It may be a stupid idea, but…

Der Eisbach. Unendliche Strömung, weit durch den Englischen Garten. Berühmt-berüchtigt und Bürgerpflicht für die Bewohner Münchens: Reinspringen und sich treiben lassen. Kenner tragen dabei fest sitzende Badebekleidung.

Munich’s Eisbach is famous for the idyllic scenery in the best parts of the “Englischer Garten” and for its strong current. I consider it a duty for all inhabitants to jump in and float through the park, at least once a life.

We know how to summer-in-the-city: Götz and me

Götz nimmt mich mit auf diese Reise, unter den Bäumen durch, Blick gen Himmel. Jauchzend, lachend, mit verrutschter Kontaktlinse blinzelnd, treiben wir zügig in Richtung Tivolibrücke. Unterwegs treffen wir auf die Eisbachwelle an der Dianabadschwelle, die „E2“. Kurz davor ist ein Seil quer über den Kanal gespannt, wir halten uns daran fest und warten. Einige Meter weiter sind die Surfer, die alle paar Minuten pausieren, um eine Runde Schwimmer durchzulassen.

My friend Götz takes me along on this journey. It is wonderful, under the light leaves of summer trees, looking up to the sky, passing under bridges and – sometimes – bumping into others. It does not take long until we reach the rear Eisbach-wave, known by surfers as Dianabadschwelle or just “E2”. We cling to the plastic rope that crosses the stream, intending to hold on to it until the surfers pause for a bulk of swimmers.

This is what most people know the Eisbach for: Famous surfers

Also, theoretisch funktioniert das so. Praktisch zieht mir die Strömung die Bikinihose aus, so dass ich mich mit rechts festhalte und mit links die Hose halte. Nach 30 Sekunden wechseln: links hält fest, rechts hält die Hose. Und Wechsel. Und immer so weiter.

Nach wenigen Minuten gebe ich auf und lasse mich in den Neben-Kanal linkerhand treiben. Dort, auf erhöhtem Grund, ist das Wasser nur hüfthoch und die Strömung kaum spürbar – der perfekte Ausstieg.

Auch wenn wir nicht bis zur Tivolibrücke gekommen sind, ist der Eisbach im Hochsommer eine sensationelle Gaudi. Ich bin angefüllt mit Endorphinen und ein bisschen Weißweinschorle (danke, Götz!), außerdem fühle ich mich enorm münchnerisch.

Nebenbei fiel mir noch was auf: Die Hälfte der Surfer auf der hinteren Welle nutzt günstige Boards einer französischen Sporthandelskette. Und weil jede Board-Größe ein eigenes Design hat, weiß ich jetzt, dass „mein“ Surfboard für die Eisbachwelle geeignet ist.

Ob das auch für mich gilt?

In theory, all we have to do is wait a few minutes and then continue our ride up to the Tivoli-bridge. In fact, the strong current tears at our bikini panties and shorts, making me hold on to the rope with my right arm while using the left one to hold up my panty. After 30 seconds, I change left and right, thanks to tiring muscles. And back again.

Before losing half of my best bikini, I give up and head for the small side-canal for a safe exit. Resumé of our swim-float-trip: Absolute fantastic! I hop around, full of endorphines (and a bit of white wine, thanks, Götz), feeling adventurous and Munich-stylish from head to toe.

Not to mention the detection of tempting occasions: What a thrill to see river surfers, using the exact same surfboard that I have bought in France. Obviously, it is good enough for river-waves – let’s find out if the same is true for me.

It looks easier with the pros

Ende der Woche komme ich erneut zur E2-Welle, diesmal voll ausgestattet. Bevor ich cool & lässig mit dem Surfboard unterm Arm durch den Park schlendere, plaudere ich am Parkplatz angeregt mit dem Parkplatzwächter: Wie irre das ist, in meinem Alter den Eisbach surfen zu wollen. Genau genommen plappere ich wie ein aufgeregtes Schulmädchen, meine Nervosität ist greifbar.

Kurz darauf, der erste Erfolg:

Ich passe noch in meinen Neopren-Anzug aus alten Triathlon-Zeiten!

Later that week, I come back, fully equipped: Board, wetsuit, wax, enthusiasm. First success comes with the suit: I still manage to pull up the zipper, after all these years!

