One of the prettiest town we visited was St. Malo. We might have missed it if we hadn’t needed to go there to catch the ferry to the UK. We left our friends in Fougères and waited for the bus to take us to St. Malo. We had a good set of luggage with us, but the more we had to travel without our van, the more we cursed the luggage.
The first thing we did in St. Malo was find a hotel. The Hotel Marguerite suited us just fine with it’s lacy curtains and bidet in the bathroom. The stairs to the upper floors were so narrow that anyone needing to move furniture in or out of these buildings had to do it through the windows with a set of ropes and pulleys.
This walled town by the seaside took quite a shelling from enemy ships during the war, we were told, and the evidence was still to be found in the walls on the seaward side. Again, I’ve painted out some of the people in the photos.
Someone offered to take our picture and it wasn’t until later that we realized that the person could easily have run away with our camera. But we were trusting souls.
A restaurant where I wanted to have breakfast was closed until much later in the day.
A man who looked like he had only one leg was actually getting ready to kick a rubber ball for his very fast border collie to retrieve. The dog often caught the ball on the first bounce as it came off the wall. Then he went to a higher part of the ground and dropped the ball, giving it a nudge to roll it back to his master. Fascinating to watch!
We were surprised to find a statue of Jacques Cartier in the place from which he is supposed to have sailed to Canada. On the Canadian side, in Gaspé, there is a monument dedicated to the same brave man, celebrating his arrival.
First we had to clear Customs. Those heavy suitcases were a nuisance as we stood in line with our passports ready, so we set them on the floor in front of us and nudged them along with our feet whenever the line crawled ahead. Behind us, an impatient man was practically breathing down my neck. He tried to go around me but I stayed close to the person in front of me to keep my place in line. He was fidgety and agitated, shuffling from one foot to the other, stretching his neck to see around me to find a way to jump the queue. We were almost at the checkpoint where we would show the Customs agent our passports when the man stepped right over my suitcase and pushed into line in front of me. I thought, if he needs to be up there so badly, let him go ahead. We’re all getting on the same ferry. The Customs agent took his passport, and then motioned for him to step aside to an area behind their counter. They searched his pockets and patted him down. Another agent stamped our passports and waved us through to board the ferry to Portsmouth. As I looked back, the agents were still going through the agitated man’s carry-on bag with a fine-toothed comb.
We said goodbye to France and looked forward to a short visit to Portsmouth and London. See you there next time.