Celebrating the number 2 in Brittany!

So we are sorry about our silence of recent date – we have been enjoying some amazing weather in Brittany and have been too busy cycling to blog.  Unfortunately this all came to an end about a week ago when the heavens opened and we (with the exception of Amaya) were significantly drenched.

Since the mechanical elephant of Nantes we followed a stunning canal deep into Brittany.  We passed castles built into cliff faces with witches hat turrets, enjoyed coffee in ancient town squares, camped in a forest where legends of King Arthur are told, scoffed crepes, wound our way along the flat tow path of the canal, passing river barges going up the locks, and cherishing the car free environment with the birds providing the soundtrack.

Impossibly beautiful cycling

Impossibly beautiful cycling

An amazing castle in a city called Joselyn along the Nantes-Brest canal.

An amazing castle in a city called Joselyn along the Nantes-Brest canal.

Amaya continued her passion for graffiti along the canal

Amaya continued her passion for graffiti along the canal

We had both been anticipating this section of our journey and it didn’t disappoint – this is France at its best.  It has been one of those experiences where we wished we could somehow take away more than just our memories and a few photos.  If only there was some way of capturing those moments in a more substantial way and transporting them with us…

She is really burying her nose into that flower!

She is really burying her nose into that flower!

This was a cool campground in an old guys backyard - total cost of 3.80 Euros!

This was a cool campground in an old guys backyard – total cost of 3.80 Euros!

Meanwhile there have been a few causes for celebration: Amaya’s second two-year-old molar finally poked through, her age caught up to her teeth on the 15th, it has been two months on the road, we made it to Roscoff which marked the end of our 1300km cycle path that we had been following since entering France, and we passed 2000km!

Sometimes we even find it hard to believe that we have managed all of this through simple pedal power!  That we have actually transported ourselves from Barcelona to Brittany on bicycles!?!?!

Excited to have made it all the way to Roscoff on our 1300km cycle path.

Excited to have made it all the way to Roscoff on our 1300km cycle path.

Cycling through a beautiful forest on bike paths

Cycling through a beautiful forest on bike paths

We are now in St Malo where we are catching a ferry to Portsmouth and then visiting Jonny (Shoshanna’s brother) and Helen and their new baby, Henry in London.  We then make our way back onto the continent and meet up with my parents  and ride through Belgium and Holland for a few weeks and then up into Germany and the Baltic Sea and down to Berlin.  Fortunately there is a lot of cycling ahead of us.

Lighthouse St Malo

Cycling up from the small ferry into St Malo

Cycling up from the small ferry into St Malo

We played for hours on the beach with the fortified city of St Malo all around us.

We played for hours on the beach with the fortified city of St Malo all around us.

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Les Machines de L’ile

Our journey reached 1500km as we rode into Nantes, which turned out to be a magnificent city.  It is the fifth largest in France with a thriving cultural and artistic vibe.  It is a bicycle friendly city where activists paint bike paths on roads if they don’t exist already.  We stayed with Romaric and his family which was a treat in itself, as Romaric is the manager of a beautiful botanic garden (Jardin des Plantes) and a keen carnivorous plant enthusiast.

A beautiful botanic garden

A beautiful botanic garden

Giant seat in Jardin de Plantes

Giant seat in Jardin de Plantes

Without doubt the highlight was “Les Machines de L’ile”, an impossibly fantastical creation of Jules Verne type creatures.  There is a Heron with an 8 metre wing span that flies and carries passengers, a larger than life study ant, carnivorous plants, and then there is the Great Elephant!  A monstrous mass of metal 3 times the size of an actual elephant.  Really it is something that needs to be experienced to comprehend – hopefully our amateur footage does some justice.

We were all pretty pumped about the elephant!

We were all pretty pumped about the elephant!

Mic kept a safe distance! Getting trampled would certainly end our bike tour!

Mic kept a safe distance! Getting trampled would certainly end our bike tour!

Riding the beast!

Riding the beast!

Standing atop!

Standing atop!

Don't worry she didn't really put her hand int!

Don’t worry she didn’t really put her hand in!

Machines Machines

The giant Heron.

The giant Heron.

Amaya was apprehensive at first but soon warmed to the beast and added it to her growing collection of amazing sights and endless possibilities.

It also turns out that Shoshanna is not the only person in France complaining about the weather.  It has been the wettest May on record and shows no real sign of giving way to sustained brilliant sunshine.  Please think of us as we inch our way into a very damp Brittany.  For the moment though we are enjoying the wonderful hospitality of Patrick and Patricia in their lovely old house along Le Canal de Nantes.

Shelter from the rain

Shelter from the rain

Enjoying a scrumptious breakfast with Patrick and Patricia.

Enjoying a scrumptious breakfast with Patrick and Patricia.