You look on the card and look for a palace because one finally would like to get to know the history and buildings of the country. One is often disappointed that no guided or absolutely no visits are possible. Many castles still privately and absolutely are not accessible. Though in Pd. Abbé we got an hello from a big dog. ;)
16 March 1978, the Liberian petrol tanker Amoco Cadiz has lost control of its rudder. Carrying oil from the Persian Gulf to Rotterdam, it drifts towards the coast of Brittany in a raging storm. The German tug that has come to the rescue is unable to set the tow in place. At 10pm, the tanker run aground and rips its hull outside the small harbour of Portsall. The largest oil spill due to a tanker accident that the world has ever seen has just started.
In two weeks, the whole cargo of Amoco Cadiz will pour out, a total of 227.000 metric tons. In volume, this is equivalent to 3 times the Sea Empress or 5.6 times the Exxon Valdez.
My parents took me to the site of the accident. I was 6 1/2 at the time. What I remember most is this vision of black goey stuff as far as the eye could see and, right in the middle, the black triangle made by the bow of the ship that had not finished sinking.
The channel off the island of Ouessant (Ushant) is the busiest in the world. The result is that, from dramatic accidents like this to people just dropping rubbish in the sea or ships illegally cleaning their tanks at sea to avoid port taxes, the waters around Brittany suffer daily from pollution. This is why you will occasionally find patches of oil on rocks along the coast or other type of rubbish. It is the responsibility of everybody to prevent it from happening, locals and tourists alike. It is also the job of a non-profit organisation called Cedre that was founded in the aftermath of the Amoco Cadiz accident so that it would "never happen again".
(work in progress)
The Bretons are an endearingly nationalistic lot, and have done a fantastic job of keeping their language alive and vibrant, whereas other related Celtic languages such as Cornish have all but withered on the vine. One of the most obvious examples of this bilingualism is the fact that most road signs feature both the French and Breton placenames.
The downside of these bilingual names is that once you venture a little off the beaten path - as in the area of Central Bretagne around Guerlesquin and Lohuec - some road signs may revert to being 'Breton only'. If you're not a local, this can be pretty confusing, as the road maps and GPSs that you're likely to be relying on may only reflect the French names.
If in doubt, try to say the name out loud, as Breton is fairly phonetic, and then try to see whether there's a similar sounding 'French' name on your map (for example, where the 'k' is replaced by a 'qu' or the 'w' is replaced by a 'u').
(work in progress)
Bretagné's principal scenic charm is its ruggedly scenic coastline, and virtually the entire length of the coastline is indented with myriad little covers, inlets and bays. This is thankful subject matter for photography - provided that you bear this in mind when deciding on the timing of your visit.
The north Bretagne coast experiences one of the most dramatic tidal ranges in the world, with the difference between high and low tides being as much as 14m in the area around Mont St Michel. The shoreline is gently sloping along much of this coast, so when the tide goes out, it can retreat literally beyond the horizon in some places, leaving boats in the harbour literally high and dry.
This photo was taken at Loguivy-sur-mer in the late afternoon, when the tide was beginning to come in. Low tide conditions are interesting for exploring the rockpools and sand flats that the retreating tide exposes, but generally speaking, the resultant views are nowhere near as picturesque as this scene would be at high tide. So, to optimise your photographic opportunities, try to time your visits to the coast for the morning when the tide is still in.
There was nothing which was really dangerous. It's very safe to travel there. Or are you afraid of these strangers?
Never get stuck in the sand here! or if you do, be sure and have some friends that are willing to pull you out!
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