Looking good (at least)

Jetzt gilt’s, ich stürze mich in die Fluten. Rein in den Nebenkanal, dann parke ich das Surfbrett auf der mittleren Trennmauer, hüpfe beherzt in den Eisbachkanal, krasse Strömung, sofort kraulen, kraulen, kraulen was das Zeug hält – und komme tatsächlich an der gegenüberliegenden Mauer an. Greife hoch in den Metallzaun, ziehe mich hoch, ziehe mein Board hinterher, uff.

Seit die Bayerische Schlösser- und Seenverwaltung das Fluss-Surfen ausmerzen wollte, ist der Zugang verbaut. Ein hoher Zaun verhindert den Einstieg von der Seite, zudem gibt es keinen sauberen Take-Of-Bereich. Wer hier surfen will, muss erst mal hinkommen.

I watch and learn, then throw myself in: First the side-canal, then the wall in between. From here, I take all my courage and jump in the strong current of the main canal, crawl as strong as I can until I make it to the other side, hold on to the wall, then to the metal fence, then pull up my body and my board. Then try to get back to normal breathing and play it cool.

systematisch verunmöglicht – aber wir finden einen Weg!

Dann wird es so richtig knifflig. Eben noch stand ich in der Schlange wartender Surfer (wie cool ist das denn?!!), plötzlich bin ich an der Reihe. Das Mäuerchen, auf dem wir stehen, verjüngt sich von 20 auf 12 cm, eingeschränkt durch den seitlichen Zaun. Nun 2-3 Schritte Anlauf nehmen, das Board voraus werfen, hinterherspringen, aus freiem Sprung mit den Füßen sauber auf dem Board landen und aus dem Flug heraus 1-2 Meter zur stehenden Welle hinsurfen.

Klar, oder?

Now comes the tricky part: On the rear and narrow end of the wall, I accelerate my steps, then throw the board up front, jump behind, try to place (out of pure air) my feet in perfect position on the board, use the momentum to push the board towards the stable wave and – fall apart.

Dianabadschwelle #E2 #Riversurf
How to…

Nach meinem ersten Versuch bin ich euphorisch: Ich habe es überlebt! Der Fall ins Wasser war halb so wild, den Begrenzungsmauern kam ich nicht nah, alles easy. Bis ich versuche, aus dem reißenden Kanal rauszukommen… Ich klammere mich an Ufersteine, rutsche ab, treibe weiter, packe erneut zu, halte mich, ziehe mich mit viel Fluchen aus dem Wasser und trage nur ein paar Schrammen davon.

Also laufe ich zurück und starte erneut: Brett in Nebenkanal werfen, hinterherspringen, Brett auf Zwischenmauer, eigenen Körper auf Zwischenmauer, Brett und Körper in Eisbachkanal werfen, gefühlte 50 Kraulzüge mit aller Kraft, Mauer erreichen, Zaun packen, Hochziehen. Jetzt folgt der lässige Teil: mit anderen Surfern fachsimpeln. Tipps einsammeln. Nervös werden. Anlauf nehmen, Brett werfen, hinterherspringen, usw usf.

Still, the first try has been better than I had thought. After all, I am still alive, right? Once I manage to get out of the creek (which is not as easy as it sounds), I come back for another round. Jump in, crawl-crawl-crawl, get up, run, throw, jump, touch the board, fall off. And back to the start…

try… fail… try… fail… try…

Nach drei Versuchen sagt mir das Knirschen der Schulter, dass es für den Erstversuch genug ist. Am besten mache ich das von jetzt an jede Woche!

Few attempts later, my shoulder interferes. The plan is clear: I will make this a weekly routine until I can show off just like the surfing cracks of the scene.

No problem, right?!

Meine neue, wöchentliche Surf-Routine hält genau bis zum Autounfall eine Woche später. Was bisher auf keiner Ratgeber-Seite steht: Geh nicht in rauen Gewässern surfen, wenn du ein klitzekleines Schleudertrauma hast.

Erst Wochen später, zum Herbst hin, finde ich neue Möglichkeiten, die Hoffnung auf die kommende Saison machen. Überhaupt wird in 2023 auf jeden Fall weiter gesurft, in sehr unterschiedlichen Gewässern – doch dazu später mehr…

About season 2022, I have do admit that the routine of river surfing came to a halt after a mere two rounds. I can plead a car accident as excuse, increasing work load or perhaps a subtle loss of motivation; probably all three of them.

Still, there is hope: 2023 has started with a wide range of surfing ideas in all kinds of water. There will be more to come, for sure…

I had to start it somewhere, so I started – there.

