We established that the boat down the river Ranch was only going on Tuesdays (with no thanks to the Tourist Office and little thanks to the tour boat company).
[Lest you give me advice that I should say bonjour madam, to receive better service, know that I always start with a bonjour and even ask my questions in French. After all, the tyre mechanic understood me! As did the mechanic that phoned me from road side assistance when I said we no longer needed help as my husband changed the tyre.]
I had my questions in French ready for the ticket office: how long is the journey by boat; when does the bus leave; can we return by boat. The ticket seller said it may be better if I ask in English! Answers: 2 3/4 hours, buses leave at 5pm and 6pm and no, the boat is remaining in Dinan overnight due to the tides. A friendly English tourist behind us, tells us we will enjoy the trip and the bus ride is a nice ride through the countryside.
We buy two tickets and are told to go to the end of the car park and turn left. We do. Into the deserted ferry wharf, following the sign that says “Boarding”. We approach the boat painted with Dinan that is at the end of the wharf, from the entrance painting “Boarding”, to be told to go back around the wharf to the end of a boat ramp. Signage is not big here!
The journey was very interesting. Across the bay to Dinard, down the river, which is massively wide, through two locks, under two opening bridges, passing a tidal hydro-plant, passing tidal mills, chateaux, farms, numerous water fowls. As the river narrows, there’s plenty of people having fun along the riverside – jogging, walking, fishing. Photos from the boat didn’t work as the windows were dirty and I didn’t want to go outside in the cold. Anyway it is hard to capture the experience of the locks and the width of the river.
There were quite a few fishing shacks in various states of sturdiness.
The port of Dinan is beautiful.
But we don’t want to stay here forever, so I listen up when a French lady asks the boat operator where the bus stop is. The answer, with a wave of the hand up the hill, is it leaves from the big square on the other side. Of course there are no brochures or maps so we just follow the crowd.
A steep, cobbled “road” which is mainly only for pedestrians (you’ll see a van in one photo and there was the occasional car – rules! Pfft. It’s France.) winds past unbelievably higgledy buildings. It’s awesome.
Pass a goat area just outside the city walls (but without goats), through the city walls which are incredibly wide, to more and more of the amazing half-wood buildings along the road that keeps going up.
The town is actually quite big. We want to find the bus stop and confirm the time, so head off to the tourist office. Oh dear! It shuts for lunch and won’t open until 2pm. The bus times displayed don’t include the bus to Saint Malo. So we head off to a lovely restaurant we saw on the steep pedestrian road into town, with a garden area in the sun. So peaceful. The waitress was sweet and friendly. Mr S ate Breton sausage, chips and salad. I ate the most divine honey goats cheese galette with salad. And a local beer to wash it down. Eat at La Fontaine du Jerzual. I will give them a good rap on TripAdvisor.
Back to the tourist office to find out about the bus times and bus stop. With map and timetable in hand, we set out to find the bus stop. It’s outside the front of the post office! As we walk down the street, a bus heading to Saint Malo passes us. There was one at 2pm which we would have made if we’d gone straight from the restaurant! Oh well, we have three hours to relax. Off down to the port for a beer in the sun.
Then a wander around town to people watch. Mr S poses in front of the statue of some local hero. (And then instant karma hit us for mocking their man – I lost my cardie, a lovely bright orange one and the only one I brought. How did I know this is what cost me the cardie? As our bus back to Saint Malo drove past, I saw my beautiful cardigan sitting on the stone wall in front of the statue. If we’d caught the 2pm bus, I wouldn’t have lost my cardie either.)
We sat at the outside cafe you can see in the photo, watching the passing parade of school kids and older folk. Mr S had a cafe au lait.
We nearly didn’t make it on the 5pm bus as the driver restricted entry. He would not have any standing passengers. Quite a few were refused entry. (It may have helped me recover my cardie if we’d been forced to catch the later, and last, bus, but oh well.) We made it on largely because an English lady, who lives here, sort of guided us onto the bus and blocked others. Also just making it on the bus was our fellow French boat travellers, including the one who asked about the return trip to Saint Malo. We gave each other sympathetic grimaces about nearly having missed this bus.
I can’t believe the bus trip, which is nearly an hour, costs only €2! It must be subsidised!?! The boat trip cost €26 each.
Many school kids didn’t make it onto the bus. They’d have to wait until the 6pm bus to go home. What a long day for them!
A pleasant trip through the countryside (and I wasn’t stressed at all so it is not the travelling on the other side of the road that does it, it is is having to drive our car that stresses me!). We walked from the bus terminus, outside the train station, approaching the walled city from a different direction.
Totally in need of a cup of tea to finish our glorious day.