The Celtic connection

Last night I had the second CouchSurfing stay, the first outside the UK. This time I was found rather than me finding the host. Charly is avery nice and hospitable chap who, at my age, also noticed that the CouchSurfing network can be a bit biased towards younger people.

Never mind, you’re only the age you feel. That’s right, I’m really sixty seven.

Charly had a very interesting flag in the flat depicting all the Celtic nations. As well as Ireland, Scotland and Wales, there were the flags of Cornwall, the Isle of Mann and of course Brittany. I did not realise how extensive the push from east to west the Kelts had suffered in all countries they inhabited.

We had dinner listening to Celtic music and talking about politics and travels. Charly’s English is quite good and with some exercise he’ll become fluent, his current level however allowed for conversations on most things and that made the evening.

On top of the pleasant conversation he cooked for me Breton Gallettes. He says they are very easy to make but they tasted very good and we washed it all down with a nice glass of red wine or three.

Charly and his predilection of anything Celtic

On top of the pleasant conversation he cooked for me Breton Gallettes. He says they are very easy to make but they tasted very good and we washed it all down with a nice glass of red wine or three. What I did not tell Charly is that while I was waiting for him I went to the Côt’ à l’os bar and had a couple of beers. By the way the people there where really friendly and I did all my blogging from there yesterday.

Unfortunately when you mix heavy rain in the south of England, cycling, a busy ferry, two pints of beer and some whine what you get is the need for paracetamol in the middle of the night and the feeling that the cold you thought you were not going to get this year has come to knock.

Never mind, I slept and got up almost completely refreshed. I got on the bike pretty swiftly and, having discovered there was a Decathlon shop just around the corner, I made a call to see if they had a better stand (the one I got in Coventry has already bitten the dust) and the elusive break pads. The stand was a success, I have full confidence in this one, the break pads continue to elude me, but I’m making inroads. They have been ordered and they will be delivered to the La Rochelle shop in a day or two, I will get there in three days or four so that should be the end of it.


Bike shopping done I got pedalling. Only 35 miles today but the way I was feeling I knew they would be long.

It was just after ten miles that I was approached by a nice young girl on a bike, I did not get her name and the cards were buried into the bottom of the panniers so I gave her my ferry boarding card with the site address handwritten on it. Followed mental note to make the cards more accessible.

With any luck she’ll get on the site and leave me her address, as she looked like a possible travel companion at some point in the future. She told me that during the summer she went all the way to Greece on a bike, using WarmShowers and free camping for the accommodation. She also told me that I was crazy doing what I’m doing, but the way she said it it almost sounded like a compliment, it must just have been the french accent that makes all sound more glamourous.


Just after we parted I got a bit lost and I stopped to check the map. While I was stationary a guy with a scooter stopped and started to enquire about my origins, as in the trip origin. After I explained I was just a crazy Scot on the way to South Africa he told me he was just a Crazy French that had taken the scooter for a 15,000 km tour all over western and eastern Europe for the last seven months. At this point you’d be allowed to ask: “Are there any sane people left in the world?” I kicked myself further as I could not give him a card.

The reason I tell you all this is that before I left I was really unsure about the usefulness of the card I had made. I am not anymore, they are great, especially when you can get at them, and I am sure they will help me make more connections and perhaps improve the donation rate.

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There was little other excitement in the rest of the ride, I had a lovely baguette for lunch and I stopped a couple of times for pictures and a brief nap.

They take their twinning quite seriously here.

By the time I got to Chateaubriant my nose was running quite consistently so I decided to stay in an hotel and have a quiet night with the best next thing to Lemsip I could find.

The IBIS Budget Hotel is just what i needed, no frills but a fairly comfy bed.

After a shower, rearrangement of the bags, blogging and a bit of family networking, I hope I’ll be tucking in and wake up a new man in the morning.

Tomorrow is another 40 miles to Nantes. There is a hostel in the town centre and I might even get to go out at night, man-flu permitting that is.

As a closing thought though, I am not sure I’m allowed to call this thing a man-flu, even if not at full tilt I have done 35 miles today and plan to do more than 40 tomorrow. In no way this can be considered “wallowing in one’s own self pity” the tell tale sign of a proper man-flu.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Julca says:

    Che belli incontri! Sei in buona compagnia.

  2. David Bills says:

    Now I have to get PY to whip up some buckwheat crepes over here. There was a Breton pub in Singapore for a while (run by some Breton ex-pats), and we ate them quite regularly for a while. Mmmmm.

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