I arrived in Morlaix yesterday afternoon. This town of 17.000 was a 43-minute train trip west of St. Brieuc. It is located in the department of Finistère which by far has the most Breton speakers. I hardly found any Breton books at all in St. Brieuc but the whole town of Morlaix is teeming with them. I spent my first hour and a half in one bookstore alone, Dialogues, which is around the corner from my hotel, L’Hôtel de l’Europe. How convenient!

Morlaix is famous for its viaduct, which totally dominates the town. It is 58 m high and 292 m across and I just walked across it to get to the library. Part of the viaduct was bombed in WWII and there is a plaque on the bridge showing photos of the damage. It is very obvious to see where the repair work was done, since the new brickwork is a much lighter shade, in comparison to the 1860’s original brickwork which is now black. If I had a digital camera I would have posted pictures of the viaduct but in the meantime, until I get one, you’ll have to go to Google images and search for it.

After I left the library in St. Brieuc it was still pouring rain. I mean coming down in buckets. I asked if I could leave my luggage there as I went on a soaking wet book run. The library closed at 17.00 and I assured the staff that I would be back well before then to claim them. There was a large city map in the library and I could see that the hostel was unfortunately a long way off. Why did the guidebook say it was close to the city centre? I did not want to walk the distance on narrow cobblestoned sidewalks if it was 5 km away. I did not worry about getting to the hostel yet as I was preoccupied in visiting the city’s four bookstores before the library closed, and it was already after 14.00. So outside I went, getting thoroughly drenched. This was the worst possible weather to be shopping for books.

By the time I returned to the library a little after 16.00 the rain had not let up and I was tired, hungry (as I hadn’t eaten since breakfast in Guingamp) and just wanted to change into dry clothes. I did have an umbrella, but the rain came down so profusely it was almost a futile exercise to use it. I considered going back to the train station to take a cab to the hostel, since I didn’t want to wait for a bus. Then I had a thought: why go to the hostel at all, so far away from the city centre. Why not take a chance that any of the hotels on the Rue de Gare would have an available single room? So I went to the first dive fleabag hotel I saw and got a room for two nights. If there were a system of rating hotels that used a negative number of stars, this one would have rated -3.

No toilet, no shower, but a sink and a bidet, which to a foreigner like myself looks scary so I didn’t dare use it much less even look at it. Creaky floors that wake up everyone but the darn place was dry and next to the train station. I did not lose any money at the hostel since I did not pay anything in advance, although I did feel bad as I had cancelled on them last minute.

On Sunday I walked from St. Brieuc to the north coast to see the English Channel, however the French will hate me for calling it that so I will say La Manche (French) or Mor Breizh (Breton) instead. It was low tide and there were dozens and dozens of boats resting on the sea floor.

Gotta go as my half hour here is up. The library opens at 10.00 on Wednesday, as opposed to 13.30 on Tuesday. I will log on one more time tomorrow as I do not know if I will have Internet access when I am in Roscoff and I hope you understand that I really don’t want to be sitting at a computer when I spend the last two days of my vacation in Paris. Paris! How can I do Paris in two days?

Again, sent without being proofread.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *