Friday, June 1, 2012

Day of Pleasures

Yesterday's disappointments went away with the overcast. Today's scenery was almost as good as advertised and looked better under a clear sky. Plus, we made some serendipitous discoveries. Let us start with a map of the complicated route.

First stop was a hill, Ménez-Hom, a high point with views. We were preceded by a walking tour group whose leader was pointing out the sights.

From this hill we made discovery number two, a beautiful bridge that we hadn't known about.

From the map we figured it must be Pont du Térénez, and made a note to visit it later. We could also see Douarnenez (do are neh nay), which we visited only yesterday for the Museum of Boats. Also from the hill we looked down on discovery number one: as we had driven to the hill we came through the village of Plomodiern, and noted another parish enclosure. This is how Sainte-Marie du Ménez Hom looks from Ménez Hom.

As we started down we noted the walking tour heading off to wherever they were going.

With our newly-trained eyes we had immediately spotted St.-Marie du Ménez Hom as a parish enclosure when we entered the village. It had all the pieces: an arch, a calvary, a weird spire with a rooster.

Inside, it had two barrel-vaulted ceilings that intersected.

Just one carved beam but with some very lively figures (click through to see)

and an extremely ornate altar-piece or altar-pieces filling a whole wall.


One detail among a plethora

Then we went on to a ruined abbey. What, another one? Well, the Abbey of Landévennec is very old and was rebuilt multiple times, and then extremely ruined, and now is being excavated by archaelogists who have a lot of fun working out which pieces are from the 8th, the 9th, the 10th, etc. century.

Overview of ruin

Excavation exposing overlapping walls of several different centuries.

Here there is a very nice museum with exhibits about the various periods of the abbey, and of things found in it. All of the info was in French but we managed to read quite a bit of it. One thing we learned: in the 800s, it was not uncommon for the Apostles to be represented symbolically as animals. Here is a reproduction of an illuminated page, made at Landévennec in the 800s, showing St. John as some kind of bird.

What was almost spooky was that they showed a similar drawing side by side with a carved image from a chapel in Ethiopia and they were almost the same. One uniquely Breton thing was that the Landévennec monks sometimes showed St. Mark symbolically as a horse, when the lion was the usual shorthand. Why? Because the word Mark in Breton means "horse."

Now we went off sightseeing along the Crozon Peninsula, which like yesterday's Cotentin Peninsula, sticks out into the Atlantic (see map above). First was a run up a north-pointing point, Pointe de Espagnols (from a Spanish invasion of the 1500s). Going up the east side of it we were looking across not much water to the metropolis of Brest.

Coming down the other side we are looking west at the pretty resort of Camaret-sur-Mer.

Click this, or better, control-click it, for a huge panorama.

In Camaret we stopped for gas, or rather diesel. But it was 2:45 and the gas station at the supermarket was closed for lunch until 3pm. Sometimes this really seems like a foreign country. But OK, it's an excuse for a break. We went down to the port and had ice creams and cold drinks. Then back to the station for fuel and on out another peninsula, Pointe du Pen-Hir (point H in the map above). The cliffs and sea views were getting good.

And lo, another huge panorama opens up.

Out at the end of this point there are sea-stacks where many sea birds are supposed to hang out.

No birds. Well, seagulls. And not a lot of those.

From here we went out yet another peninsula, Cap de la Chévre (Goat Cape; point I in the map above) from which we could look back and see those same sea stacks in the distance.

By now it was getting pretty late but we took in one more view.

And another multi-megapixel view of oceanic goodness.

From there we went on a cross-country run back to the vicinity of the beautiful bridge. (Remember the bridge we saw from the top of the hill about 6-7 hours ago? Point K on the map.) It turned out to be a winner: an asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge with a curved roadway. It just opened last year.

How it looks approaching it by car.

Half-way across

South pylon from the pedestrian walkway

Needlessly dramatic but fun view of the south pylon.

Then we continued to the nearest large town to find an early supper. At 6:30? Forget it! The restaurants aren't open yet, the brasseries are open but serving only drinks, the creperies have closed. We ended up with a not-too-bad pizza purchased from a truck beside the river.

Zip back to Quimper down the freeway, do blog, and crash. Nice day.


  1. Your bridge reminds me a bit of the sundial (walking) bridge in Redding.

  2. Why is the bridge curved. It would seem to be much more expensive to build...

  3. The bridge's website (put in google translate): says something about protecting the environment. The fr.wikipedia article says (in Google translation) "The major option is to offer access to improve traffic flow curve. On the bridge of 1951, the access right angle does not allow the crossing of a semi-trailer and another vehicle, one to give way to another."

    Translating the translation, the bridge is between two steep slopes and if it wasn't curved, the approach roads would either have sharp bends, or be cut back into the slopes. Just speculating.

    Yes it is a lot like the Sundial bridge in Redding. It's way bigger and has two pylons, but the design is certainly reminiscent.