The Tour 2022 – Bretagne, Summary

Real life beats senseful plans

Der Schlüssel zu einem effektiven Camping-Urlaub liegt in der Routen-Planung. Bloß keinen Kilometer zu viel fahren, alles durchtakten, am besten gleich vollständig reservieren.

Proper route planning is key to effective camping holidays. Avoid back-and-forth-kilometres, reserve all campsites and once you try that, wait and see what Hector makes out of it.

Hector’s preferred Perspective

Das könnte ich zwar versuchen, aber da ist ja noch Hector und sein Sonne-suchender-Dickkopf. Und dann sind da die Wellen und der unbedingte Wille, bei 16°C Luft / 12° Wasser das Surfboard auszureizen. Und dabei immer schmaler und schlanker werden: 8 Fuß / 7 Fuß / 6,8 Fuß und dann 6 Fuß. Immer noch kein Short-Board, aber auf dem richtigen Weg.

Apart from Hector’s sun-chasing attitude, I stumble over the wonderful waves in the Atlantic Ocean. I rent a 8-feet surf board, all easy in the surge. I try a 7.8 ft., delighted how well it works out. Next is 6.8 ft., then 6 ft. sharp. This trip had not been scheduled as a surf camp, and yet I can’t let go.

My preferred Perspective

Nach 18 Surf-Tagen bin ich auf dem „kleinen“ Board so versiert wie zu Beginn auf dem dicken Foamie-Longboard. Schätze, das ist schon mal was.

18 days of surfing later, my skills match the very first day during this trip. Yet, I improved my skills from long board foamies to an intermediate 6 ft. board, getting by pretty well. Despite an obvious lack of impressive wave pictures, I am more than happy, aiming for higher waves and shorter boards.

Pointe de la Torche

Leider existieren keine Angeber-Bilder vom perfekten Wellenritt, aber das echt-Erlebte ist am Ende wichtiger als die Fotos dazu.

With my very own surf board, I get inspiration for upcoming balcony decoration and even might face unexpected challenges in the near future.

Ongoing Passion

Die Bretagne ist als Reise-Ziel sensationell schön. Als Surf-Ziel auch fast. Die Landschaft ist zauberhaft, die Orte hübsch und entspannt und die Camping-Möglichkeiten vielfältig. Das Wetter mag in südlicheren Gegenden sommerlicher sein, dafür ist es in der Bretagne nicht so überlaufen. Und, meistens, mehrfach am Tag wunderbar sonnig.

This year has been my first visit in Brittany. The combination of beautiful landscape, relaxed villages and endless possibilities is fantastic: go there and see / hike / taste / climb / swim / drink / shop / surf / admire / try out. If not next year, perhaps the year after it might tear me back for another round. With some art along the way, some beaches to discover, islands to set foot on and waves to take.

Île-Tudy, Beach

Natürlich habe ich zu wenig gesehen (musste ja surfen). Den Auftakt machte die Île-Tudy mit dem charmanten Mini-Ort, dem besten Restaurant weit und breit und dem Camping Municipal direkt am Strand.

First stop had been Île-Tudy with the tiniest village, a fantastic restaurant and the relaxed Camping Municipal right behind the beach.

Île-Tudy, Village

Als nächstes ging es vorbei an der Pointe de la Torche Richtung Penhors – dank Landschafts-/Naturschutzgebiet ist die ganze Gegend dünn besiedelt und versprüht englischen Charme.

Pointe de la Torche and Penhors Plage have been next – wonderful landscape, looking very English. Thanks to the protected area, all you see is either old (stones / houses) or green (meadows), all framed by the blue sea behind the scene.

Between Pointe de la Torche and Penhors: Most impressive Calvaire

Die Pointe du Raz mit dem Übernachtungs-Parkplatz war traumhaft zum Sonnenuntergang, die Île de Sein zunächst etwas fade, entfaltete dann aber auch ihren ganz eigenen Reiz.

Pointe du Raz had been amazing for sunset. I took pictures until I got cold hands and, thanks to the camper parking, could stay there the whole night, soaking in the most stunning views when all other tourists were gone.

Pointe du Raz

Die Gegend um Camaret sur Mer zog mich – dank der Wellen, den Surfern, der Küstenlandschaft – am stärksten in ihren Bann. Trotz der meist unterschätzten Größe der Bretagne ist man in rd. 3h Autofahrt eigentlich überall, das verführt gelegentlich zu Kreuz-und-Quer-Routen.

The region around Camaret sur Mer had the most attractive coastal region, beach bays and surf waves. Hector was so up for it that we have been in and out of here for 4 times during just 1 holiday season.

