Hello Friends and Family,
This past weekend we had Saturday AND Sunday off. I can still hear the angels singing. My teammate Korrin and I woke up on Saturday and decided to be adventurous. After all, we’re in France! Before coming here I was looking at guide books and saw a blurb about a place called Carnac. Its main attraction is the Megaliths which are ancient stones that are in perfectly parallel lines. It’s like the Stonehenge of France. Here’s the catch, no one knows why or how the stones were put there. There are many myths and assumptions, but we’ll get to that later. We decided that sounded pretty cool. To Carnac or bust!
I’ve never traveled by train before, and it was such a cute experience. The lady who sold us our tickets was a gem. Not only did she speak English, but she gave us a discount on our tickets. Here in France if you’re under 25 you get discounts on travel. You’re supposed to register and have a card, but we haven’t done that yet. So she gave us a pass. Thanks, nice lady! There was a conductor with a top hat who blew the whistle to alert us of the arriving train. After people had shuffled on and off the train, he blew the whistle for ‘last call’. My Grandma Sheila would have loved all the people watching that could be done at the train station. Some people with luggage, some perhaps on a day trip like us, and there were two teenagers taking a record number of selfies. Side note: selfies are a universal trend. Once we boarded the train we were off to the town of Auray where we would hop on a bus to the village of Carnac.
When we got off the bus in Carnac, we soon realized that we had gotten off a stop too early. Of course, the office of tourism was closed for lunch (from noon to two pm). I swear French people have the best work hours. Did I mention that basically everything besides Dominos Pizza is closed on Sundays? God bless the people who work at Dominos. They may or may not recognize us now. Anyway, we went into a bakery across the street hoping someone would point us in the direction of the Megaliths. As we entered the bakery a man was trying to pass by us and said ‘excuse me’ as he walked by. At first I thought ‘no problem’. Then I stopped dead in my tracks. Korrin and I immediately made eye contact, and I could tell we were both thinking ‘waaaaiittt a minute…THAT WAS ENGLISH!’ So, without delay, Korrin chased after him asking for directions. Thanks to the kind Frenchman, we were on our way!
After some walking, we decided to stop and have lunch in the little village to fuel up before we saw the rocks. There was a gorgeous chapel where a wedding would later take place and several little shops. We picked a cute bakery to eat in figuring no matter where we chose to eat it would be delicious. We have an unwritten rule between us that when we go to a bakery for lunch, we must also get a pastry. I mean, why not? We know it’s a tough job to eat sweet treats, but somebody’s gotta do it. Before that day I felt like I could close my eyes, point at random towards the pastry case and always come out with something scrumptious. It was that day I learned my lesson: read the labels! At the bakery, I selected what I thought was a fruit tart as my pastry of choice. See picture. Looks good, right? Fruit looks fresh. I couldn’t wait to dig in. I forked myself a fair-sized bite, and I instantly regretted it. The cake was called a Baba cake which means it is completely soaked in RUM! I mean soaked in the most literal form. I could have probably wrung the cake out. That one bite was like taking a giant swig of rum…no chaser! It was brutal. There were facial expressions to match my horror. Korrin and I were laughing and doing our best to conceal my distaste for the Baba cake as not to be rude. Even though this totally goes against my moral code, that day, I did not finish my dessert.
After almost accidentally eating my weight in rum at lunch, we began to make our way up to the Megaliths. It was a beautiful day to be outside. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and all felt like it was right in the world. Especially once we reached the rocks and realized there was a little train you could take around the sights. It took us down by the water and past all of the incredible stones. The cherry on top was the fact that they gave us headphones so we could listen to an English tour guide. Cue a high five! The rocks were amazing, and to think no one knows why they were put into these formations. The local myth says that Pope Cornelius was running from the Pagan army and grew too tired to continue. So he turned around and made the warriors into stone. Another rumor states that it was used as a wall to keep people out from the town behind them where there was a cult following. Who’s to say which is right?
I have to admit, even though the rocks were eye-catching, Korrin and I were hugely distracted by the cutest little boy in front of us. He was probably only three years old, but he’s destined to be a lady killer. We spent a better part of the train ride playing peek-a-boo and sticking our tongues out at him before the boy’s father told him to face forward. He wasn’t a cool dad. Even still, the boy kept peaking back at us to see if we were looking. Like I said he’s a lady killer, and the language barrier wasn’t going to stop him. We were sad to part when the train ride ended, and based on his mini tantrum I think he was too.
On our walk back to town we could faintly hear a man singing on a microphone. It piqued our interest so we followed the sound of the man’s voice. Low and behold we arrived at a mini festival in the local park. There we two tents set up with traditional crepes and drinks. Around the tents was a man serenading us with what I’m assuming were traditional French songs. Let’s just say the man wouldn’t have made it far on American Idol, but he’d probably be let in for the funny auditions. At one point I looked over and he was singing while running around holding up a chair on his back. You can’t make this stuff up. Just past the tents in a little field there were several older men playing traditional games of Breton. Korrin and I decided that we needed to get in on the fun. Thanks to our recent French lessons, we were able to introduce ourselves and tell them about how we play volleyball in Vannes. So yeah, we’re basically fluent. The guys were excited to meet Americans, and this cute older man took us around teaching us how to play all of the games. They would cheer when we scored points, and heckle us when we missed the target. It was an amazing experience to feel like I was learning part of their culture. We were doing as the locals do! It was a pretty neat end to our ‘neature’ walk!
We were so full of happiness by the end of our day. I was proud of us for just going and adventuring. We didn’t know where we were going, but we figured it out along the way. Adventuring our way around the town was a very invigorating feeling. We kept looking at each other and saying ‘wow, we’re doing this!’ Korrin is a great travel buddy and I’m so lucky to have her. We make a good duo when it comes to navigating and having fun! I already can’t wait for our next adventure.