The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Up the Loire to Orleáns and onward towards home

Loire Valley from Nantes to Orléans

I Started off to complete the trip up the Loire leaving Nantes quite early, well quite earlyish but I was out of the campsite before 09:30. I had decided to travel using the non-highways, this is not hard as long as you take your time and keep to the speed limits, 90kmh is now 80kmh, so do not take the 90kmh signs as the law, they are NOT. It is a fantastic drive, through vineyards, pretty, ancient villages, passing the bombastic castles and palaces (you are welcome to pop in if you wish, I didn’t), but travelling at a sedately 70-80kmh it is very nice and easy. I stopped at Tours for the night, another very nice campsite, I am beginning to think that as we have not had a bad site yet they must all be above average. I am staying tonight (Saturday 15th) on the outskirts of Orleans, I was going to go into the city earlier, but decided to give it a go tomorrow morning, as there will be a lot less traffic and hopefully Orleans less congested. I found this small campsite quite a way out of town, I arrived early 13:00 of course closed opens at 13:30, but never the less the sign saying “complete” did set alarm bells ringing, I have never been turned away in my life, who do they think I am Joseph. I waited and at 13:30 the reception opened, and a very helpful man said if I was only staying 1 night he could squeeze me in. As Linda would say ‘tear ya go, luck of the Irish’. This is a very small site, well run and immaculate, the Pizza van comes around on a Saturday, but I had a couple of lamb chops and sausages for tonight. 

For lunch I opened a tin of Lentils and sausages (French style) very tasty for a quick snack. I ate those and then had a couple of hours snooze. 

When I awoke, I decided to go to the reception also a bar and had a glass of local red and enquired about using the washing machine, no problem €5,- and its yours. So, washing on the go I had a walk about the site.

The river which runs through the campsite is a tributary of the Loire and is called the Loiret, it has good fishing and there is a nice canoeing entry point at the bottom of the site which seemed well used. The site is in a small town called Olivet about 10Km South of Orléans, it is a bit off the beaten track, but well worth another stay when next passing this way.

There is Wifi, but not very strong (I think I shall invest in an amplifier). But by sitting outside the reception I was able to get a reasonable reception, I ordered a baguette for the next morning and drank a nice cold beer and read the news from Berlin and looked at a few videos of my Grandson Aiden, I think I must visit him soon he is growing up ever so fast.

I planned my trip so that I would go into Orléans proper, I had had a look the evening prior on Google and seen that the Cathedral Sainte-Croix de Orléans was right in the centre of the City, so by getting there early I could see the tomb of a certain witch burnt at the stake (I bet they didn’t ask her how she liked her steaks, hee hee). Alas I hadn’t reckoned with a bicycle race, the whole of the town was part of a very large “velo-toure” and no matter which way I turned, I was met with “Detour de Velo” signs. In the end I gave up as it was to be a long trip that day, I had decided I would try and get to Metz, well over 450km distant.

I had put no motorways into the Sat Nav but had main roads set up, the roads that I travelled were in the main 110km roads so I made good time, stopped for a bite to eat at lunch time in a small layby, well I did have my fresh baguette and plenty of cheese and wurst to finish off. There was a particularly penetrating cheese that had accompanied us up from the Brittanie, it was double rapped and in a sealed Ikea box but the smell still got out.

But I made it to Metz and found the campsite, it was not as I remember it, but it is situated on the banks of the Moselle (French Mosel). It has both grassed and hard standings and I got a hard standing right next to the toilets and showers, that will do me, I had the wifi password but again it was only of use in selected areas, so I went to the restaurant and had a couple of cold beers.

Vanne and up the Loire

We were staying two nights in Vanne, though the site took a bit of finding it was worth it in the end, it was situated at the head of a tidal inlet, that attracted all manner of waders at low tide. Also, there was a regular bus service into town from just outside the campsite gates.

Unfortunately, the weather was lousy, it drizzled on and off all day, this didn’t stop us breakfasting in the covered market.