St. Brieuc ist bekannt für teure, schlechte Friseure und für einen gut erreichbaren Bahnhof. Mein erster Mit-Urlauber dieses Jahr war Linda, und zusammen haben wir ein bisschen Nordküste erkundet.

St. Brieuc is famous for expensive low-quality hairdressers and, more important, for the train station. I picked up Linda from here and we had some north-shore discovery close-by.

Côte du Granit Rose

Die Côte du Granit Rose ist ein wahres Paradies für Küstenwanderer. Für alle anderen ist sie zur Vorsaison eher öde – dennoch ein guter Tipp für die Hauptsaison: Wenn es irgendwo noch freie Campingplätze am Meer gibt, dann am Camping Municipal Landrellec.

It turned out that Côte de Granit Rose is less rose than expected and less vivid as well. The coastal path is great for hikers and that is about all of senseful activity around here.

During Sunset: more pink (recommendation: get pink sunglasses for maximum effect)

Le Conquet wäre ein herrliches Ziel, wenn der einzige Campingplatz nicht fürchterlich heruntergewirtschaftet wäre. Dazu kommen lange Wege durch die Dünen, bis man den Strand oder gar Surf-Wellen erreicht… Es wurde leider nichts mit uns, auch wenn der Ort dazu verlockend aussah.

Le Conquet could have been a nice stop for a couple of days – if not for the outworn campsite. The village looks nice, the way towards the beach takes some time and the overall setting was 50/50 pro and con. In the end, Hector went back to our favourite surf bay instead.

Where I belong

Der Fährhafen von Roscoff war mein Sprungbrett nach Großbritannien. Und zurück. Ansonsten gibt es nicht viel zu sehen.

When going to UK, the ferry from Roscoff is an almost perfect option. Easy to find as there is hardly anything else around – all relaxed, perfectly located for a combination of Brittany and Great-Britain.

Brittany Ferries / Roscoff

Das genaue Gegenteil ist Morlaix: Eine hübsche Kleinstadt mit Riesen-Viadukt, delikatem Essen und einem gut sortierten Decathlon-Shop am Stadtrand.

Travelling from Western Britanny to the North shore might get you close to Morlaix. The city is charming, offers a nice choice of restaurants, an impressive viaduct and a well-sorted Decathlon shop near the Route National. Fantastic lunch break!

Morlaix

Für 2023 plane ich einen völlig untypischen Urlaub. Ohne Hector, dafür absurd teuer. Mit voll durchgeplanter Reiseroute, im Voraus bezahlt, volles Risiko. Vorher aber steht noch die UK-Summary an und dann warten zu Hause gänzlich unerwartete Abenteuer auf mich…

In 2023, the most atypical holiday trip lies ahead. Without Hector, but hilariously expensive. All details set, everything booked, reserved, paid. Full risk and a slight nervousness: What did I think when going for such a kind of holiday, isn’t it so much not-my-style?? However, before I can worry about the future, there is still a second part of the summary to be sketched – not to mention unexpected adventures in and around Munich…

The Tour 2022 (N): Newquay

Warm Welcome in UK

Weeks ago, I reserved a pitch on the most expensive campsite ever: roughly 83,- EUR. Per night. For 1 Hector and 1 Lady. This being set, the overwhelming decoration with thousands of flags is the minimum I could expect. Only in the improbable case that the queen comes by for her platinum jubilee, she might claim it all for her. With her Majesty staying in London, I only have to share honour and glory with my van, which is fair enough for our first UK campground.

Porth Beach, Newquay

I have chosen Newquay for beaches and surfing, but come to think that it is moreover famous for being busy and crowded.

Fistral Beach (busy)

The beach right in front is for families and stand-up-paddlers only, thanks to its natural bay.

Such a Surf-Van

Time to bring my surf-van on the next level: With a sophisticated surfboard-mount, I am good to go towards Watergate Bay for appropriate waves.

…then at Watergate Bay…

I check out the options and make it my preferred spot for the next days.

Supervising Hector on the Cliff

Hector surveys my ongoing attempts from the cliff-parking position. Good to know that even in early morning, I am not entirely alone in the bay.

Thick Wetsuit, Slim Surfboard

Meanwhile, I practice wave by wave, improving my skills. Take-off, whitewash and greenwater, topped with some washing-machines every now and then. I ride some waves and some waves ride me. Afterwards, I have my board washed by the kind and handsome men of wavehunters.co.uk, chatting a bit about life, surfing and all the rest.

