Europe 1987

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan 2018

Europe 1987

We all had a fairly poor night’s sleep.  The mattress was too soft for Di, so she moved it from the bed down to the floor.  Then there were the disturbances from noisy cars and motor bikes going up and down the street, plus a few loud trains, Phil with a sore ear and Tim being restless.  We rose at 7:30am still feeling as though we needed a good rest.

We enjoyed our croissants for breakfast and then set off for the day’s drive, a trip of 275 kilometres to St Malo.  Our first stop was a mushroom museum (the Musée du Champignon) on Route de Gennes, just six kilometres from our hotel on the western outskirts of Saumur.  There are lots of caves in the limestone rocks of the Loire River, and many of the caves around Saumur are used for two significant economic enterprises – wine storage and mushroom cultivation. 

We are able to explore quite an extensive set-up of mushroom growing in the caves, which provided a fascinating insight into something we had never experienced.  Apparently, about 40% of the world’s mushroom production for commercial use originates around Saumur.

The day was spent driving through lovely scenery.  We made a stop in Angers, a large town with an imposing half-ruined castle with 17 towers built in 1240 on a 32 metre high promontory above the River Maine, with access across a drawbridge.  We would have loved to explore it, but unfortunately we couldn’t because they closed for lunch, although we did manage to have a look at some of the lovely gardens around the castle.

We continued our drive, passing through some more picturesque villages and towns such as Craon and then La Guerche-de-Bretagne, where we stopped to explore a lovely cathedral and amazing old half-timbered houses overhanging the narrow streets of the old town centre.  We made another brief stop as we passed through Chateaugiron, where an 11th century castle right beside the main road certainly grabbed my attention.

By-passing the large city of Rennes, we continued our drive through Dinan, a beautiful town (especially in the old central district) overlooking the River Rance and partly surrounded by old walls and fortifications.  Our drive continued across the Barrage et Usine Marémotrice de la Rance, the world’s first tidal barrage across the mouth of the River Rance and on to our destination, the Youth Hostel in St Malo at 37 Avenue du Père Umbricht.


Day 51

Saumur to St Malo

Tuesday 1 September 1987