We walking down to the harbour, walked to the Tourist Office, inevitably closed for lunch, we decided to go for lunch, first one we tried, it did look inviting, sorry full, I suppose the reason was that it did look very inviting. 

Never mind we walked a little further and found a one that was willing to accept our custom.

 We did enjoy our meal and both agreed it was very good value for money. We both ordered the same, a warm paté starter on a bed of caramelised onions and a small salad. This was followed by a Brandade, a salt cod and potato dish covered with bread-crumbs and browned under the grill. We washed it down with a nice glass of white.

Lunch finished and the weather showing no signs of clearing up, we headed back to the Post Office and caught the bus back to camp.


Time was catching up on us, in two days it would be time for Linda to head for the airport, but first we would have to get to our campsite in Nantes. It wasn’t hard to find, except I took a wrong turning, but with a little inquiring on Linda’s part we found this pearl, hidden away in the middle of nowhere. Wonderful kind friendly hosts, beautiful well cared for pitches, the ablutions spotless, with piping hot water. The kind girl in the office even got Linda booked on her flight.

But first we went shopping at Super U, we needed food for that evening and also for home, we discovered that it was just a little way passed where I had made a ‘U’ turn when discovering I had made a wrong turn before getting to the site.

We got set up at the site only to discover that the electrics had gone off, oh dear that will never do, Linda needs her breathing device or we both wouldn’t have a good night’s sleep. But no bother the dear old lady got it fixed, but not before I had led a long extension lead to another supply.

Next Morning Linda was packed and ready by the time it was time for her to go to the service desk for the kind young lady to check on her flight. All ok so we just had to walk to the bus stop to take us into town and Linda’s Hotel. It wasn’t at all difficult to find, but it took a bit of bus and tram changing.

Booked in and we decided to walk down to the ferry to take us into town, just outside the hotel was a Asian Restaurant serving lunch, it was all you can eat buffet, say no more, in we went and ate as much as we could.

I was bloated and said to Linda “ a little nap wouldn’t go a miss”. Well she did have a hotel room so about turn and had a nap.

Suitably refreshed we went down to the river and caught the water taxi across the river, then we went 4 stops to the centre and spent the rest of the afternoon, sightseeing, palace, cathedral, tombs. Then it was time for Linda to head to her hotel and I to my campsite. Tomorrow Linda will be in Stockelsdorf and I traveling up the Loire, viewing those vineyards, castles, quaint towns and villages but first a good night’s sleep.

Quimper and Concarneau

Saturday 8th Off to Quimper (Brest) and Concarneau 
Quimper is one of the main cities in Finistére, the main one is Brest, Linda kept getting them mixed up, so of course we took the micky out of her.

After getting the camper down from the blocks, taking down the front foil, disconnecting the electrics and emptying the chem toilet off we jolly well went to pick up Reiner. We weaved our way through the streets to his house and picked him up. He was actually ready and waiting, thus we were promptly on the road to Quimper with the exception of a small detour (I misinterpreted our Sat Nav) we arrived safe and sound in Quimper. They have a dedicated parking lot for Camping Cars, it is situated quite close to the city Centre. 

The weather was nice and sunny, so lightly attired we set of across the one of the bridges that span the river, we wandered along a small tributary and soon saw the first market stall on the Quai de Steir.

We wandered from stall to stall, tasting a bit of cheese here a bit of wurst there, looking for nothing in particular and everything in general. We decided that we would buy a roast chicken with some of those smashing small roast potatoes that are oozing from the chicken juices. We reached the end so we wandered back, at the end are Les Halles, the covered market, we decided as we had come to see the market we may as well pop in and see what was on the go. 

After leaving the market we thought, what about the Cathedral, we found the entrance only to be turned away, closed until 13:30 tut, tut, not even the Godly can get away from the French midday meal times. The other two decided to take a little refreshment, while I browsed the souvenir shops for a pin for my hat.

The Merry-go-round in front of the Town Hall

We then had a nice walk through pretty gardens, lots of nice flowers and shrubs from all over the world. 