Relaxed little waves at Watergate Bay

The coastal path is worth some hours of walking, showing lovely facets of the cliffs and bays. Wildflowers, rocks, sand and different perspectives depending upon the tides come together in the most enchanting way.

Danger for tourists is always part of the game: vain selfie-spotters might fall off the cliffs, tides and current are underestimated easily and the sunburn-risk is continuously high. Still, wandering the coastline is all worth it.

Coastal Path Perspectives

Newquay downtown is full of tourist, shops and cars. Better again: focus on the landscape around.

…more of the Coastal Path…

Of course, the beaches need to be checked out thoroughly. First: Fistral beach, famous for surfing and attracting the majority of people.

Fistral Beach again

Thanks to the shortage of service staff in most places, I drop in the Headland Hotel for some afternoon Cornish Cream Tea with the most wonderful gluten-free scones I never dared to dream of.

Wonderful Tea-Time at The Headland

The next beach is a more relaxed one. Might be due to the umpteen stairs you need to climb down…

Third in a row is the one close to my exclusive campsite. During low tide, there even is a bit of a shore with miniature waves.

Following the coast further North shows another bay that is fully eaten up by the ocean during high tide. Other times offer endless sands and stones.

Rough and Lovely

After sneaking in The Mermaid Inn, I stroll around in the evening sun, now with high tide and the water filling in most of the bay.

Sunset and Broken Cliffs

A couple of days if enough for this place. New places to see and friends to meet make us move on to further destinations.

The Tour 2022 (L): Roscoff – Plymouth

Last night I have dreamed of driving on the left side of the road, meaning that my mindset is ready for today’s adventure. With all the “Left!” signs pinned to my cockpit, it is hard to focus on right-side-driving when approaching the port of Roscoff.

Hector Onboating

Hector’s head lamps got some stickers that shall prevent dazzling of other cars. It looks strange and almost certainly, I got it all wrong – but in case of anyone controlling it, I can proof that I tried my very best. It is a pity that nobody bothers, all they check at the ferry is whether I hide illegal persons under my couch. As usual, it would have worked out with the bathroom as hiding place, but that should be kept a secret.

“Es faustdick hinter den Ohren haben” = Hiding imaginary friends in tiny bathrooms

Once on the boat…

…no, really: once on the boat, I get lost between restaurant hours and continental versus UK time. In the end, Hector’s tyres touch British ground around 8:30 p.m. and we hurry up to find an appropriate parking place for the night.

Brit Stops = Home for the Night at the Seven Stars Inn

All along the 10 km towards the “Seven Stars Inn”, I tell myself to keep left, no matter what the tomtom says.

When Left is the Right Way

At 9:00 p.m. sharp, we reach the parking of Plymouth’s oldest pub. Other places might be more charming, but everyone inside welcomes me with a warm hello (owners and guests) and a fart (the dog) and I am relieved to have reached my first milestone in the UK.

Plymouth’s Oldest Pub

Tomorrow morning, I will try to lead Hector further towards Cornwall. Fortunately, I do not know anything about blocked roads, accidental junctions and other difficulties, I just fall asleep and hope for the best.

The Tour 2022 (K): More of my Preferred Surfing Bay

Experienced Camper Girls in France

Bretagne is beautiful and worth travelling. So far, I have only seen fragments of it. Yet, lucky me, I have a wonderful guest and she is all about sun, sea and a sandy beach. Of course, the decision has nothing to do with my brand-new surfboard.

What a Beauty!

Anyway, we find ourselves at my favourite bay and enjoy lazy holiday-time together. With “lazy” including surfing, adventurous bike excursions, wine and all the rest.

Chasing Waves

The surf becomes challenging thanks to my short and slim board – it makes me work thoroughly on my technique, still offering so much fun (and suiting me so well).

On my Way

The first relaxed day ends with a bit of sunset down at the bay.

Next on our list is a bike tour to Morgat. Facts point out 18 minutes and a brand-new bike road. If you are lucky and detect the right way, that is. Tough camper girls rather head for gravel roads that change into jungle paths. Strange enough that our shortcut through all the green extends the distance to 45 minutes.

Welcome to the Jungle

Wild animals are part of our adventure, looking bewildered upon our showing-up in their home area.

Wild Animals all around

Finally, we make it to Morgat and soak in the sea promenade, ice cream and an almost giant beach. Impossible to tell where the beach ends and the sea ground begins – just an hour later and Linda would be walking over the water surface.

