Kongo arrives in Douarnenez, a small town on the north coast of France. Not everyone was happy to see the monkey arrive in Brittany. As the ship dropped anchor a group of young cruise ship protesters lined the quay waving signs and shouting epithets. Later in the day, small boats circled our anchored ship to emphasize their opinions. Kongo wasn’t scheduled to go ashore until the afternoon, so he didn’t actually meet any of the dissidents, but he experienced their opinions firsthand after they tagged his bus with graffiti, leaving the monkey to travel across Brittany in a bus with “TOURISTS FUCK YOU” scrawled on the side. Of course, the slogan had a happy face so maybe they were just letting us know that the phrase was a special Breton welcome for visitors. Who knows?
Douarnenez is a picturesque fishing town famous for its sardines. Kongo didn’t linger here as he and Mrs. Kongo were headed about 30 kilometers away to Quimper, a charming medieval town on the banks of the Odet River.
Quimper has a commanding cathedral, Saint-Corentin Cathedral, that dates to 13th century. An adjacent Bishopric and graceful flying buttresses make this Gothic masterpiece a must visit. The church is interesting, architecturally as the interior of the church has an off-balance sanctuary. Nobody seems to know for sure why this is. Beautiful stained glass graces the soaring cathedral walls. Before the French revolution the church had several statues but angry mobs smashed everything with a hint of royalty during the turmoil.
The cathedral sits in the middle of the medieval old city adjacent to the Odet River. Beyond the old city the river is navigable all the way to the ocean, 30 miles away. There are several foot bridges that cross the river with potted flowers hanging from the railings.
Along the narrow, cobblestone streets, timber-framed homes hundreds of years old are interspaced with sturdier granite mansions by the elite of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Kongo visited on a Sunday, so all (as in every single one) of the interesting shops were closed. This was no big deal for Kongo, but for Mrs. Kongo, this was almost a tragedy. She opined that the cruise lines really should arrange their schedules for when the shops are open, like why couldn’t we just have done an at-sea day instead of pulling into a port with protesters and closed shops. Kongo patiently tried to explain why but to no avail. Mrs. Kongo always knows best.
Tomorrow we will arrive at Belle Isle and hopefully the stores will be open.
Travel safe. Have fun.