We wandered back through the streets towards the camper, Reiner saw us safely on board we said our fare the wells, it had been a wonderful week in Penmarsc´h, thank you for your hospitality and hope to see you again soon in Stockelsdorf.

We headed out of Quimper and towards the town of Concarneau, this a very nice port, that I last visited in 2001, while touring this part of the world. I remember it as a very nice well-kept town, with wonderful fortifications and lots of nice fish restaurants, things had changed, but for the better. We found our campsite with no bother, it was a little out of the town, but 1€ was the cost of a charabanc ticket, though we walked there and got the bus back. We took the long way into town, down to the beach and into town via the waterfront, very pleasant but a long way.

The next morning, we walked into town via a very pleasant walk that lead through a nice glade path and this brought us out near the harbour a much shorter walk. We walked to the covered market, then had a coffee and bought a few things at a small. We then crossed the short causeway and into the bastion, that guards the entry into the port. It is a very nice part of town with souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and lots of walks along the fortifications and quayside, there is a fishing museum and a retired fishing trawler that you can go onboard and have a look around, we didn’t. But we did have lunch in a very nice restaurant called La Porte au Vin, I think that the restaurant got its name because it is right beside the archway that leads to the quay. Therefore with a little deduction I came to the conclusion that at one time this was either where wine was loaded or discharged onto boats. We heard the pipes, not Scottish, not Uillian, not even the best of them all Northumbrian small pipes, it was in fact Brittonian pipes and a chanter. There was a folk dance competition taking place, this lead us to sit and watch as they did a few jigs and reels, I must say “though  Linda may disagree” that there was a bit more movement than in Irish straight up and down dancing, but not as much as in Geordie Clog dancing.

We headed back along the leafy trail to our campsite, we had such an enjoyable and large lunch that we didn’t need anything else to eat so it was night-night. Tomorrow we were leaving and going first to the market and heading out along the coast to Vanne.

Next day was a public holiday, but it still had a market, we loaded up and headed into town, the city council has been very clever and setup a RV park at the disused Railway Station, perfect just a short walk into town and there it was a reasonable size not as large as some, Kiel, but much larger than Lübeck. We walked around bought a few dried sausages and other victuals before heading back to the van stopping on the way at a Boulangerie to buy a filled Pan Complete to eat in the van before heading off to Vanne.

We were staying two nights in Vanne, though the site took a bit of finding it was worth it in the end, it was situated at the head of a tidal inlet, that attracted all manner of waders at low tide. Also, there was a regular bus service into town from just outside the campsite gates.

Unfortunately, the weather was lousy, it drizzled on and off all day, this didn’t stop us breakfasting in the covered market, walking down to the harbour, walked to the Tourist Office, inevitably closed for lunch, we decided to go for lunch, first one we tried, it did look inviting, sorry full, I suppose the reason was that it did look very inviting. Never mind we walked a little further and found a one that was willing to accept our custom. We did enjoy our meal and both agreed it was very good value for money. We both ordered the same, a warm paté starter on a bed of caramelised onions and a small salad. This was followed by a Brandade, a salt cod and potato dish covered with bread-crumbs and browned under the grill. We washed it down with a nice glass of white.

Lunch finished and the weather showing no signs of clearing up, we headed back to the Post Office and caught the bus back to camp.


Britany- Penmarc´h and the surrounding area.

Day 1


We got ourselves settled in, it was nice weather so we got the table and chairs out we would be dining al-fresco from her on in (hopefully). We had done a shop at a larger supermarket, bought pork chops (a sort of Kaseler Cutlet), these very lightly fried and added to a tin of Haricot Blanc and a few chopped onions made a very tasty meal, a type of cassoulet a-la Smith.
Reiner came around and decided we would walk to the little harbour of Penmarc`h, here there are two small fresh fish shops, a bakers, a couple of bars and a restaurant. 
On the way to the harbour Rainer pointed out some fascinating features and facts along the coastal path. The area is full of flora and fauna, as well as ancient relics. The bird life is quite amazing, We passed a long trench cut into the ground, Reiner informed us that this was where the locals of by gone years would burn sea weeds and use the ask to fertilise the fiels.
He also told us that this area has lots of flowers one especially is very pretty, an Orchid art.