Low Tide Crossover

All the action does not leave us untouched.

My knee is in slight disagreement with walking, surfing or any other movement. Many thanks go to Steffi from Lübeck with her wisdom and ability to fix it with bright yellow tape! Repaired like that, I can go out in the sun again and play with the waves.

The taped knee even entitles me to walk the coastline on another fragment of the GR34 path. It proves once more that the Bretagne is beautiful in all directions.

Then Linda leaves, but not before celebrating it with a toast to common days. After lazy days with sun, girls talk, food and wine, we are at least a bit closer to world-peace and happiness.

Upon her departure, I try to find another surf spot for calm days. Due to the worn-out campsite at Le Conquet, it turns out that my ambitions get overruled by Hector and his longing for favourite spots. It comes as no surprise when we re-appear on the wonderful beach bay the third time in a row.

Hector rulez

Public holidays bring in masses of campers and suddenly, the place is packed. As a matter of fact, I am not the only one being torn back here: Caro and Benny get washed up by the current and we share the precious space of a pitch for some days.

All about Sharing

When starting my voyage, I had not planned it to be a surfing holiday. And yet, I find myself surrounded by surfers, becoming friends and enjoying wonderful evenings with Daniela, Caro and Benny.

Surfing, barbecue and gorgeous sunsets make me forget about sightseeing and travel-books.

Just Lean Back

Time flies when you are having fun. All of a sudden, end of May tells me that it is time to pack up for the ferry and new adventures.

Packed

I am curious (and slightly nervous) what England will be like. Will it be raining all day? Will I get stuck on tiny roads? Lost in translation?? Time will tell…

The Tour 2022 (J): Côte de Granit Rose

Time to follow some more of Comissaire Dupin traces: Approaching Tregastel as close as possible, my internet research reveals a campsite at the Côte de Granit Rose. While Southern and Western parts of the Bretagne have been blessed with low season, the Northern parts are far from developing anything like a season.

surreal surrounding

The rocks are less pink than expected and the sea options are: high tide = no beach at all, tricky rocks waiting for knee scratches under water; or: low tide, endless sands/rock-mixtures with the smell of dead sea weed.

low tide

Contrasting the rural landscape, the Camping Municipal of Landrellec is comfortable and brand-new. Hector has a nice view on the sea (a clear plus), but the range of activities comes with restricted dimensions.

Suchbild mit Hector

Option a: Follow the coastal path “GR34” to the right.

…either…

Option b: Follow the path to the left.

…or.

The fun stops when trying to find an open restaurant for the next evening. The few within reach (two, thoroughly counted) are closed with exceptions to weekend-lunchtimes. Trégastel is a bit too far or requires car usage. Conclusion is that this region throws tourists right back on themselves, and all of a sudden I understand all the satellite antennas on the RVs around.

Hector’s (tele)vision: Flies on the Windscreen (for a start)

The next morning, I rather go for St. Brieuc with it’s Ville Historique, a shopping street and: a hairdresser with free timeslots.

St. Brieuc

Not only the Granit rock at the coast is supposed to be rosé/pink, the same shall be the preferred style on my head. Unfortunately, the hair stylist has no pink available, so we agree to try violet instead. The outcome is a bit less exciting than expected, but with sun + sea it will brighten up soon just the same.

less pink than expected

However, the main reason for being here is the Train Station and the big hello upon Linda’s arrival!

We start relaxed in our common holiday week with sea view, sun and yoga.

Later, trying some more of the Northern coast, we reach Plouézec / peninsula of Paimpol. Again, this is supposed to be a nice region with a nice campsite – still, we are not the right peer-group.

Somewhere out of Plouézec

In the long run, stunning views from Hector’s couch are not sufficient. Without getting too deep into details, let’s pretend this were tinder and the campsite/region a possible date – it is a clear non-match, after all.

We leave behind the picturesque views and seek a more suitable place. Assuming I had an idea for future stays, including a beach bay and surf occasions… add the coincidence of a new surfboard that fell out of Decathlon into my van… I wonder where we might end up!

Leaving empty spaces behind

The Tour 2022 (I): Surfing Days

It is amazing what the internet reveals. Days later, the mix of pictures, distance to the beach and proximity to the next village will draw a distorted image of the real scenery. Before learning that, the very same approach leads me here:

The most beautiful bay, offering waves with high tide and 3,5 km walking distance with low tide. All this in 100m distance from a comfy campsite.

endless

Some surfers with quite individual camper vans spread over the site, the atmosphere is vivid and relaxed. My original plan (laundry & lazy in nice surrounding) will be updated just a bit, now including information-gathering about where to rent surf equipment.

