and a half to record it.

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