We sat outside in the afternoon sun, drank a cidre or two while we chatted about this and that, Reiner is a web designer who works for a Canadian firm, he lived in Montreal for a number of years, then moved to Paris before deciding for health reasons to buy a small house on the Brittany coast.

It started to cool down so we decided we would eat in the upstairs restaurant, so asking if a table was free, up we went got seated and were presented with the menu. We all ordered something different, Reiner an assiette of locally caught prawns, I my 6 oysters, and Linda a crab mayonnaise, she thought this would be crab meat in a mayonnaise dressing, wrong, wrong, wrong, along came a whole spider crab and a pot of mayonnaise. You deal with this by removing the carapace (I did this for Linda) and scrape out the brown meat, then remove the legs and the pincers, cracking them to extract the sweet white meat. She did enjoy the taste of it but doesn’t really like fiddling about to get to her food. We helped her, I do not in the least mind playing the violin for my food, Next came the mains. Reiner had picked a cod dish, Linda a platter of various fish and I just to be different ordered the Entrecôte steak all perfectly cooked. Desert followed Îsle flottante (a lump of méringue floating in a vanilla sauce for Linda, Reiner, Profiteroles covered in a caramel sauce and I went for the Crème Brûlée. Everything we ate was very tasty and perfectly served a real French dream come true.


It was a very nice morning, as we had decided to hire cycles for a week, we had agreed that we would meet up with Reiner at his house, we walked along the beach doing a bit of beachcombing, picked up Reiner, then walk to the Phare Eckmühl where the cycle hire shop is situated. 
The beach from the campsite to the harbour

Beachcomber Smith

The harbour mudflats

A little Egret dabbling on the harbour boat ramp
One of the harbour restaurants

Reiners little house

On our way to hire bikes

EckMühle Lighthouse
We hired the bikes and set off along the coast in the direction St Guénolé, a larger fishing port, we had bought a sandwich (half a baguette stuffed with Ham, tomato and lettuce), this was devoured sitting on the rocks above a sea that was smashing into the rocks splashing up sea foam. Reiner did say that this was a very dangerous part of the coast and people are at times washed off due to their stupidity, Reiner why are we here? 
Eating a ham and tomato baguette in a precarious position
We passed the church of Notre Dame de La Joie, this is a granite church standing above the sea. (we visited again on Monday so I shall tell you more about it then). 

We cycled on to the fishing harbour, of course the Sardine canning factory was closed for lunch, as was most of the other shops.

We cycled to the supermarket, yes also closed, that’s what happens when you trust your life in the hands of the locals. We did buy bread at the bakers at the harbour, when the supermarket opened, we bought some courgettes, red peppers and some lamb chops, we had decided we would BBQ that evening. Having done our shopping we watched a fishing boat discharging its catch, then we watched the fishermen playing the local game of quoits, nothing else to see that day we  

We headed back in the direction of St Pierre, the part of Penmarc´h where Reiner lives then it was out to the campsite. Reiner arrived and we set up the BBQ, we had brought our flat packed BBQ with us, I had charcoal, firelighters, some pork chops in the refrigerator, cool wine, so that was this evenings meal sorted,  charcoal lit, and food grilled, food al fresco always seems to taste better, or maybe it is just about how much wine you drink. 

We sat and chatted until it became a little to chilly, we cleared up, as the grill area is adjacent to the main entrance and this is where the main rubbish bins are, no problem. We (Linda and Reiner) washed up, then Reiner headed off home and we headed off to bed.

Sunday -Guilvinec
Reiner arrived at the appointed hour or thereabout and we cycled to along the coastal path to Le Guilvinec for the Sunday market, hitching our bikes right at the start of the market that runs the length of Rue de la Marine.

It is a very fine market, with everything you could wish for on-sale, wonderful. We wandered from stall to stall, vegetables, meat, charcutier, oysters, fish of every description as well as the normal goods and chattels to be found on a French market.

