Journey to the Lands of The One – part 3

Travel diary of the Sur les Terres de l’Unique convention in Plouha, Brittany.

Part 1 is available here.

Part 2 is to be found here.

On Monday, Ted, his partner and I had a very quiet morning including a bucolic walk around the Bed & Breakfast.

We felt very Hobbitty and enjoyed the stunning September morning light. We encountered cows, lots of moss, and a pumpkin patch. One thing you may not know is that half of my personality is made of pumpkins, but I never get to visit pumpkin patches so I was absolutely ecstatic. To celebrate, I had pumpkin soup for lunch, of course.

a pumpkin patch behind a hedge.

After a quick hello to the volunteers who were finishing packing everything up, we headed for the coast. The weather was sunny but not too hot, perfect to breathe in the sea air and enjoy the many colours of the waters.

a small, old stone house hanging from a cliff above the sea.

We then visited a church with a very fine example of a “danse macabre” fresco, a Romanesque round building of unknown origins, and a bakery in which I made Ted and his partner buy kouignettes, which are the baby version of a kouign-amann, which is a traditional Breton pastry that is half butter and half sugar, with a bit of flour for good measure. It is decadent and best served warm.

a church wall hit by light coming through stained glass.

We had dinner at a nice restaurant by the seaside where we met with Aurélie Brémont, fellow Tolkien scholar and a friend of Ted’s whom I happen to have common friends with.

***

On Tuesday, our last day of sightseeing, we woke up a little earlier because we were going a little further west. We entirely trusted Jackie, who refused to tell us exactly where we were going anyway.

Our first stop was the cairn of Barnenez, a prehistoric site with lots of old stones. My translation skills were once again put to the test as the guide spoke low and fast, but I think I got the essential parts and my Canadian wards seemed satisfied with me.

We had a lovely lunch by a harbour, including a salted caramel French toast.

a boat at low tide.

We  then headed for a “mountain” that was more a hill with a church on top and, to be fair, an impressive 360° view on the moor. It was a special area of Brittany called “monts d’Arrée” which looked, as far as I can tell, a bit like Dartmoor in England: hills, briar, no trees and not a small amount of wind. Sadly the region had suffered from summer fires in 2022, but vegetation was growing back and showed off autumnal colours.

a moor under grey skies.

A 45-minute drive took us to an entirely different landscape, in the picturesque town of Huelgoat. We had the loveliest walk in a forest that felt a bit like the shores of the Anduin in Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring. Add a couple of ruins, and we were ready to hear Boromir’s horn. There, we were welcomed by an actual Elf, Laeticia, a volunteer from the association who was wearing her glorious Elven costume. We might have lost Ted for a while – he started taking pictures of all the rocks and every inch of the river running under, over and through them.

a chaos of huge rocks in a forest under a ray of sunlight.

On the way back to the town, we stopped at the Devil’s Cave, which was accessed by a very steep ladder that I didn’t dare climb down. I do have a sense of self-preservation. We recovered from our emotions in a café, after raiding the artisans’ shops. In one of them, the shopkeeper was a blacksmith reading The Lord of the Rings in-between clients, and he was considering setting up a stall at next year’s convention!

That was the cherry on top of an already-delicious day.

The next morning included waking up early, and barely catching the train. Jackie went Fast & Furious to get us to the station in time, and we won against the odds.

In Paris, I took Ted and his partner to a very Parisian (but not expensive) restaurant near the station, and I did everything I could not to cry when I took them to the train platform and watched them go. They still had a long journey ahead.

This concludes my travel diary! I count myself extremely lucky to have received such excellent welcome by the Sur les Terres de l’Unique volunteers and their chairwoman, Jackie. The love and devotion which with they carry this event on their shoulders is awe-inspiring. I can only recommend you visit them next year in Plouha to get a taste of Middle-earth and perhaps spend a few additional days in this beautiful region.


OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Marie Bretagnolle (12 octobre 2023). Journey to the Lands of The One – part 3. Tolkien & illustration. Consulté le 13 juillet 2024 à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/v8ve


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