Soaring with the seagulls

Saturday was a truly perfect day, where every passing hour seem to bring with it a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Around 8am I woke up in the yurt and headed over to the main house to take a shower and enjoy the morning sunshine. Breakfast included toasted bread, marmalade, yogurt, and fresh apple juice made from apples grown right there on the farm, and it was so nice to chat with everyone as they emerged from their various sleeping places (somehow more than a dozen friends, family and musicians had managed to sleep there that night!) After breakfast I went to check on my endlessly-photographable vegetable friends in the greenhouse and then got into my swimsuit for our late-morning trip to the beach!

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My fascination with the greenhouse continues 🙂

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Apple trees!

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The beach was about 20 minutes from Penguel and it was gorgeous – so inviting and tropical! However, nothing could have prepared me for how COLD the water was, it was like swimming in an ice bath! The only way to survive was to continue swimming, and luckily the waves were gentle enough to make that easy. Once I got over the cold it was seriously refreshing, and I would have continued swimming for more than 15 minutes had we not all been concerned about dying from hypothermia. Afterwards we laid in the sun to defrost a bit – maybe for 30 minutes – and then shook off our towels to get some crêpes for lunch. It was a short beach experience, but very memorable!

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Trying to raise my body temperature

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Time to go to lunch!

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For lunch we drove to a small port filled with tiny fishing boats, presided over by a glorious crêpe stand. Not only was the setting beautiful and the crêpes delicious, but the company was excellent as well; Rodolphe’s elderly uncle gave a sweet speech about how great the concert was (and reiterated again and again how handsome we all were haha!)

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Crepe time!
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More brillant advertising!

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Crepes and a view!
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Mmmmm I love anything with an egg on top!

After our crêpes, Valentin, Kwame and I drove Marie and her friends back to Quimper so they could catch their train, and afterwards the three of us decided to visit the town of Locronan, which was founded by the Irish Saint Ronan in the 6th century and was once famous for sail-making.

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These flowers were everywhere, but I forget what they’re called!
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This woodcarver very nicely let me take his photo 🙂

We followed the tourist trail starting at the Church of Saint Ronan, which was beautiful (and a little eerie) inside and out, followed by a walk through the main square, past numerous beautiful homes and a chapel, and then up the hill to the Manor of Locronan, where we got a beautiful view of the valley bellow us. The boys made fun of me for taking pictures of all the old doors, flowers and garden gnomes, but I just couldn’t help it. 🙂

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A door to the Church of Saint Ronan
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Some strange-looking restoration work
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The relics of Saint Ronan, bathed in rainbow light

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Looking for coins in the old wash basin by the chapel
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Valentin hit the jackpot!

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I loved how all the signs were in both French and Breton, the local Celtic language
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Ancient Celtic ruins?
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Or maybe not… 😛 Although according to the sign this is apparently Merlin’s tree

Thanks to our walk we had worked up quite the appetite, so we bought a selection of delicious kouign amann – a traditional, sticky Breton dessert made with tons and tons of sugar and butter. If I remember correctly we got the salted caramel, apple, pistachio and natural flavors and we ate them by the well in the town square.

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So gooooood!

When we returned home we decided to relax for a bit, then helped with a few post-concert chores. As I was helping him in the parking lot, Valentin kept telling me to ask Betrand to take me up in his microlight – which is like an hang glider with a propeller – but after seeing it parked outside the barn the day before I was a bit nervous about the idea (it seemed like there wasn’t much to hold on to haha!) Luckily Kwame is much braver than me and enthusiastically jumped at the chance to go flying. And once I saw him take off into the sky I knew I wanted to try too!

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Kwame boldly going where no Ghanaian in France has gone before!
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And they’re off!

While we waited for Kwame to (hopefully) come back, Valentin and I briefly played some badminton in the barn, which was really fun – even if I wasn’t particularly good. A few minutes later we heard the buzzing of the microlight and Kwame was safely back on the ground. Now it was my turn! Once I had my helmet, headset and seat belt on and had waved goodbye to Kwame and Valentin, I asked Bertrand if I could hold on to his shoulders if I got scared, which he very kindly let me do. 🙂 A few moments later we were speeding down the former parking lot / field and then we were airborne! In no time at all we were hundreds of meters up in the air, with Penguel directly below us (I even could make out Valentin and Kwame waving at us!) Then we headed west, over fields filled with cows and large blue lakes, until the we could see the ocean in the distance. I was so glad I brought my camera, which I wildly swung around every minute or so to take a picture (I couldn’t quite look at the viewfinder through my helmet, but I got some good shots nonetheless)

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Getting ready to lift-off
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Look, it’s Valentin’s house! 😀

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Flying was so exhilarating, you can really feel every gust of wind and change in altitude; the only scary parts were when Bertrand took the microlight lower, then my stomach lurched up into my throat a bit, like it does when I’m on a high roller coaster. But the incredible views made it all worth it! As we approached the ocean we passed directly over the little port where we had crêpes that afternoon and then we got even lower as we flew along the coast. What an amazing experience!

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The port where we had lunch!

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Approaching the beach
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Gorgeous!
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Heading back home!

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When we landed back on solid ground I was almost dazed with excitement – all I could do was say “It was so fun!” over and over and give Bertrand a hug haha! It took me 15 minutes to brush all of the knots out of my hair, but it was truly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! 😀

Believe it or not, our day wasn’t even over yet! That night was the birthday of one of the guys who attended the concert (I honestly I forget his name and his connection to Valentin’s family, but he was really cool and had a mustache haha!) and we all were invited. So I changed into my warmest outfit, listened to Rodolphe playing piano in the living room for a few minutes, and not long after we all headed over to the party. There were probably more than 50 people at this huge backyard extravaganza and I was struck by how friendly everyone was! It was a very eclectic mix of 30-something surfer dudes and families with small children, and I got a chance to practice my French with most of them! We ate a delicious dinner of roasted pig, salad and crêpes for dessert, and also sampled some tasty rose liqueur and creme de rhum made by one of the guests herself!

Later we took turns slacklining on a loose tight rope someone had set up (which is even more difficult than it looks) and jumped on the giant trampoline once the kids had lost interest (which was incredibly fun and probably dangerous, since every time one of the boys jumped next to me I shot up into the air like crazy haha!) We left around midnight and turned towards home for another night of sleeping like a baby in the yurt.

I don’t know how we managed to fit a beach trip, crêpe eating by the sea, a visit to a beautiful historic village, a flight over the farms and beaches of Brittany, and an awesome party full of roast pig-eating and trampoline-jumping into just one day, but somehow we managed to do it all! 😀

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I didn’t bring my camera to the party but here’s what we were doing before we left…

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