Selling lunch

Removing the bone from a nice ham hock


And more oysters

Artischocke galore

Herbs and spices of every hue

Do you fancy a fresh roast chicken

We popped into a restaurant across the road from the Hotel Ville, drank Cidre and ordered our Galettes for lunch. I had a one filled with sea food, Linda, ham and egg, Reiner a Ham and mushroom. Also a chance to pick up a free recipe on the place mats.

Linda Ham and egg

Mine, mixed sea food

Reiner Ham and mushrooms
The place mat

We walked to the harbour as we wanted to buy some mussels as we were planning to have Moules Marnier that evening, alas all of the mussels had been sold, but they had very nice cockles, so it was to be a vongole in a vegetable stock. I bought some whelks and winkles, the whelks for me (I noticed the wrinkled faces of the other two), the winkles to go into the pot to add the taste.

We went up to the panorama walkway, where during the week you can watch the onloading of the fishing boats, it gives a smashing view over the whole harbour. 

We went back to our bikes, Linda and Reiner wanted to head back by a longer route, I chose the shorter way.

That evening we ate an assiette of small eats, sausage, cheeses olives, the vongole all very tasty and as I had eaten my whelks while the other two where meandering through the countryside, they did not need to watch me in my ecstasy, devouring these jewels of the sea and of course neither do you.
Reiner had to work on Monday, so we were left to our own devices. We had a lazy morning, I think that Linda done some washing (I did notice bits of clothing wafting in the breeze on the washing line that I had attached between the camper and the fence) Leaving the washing to dry we decided that we would cycle once again to the Port of St Guénolé and do a bit of food and souvenir shopping.
We were passing the small restaurants in Kerity harbour so decided to have lunch, Linda a Galette just for a change, this time with local sausage and tomato and I a very nice squid in a sauce Amercano, with chips.

We saddled up and peddled  along the coast,

A nice display of poppies on 6th of June
Then on to the church of the Notre Dame de La Joie, this time we stopped and took a bit of time to   have a look around and pop in to take some photographs of the interior.

I bought a tin of Breton Soupe de poissons and Linda a few useful bits and pieces. We then headed back to Reiner as he had invited us round for supper. On arrival he had a plate of starters ready for us, Oysters, (Linda and Reiner did try a one) and we chatted while he cooked the rest of the meal, it was Saith or as we know it in the North East Coley, it also goes under the name of Pollack. It was accompanied with lentils, carrots and buckwheat galettes filled with courgettes. 

The meal was finished off with a fine plate of local cheeses. 

We drank the local Kerity Cider with the meal, it was a very nice evening, we cycled back to the camper and fell into a satisfied sleep.

Is the big day in Kerity ( the area of Penmarc’h which contains the small harbour), it is market day, there are only about 12 stalls, but they have a great diversity of fresh local produce (Reiner buys his Bio-veg there).

As it was our turn to cook, we bought all of the ingredients from our market, we decided on a non-fish main course, but did think that it would be a shame not to make use of some of the fantastic fresh fish on sale. We thought (well Reiner and I did) local sardines would be an excellent starter, as said before Linda doesn’t like fiddling with bones and as we all know Sardines have plenty of them. I bought a couple of large crab pinchers for Linda and a few whelks for myself, along with some nice fresh crusty bread, that was the starters sorted.  

While passing the poultry stand, I spied rabbits, that would make a fine meal, the stall holder had already prepared them so I bought 3 nice pieces of saddle. We then bought from the charcutier a nice slice of smoked bacon, then it was on to the veg-stall to get broad beans and new potatoes.
The shopping done it was time to have lunch, we popped across the road to a small creperie that also has a good selection of other foods. I ordered my half dozen oysters to start, the other two only wanted mains, Linda a warm goats cheese salad, moule frites, for Reiner and I. I drank the local beer and Linda and Reiner white wine. 
Reiner with his moule frites
My Oysters and a pint