Beauty at all Tides

Later that evening, Daniela from the camper next-door helps me reducing wine quantities and shares her knowledge about surfing in general and rental shops in particular. Another evening offers leftover-sausages from Stevie & Persi (next-door to the other side), proving that I have chosen wisely the right pitch in splendid company.

best company
…looking at these waves makes me long for…

Not before long, I forget about ideas like jogging or hiking, now with my focus on the prio-1-topics: laundry and surfing.

no longing for laundry, but easily coming along in surf-pauses

With a 7.6 feet softboard and steady waves on most days, I manage to develop from the whitewash to first greenwater-waves. Of course, this works out on photo-free circumstances only. As soon as a camera is pointed at me, the water gets choppy and the surfing rough.

Here we go!

Fearless, I grab the board and head for the waves. Guess when the head is frequently under water, I am about to leave my comfort zone…

Queen of the Whitewash

In the end, I pass some fantastic surfing days. Daniela stays here for some longer and shows nice movements on her longboard, and I look forward to coming back in two or three years. For now, I have to move on: places to see and friends to meet.

Green-Water Queen: Daniela

The Tour 2022 (H): Île de Sein

The fifth crime being solved by Commissaire Dupin leads him to the Île de Sein. At average only 1,5m above sea level, the entire island is quite exposed to wind, storms and sea-level rise. Christianisation came late, but then they took it seriously – hence, the highest point (11m) of the île is occupied by the church.

Approaching Île de Sein

Starting in Audierne (pretty nice and probably worth a visit itself), the boat passes by the Pointe du Raz. I am secretly a bit proud of my rock-climbing skills, when following the way over the languet with my eyes.

Passing by La Pointe du Raz – where I walked straight to the end of the rocks

The boat spits out a maximum of 145 tourists, leaving them alone from 10:30h until 16:00h. During daytime the island’s population is roughly doubled, then. Before noon, everything is quiet, especially with low tide.

Quai du Nord with idling fisher boats

The Northern quay, the few bars and restaurants and the boats – all deserted.

Wherever I look, all I see is “something-plus-sea”, all calm, almost void.

One of the elder Lighthouses

At noon, I settle down on my (reserved) table at “The Tatoon”, recommended by Dupin-detective stories. At 12:20h, all tables are taken. I have not seen so many people in one place since we left the boat this morning. After a glass of wine and a “Lieu Jaune” I must confess that the reputation (and pricing) of the restaurant has left the taste and quality slightly behind. However, I am full of new energy and stroll some more over the island’s surface.

Facets of Île de Sein

All around, there is beauty to be found. In flowers, in colours and even in stones.

Wild Stones
Calm Stones

Besides the restaurant, the only fix topic on today’s list is the beacon. The big one at the far end to the East. What a pity that it opens up for hundreds of steps and a small platform on top in high-season only.

… oder nichtsein…

As little as Île de Sein is in length or width, it offers enough tiny paths to cross it back and forth and diagonal and close to the sea and in between. Stumbling over a little chapel here, a nice bay there and without need for a map or a plan.

…next to the (closed) main lighthouse: chapel from the 1970ies

Meanwhile, the sun is powerful, the tide is high and I’m moving on. The island is absolutely charming and 5-6 hours are enough to enjoy most of its facets.

… the island really has some lighthouses…

When the boat brings us back to Audierne in the afternoon, I am relaxed, tired and full of island impressions. Lucky me that I have chosen a nice camping municipal behind a surfing bay in Camaret-sur-Mer.

Hector almost soaks in all those narrow roads that bring us to our destination, but when getting to a halt before the reception, they just close down for today. Good that I have a plan B = the big aire de camping cars for 100 (sic!) motorhomes.

The only thing of interest are the menhir stones on the field next to the aire.

What a pity that, compared to all other camper parkings I have seen, this one is a soulless stopgap. No service, no toilets and, lucky us, currently no barrier. Taking into consideration that I have not seen a charming part in Camaret so far, that the official campsite looked boring, that none of it is close to a surf beach – it is a quick decision: I will look for a better, a really nice campsite first thing in the morning.

