Waking up on holidays is fine in either way, but even more precious with Hector. I enjoy coffee in the morning sun with no dress code above suitable pyjamas. Coming along with the second coffee is some müsli with fresh fruits from one of the island’s markets, and after that glorious start, the day is ours.
Before noon, I take advantage of moderate temperatures and hop on my racing bike. In fact, it is a standard folded bicycle and comes with neither engine nor gimmicks. Yet, compared to the e-bikes offered for tourists, it is closer to a racing bike than most of the vélos around. Might be due to the cyclist, though.
Île de Ré offers >100 km of pistes cyclables and I am willing to ride them all. Along the way, I pass by several salines = production fields for Fleur du Sel, the gourmet salt extracted from the sea. I dare say that the routine has not changed much in the last hundred years.
Next stop is the beacon in the far West of the island: Le Phare de Baleines. It stands slim and tall at the edge, right behind a smaller, older beacon, and it contains the most beautiful staircase.
Climbing up all 257 steps while breathing through a surgery mask seperates the wheat from the chaff.
I suppose regular sports start to pay off by now, supported by pure marine air right on top.
There is not so much to see: sea, above all. The older lighthouse, a few buildings and coast lines in most of all possible directions.
The way down is easy enough with gravity on my side and the steady spiral of the stairs.
After a coffee under the trees of the garden café, I focus on Ars-en-Ré being my next stop, assuming that it might offer an accumulation of restaurants for lunch. Like most of the island’s villages, it is a bit sleepy, but comes with some bars, shops and restaurants that gather around the church.
After a bit of back and forth, I settle down at a table of “L’Océane” where they serve gallettes in the typical Breton style = rather salty than sweet and made of 100% buckwheat (gluten free!).
Back in La Couarde sur Mer, it is time to constitute a new tradition: Live concerts at the beach, fighting the sun with my ukulele and my voice until it gives up and drops under the horizon. And, guess what?! I even got fans 🙂