Oysters gone beer going

Linda giving her goats cheese salad the eye

My portion of Mussels and chips
Suitably refreshed, I headed back to the campsite agreeing on a time for dinner that evening. Linda and Reiner went for a bike ride (I don’t mind riding a bike, but it must have a purpose).
When they arrived back at the camper, had done most of the prep (almost, there was only the beans to pod and the shallot to chop, those tasks were left to Reiner. I cracked the crab pinchers, fried the sardines (I would have loved to have grilled them but lighting up a BBQ just for 6 sardines is a little extravagant. I ate my whelks (I don’t know what the other two have against whelks)?
I browned the rabbit pieces all over in a little oil, speck, when fried I added the chopped shallot and a few torn sage leaves (from Reiners vegetable patch, next added 500ml of chicken stock allowed to bubble up, turned the heat down and allowed to cook. Linda scraped the new potatoes and I set them on to boil. In another pan I boiled the broad beans when boiled I added some diced speck and onion.
It was ready, we ate the meal, washed down with a Kerity Cidre.

Wednesday 5th Lemon soles day

I had a lazy day sending Reiner off on a bike ride with the instruction to buy something for the evening meal, Linda bought three Lemon Soles at least one of them was well under age and shouldn’t have been out on his own, that was Linda’s. I boiled some new Tatties and carrots and with a bit of bread that was it, we had cheeses and sausage and ended with a piece of Fare Breton as desert, cake that we had become addicted to.

Thursday 6th Reiner cooked Tuna

Thursday we had decided to return the Bicycles, the weather had turned a bit wet and chilly, so we cycled to Reiner, and set off to the Eckmühle lighthouse, we popped into a couple of souvenir places, I was looking for a pin for my “old friend” the wandering hat. No joy, it has to be something special, not any rubbish will adorn my titter. I was actually looking for an Eckmühle one, but not to be found. We walked back to Reiners and then on to the campsite along the coastal path.

Reiner was cooking fish that evening, which he had yet to buy, he also was cooking broad beans and carrots. The fish shop (run by the lady at the market) gets its langoustines fresh every day, they are delivered to the shop and outside is a board that announces the time that they are delivered. They are cooked fresh before your eyes. We decided that the tuna steaks looked nice, so we selected three nice looking steaks. Next a half a dozen oysters for me and off we went home.

 Unfortunately, Reiner doesn’t have an oyster knife, so a screwdriver was used as a substitute, but I managed, nothing keeps this lad away from his oysters.

So we dined on Tuna, potatoes and broad beans washed down with the finest local cider. A most enjoyable evening.

 Friday 7th Restaurant Emma and our last evening in Penmarc’h

As this was to be our last day in Penmarc’h we decided to get everything packed and head off to the Harbour of Kerity to Restaurant Emma so that no one needed to cook. As we had had such a nice meal on our first evening, we decided to book a table for that evening. This we had done at midday while sitting on the terrace. We had lunched at the adjacent creperie, also very nice, but for a real speciality one must go to Emma. We sat on the terrace watching the tide come in and the antics of people parking and unparking their cars (a few near misses). We had booked a table for 19:00, so a little before we asked if we could go upstairs to the restaurant, affirmative, so up we jolly well went, got the choice of tables, we took a one overlooking the harbour.

Linda having learnt her lesson did not make the same mistake of ordering Spider Crab Mayonnaise.

Reiner ordered langoustines and I an Assiette of shellfish. It was monstrous, ½ a brown crab, 4 oysters, a pile of winkles, a couple of langoustines, rosé prawns and a pot of mayo.

Next the mains, Reiner ordered Saith, I Turbot and Linda a selection of fish. All very nice and excellently cooked. They drank wine and I drank water; I was driving.

Only down fall was it was pouring down outside, but we sat for a while and then I decided I would go and fetch the camper, which I had parked at the allotted parking area about 500mtrs out of town, but I got it and then picked off the other two, dropping Reiner off at home and headed back to the campsite for the last night’s sleep. 
Tomorrow it's off to Quimper then on towards Concarneau.