The Tour 2022 (G): Pointe du Raz

Sunset Spot par Excéllence

So far, so Hector: the first 10 days have rewarded my van with wonderful places. At the beach (Île-Tudy, Camping Municipal), surrounded by nature (Camping du Littoral) and now on a rocky high pleateau, surrounded by deep-blue sea. From his perspective, this is so worth the overnight-fee of 15,- EUR at Pointe du Raz = the furthest Western part of continental France.

Camper Parking

The crew is fine as well. Strong wind blows from all directions on those who dare to proceed the 1,2 km from the parking to the official touristic outlook and the statue of Notre Dame de Naufrage. Good that I just had lunch, keeping me well-grounded despite the squalls.

Windige Gestalten

The surrounding totally gets me: As soon as the sun breaks through, green meadows and yellow flowers meet bright skies and blue water. The cliffs in between bring in some spice and I think: This is what I have expected from South England. Good to know that pieces of it are to be found in Europe as well.

Bretagne Coast Cliché

Being through with a first inspection of the scenery, I use Hector’s couch in the sun for some Ukulele practice. Good thing with camper parkings is that you must not expect to meet anyone again. Knowing this, I play as loud and proud as I can.

I must have found the right chords, arranging perfect weather conditions for a splendid sunset.

La Pointe du Raz

During the afternoon, I already noticed the professional work of the local office de tourisme: Not enough that they arrange my boat trip to Île de Sein for the next day, they even lure tourists into micro-dosed adventures.

Thanks for the Playground 🙂

Without the slightest doubt, I start to follow the well-visible traces of a path, leading to the top of the rocky languet. The first half is easy, with feet on regular ground on top of the stony cliff.

…then all the alpine hiking + climbing experience pays off!

Looking down makes it somewhat more interesting:

…along the way…

Little by little, the path is left behind and the second half of the distance is sort of free climbing over the rocks. Mostly horizontal, sometimes with hand and feet, sometimes more vertical. I simply love those moments when realizing what all the alpine hiking and wall climbing has been good for!

all the way to the furthest point of Pointe du Raz

Finally, I get as close to the farthest point as possible.

I soak in the view, including spectacular lighthouses and even the low and tiny Île de Sein, with sea and waves and rocks in between. Beyond that, endless miles of the Atlantic enfold, all the way up to American coasts.

However, who thinks of America when Brittany and Great-Britain are much closer? Especially when stuck again by the fantastic landscape during my way back over the rocks.

Once back on the tourist-part of the official Pointe du Raz area, I watch the sun approach the ocean, intensifying the panorama around this wonderful spot.

Good Night

The Tour 2022 (F): Penhors la Mer + Pointe de la Torche

Looking Good

Thanks to campsite-bingo, I see more and more of the wonderful landscape between Pointe de la Torche and Pointe du Raz.

lovely region

The first camping of choice has decided to invest in a hilarious small pool rather than in general maintenance. Worse, the distance to the coast exceeds reasonable metrics. Being slightly over-organized, I juggle with a printed campsite guide, a tomtom navi and google maps information on my smartphone. Best of such spontaneous actions is the unplanned sightseeing along the way.

Wonderful churches along the way

Hector is all up for it, feeling slim enough for tiniest roads, turn-round-manoeuvres and hours of trial-and-error research. Finally, we reach a charming campsite somewhere between Penhors and Plovan: Camping du Littoral. With a focus on mobile homes, it has two (2) camper van emplacements on-site plus a huge meadow. Not before long, Hector settles down next to the electricity plug, while I walk down to the beach with a bikini and a straw hat.

Beach Time!

Staying in a protected region means: few civilization. Still, Sunday evening comes with a concert at the beach bar.

Good Times

Next temptation on my list: Surfing! At the local surf school, I rent a board and a thick wetsuit and get into the waves. Within minutes, I am the Queen of the Whitewash again. Despite few occasions during past years, some surf routine is still there, getting more and more solid.

Reine de la Mousse

One of the landmarks around is Pointe de la Torche. I fancy it might be like a huge rock formation with dramatic outlooks. Once there, I realize that “La Torche” is famous mong surfers for a good reason (huge beach + camper parking) but comes with almost ridiculous stone elements.

dinky

I make a mental note to come back with an own board someday, with an overnight-stay among surfers and never again visit the café/creperie next to the beach.

Surfers’ Paradise

Before I leave, I take a picture of the most delightful feature of a bunker turned into art.

From A (art) to B (beach)

Before getting too lazy, things change: surf school is closed for the day, the sea is choppy and the boat to Île de Sein is far from offering my preferred route. Looks like it is time for the Hector-crew to move on.