Saturday, 2 November 2013

Everything always comes to an end.

Our last few days in France were spent in Mont St Michel and Dunkerque. The Mont is well worth a visit but be uber careful of when you decide to go. You have to be wary of the tides kind of, but new technologies are making that a thing of the past! 

The real problem is that a very small island, or large rock really, with a high street about the length of The shambles in York and built on a very steep hill gets quite literally rammed with tourists 7 days a week during the summer. You can barely even call it a high street really, the only shops you'll find are souvenir establishments. I have no idea where the locals get their groceries from because there certainly weren't any food shops on there! 

See what I mean? Couldn't even swing crookshanks along there. If you get that usage of cat name I salute you! The street reminded me of Diagon Alley so badly! 

I would tell you all about this impressive monastery but we didn't go in. After 4 days of historic Loire we were a bit pooped out with history and learning. And it was expensive. Excuses excuses!

Exploring got a little 'tight'.

Now. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole island survived solely on the silly-amount of La Mere Poulard restaurants littered everywhere. Her omelettes are meant to be world famous but I was sadly disappointed. And the other food we ordered was less than mediocre. 

Don't be deceived by the other restaurants on the right hand side of the main stretch though (as your walking up the hill), they may look dark and dingy but 90% of them have balconies behind closed doors with incredible views over the stretch of water that separates the island from mainland France. 

Like this! Quite easily the best thing about our meal at Poulards.

If you park in the dedicated Mont St Michell car park (for a not TOO ridiculous price) with whatever vehicle you've driven there in, you're entitled to free shuttle rides to and from the island. Which don't stop until about 3am! Perfect if you want to stop for late food and a few bevies. Though we did bump into a few Americans who were struggling to find somewhere to eat at 10pm, so if your going for munchies don't leave it too late! 

We left the island at about 11pm after buying some souvenirs for the grandparents/cat-carers. Too tired to find a campsite/aire we followed suit of the hoard of motor-homers and stayed overnight in the car park. Oh aren't we glamorous! 

Realising we hadn't touched a proper beach for the entire holiday we scoured the Normandy coast for a place to throw out our towels. Eventually we discovered the cute little town of Neufchatel-hardelot. The drive into here was real nice, lots of big comfy-looking houses. No pretentiousness in sight! The beach was pretty busy even though it was overcast, but we managed to find a little spot to chill out- sun or no sun! 

It was my turn to cook so off we toddled to the nearest shop for supplies before driving to a nearby french 'Aires De Service' which are the BEST thing for touring motorhomes in France. A (normally) free of charge area to camp with levelled pitches and somewhere to empty your waste (how romantic!). 

Ian & Ange went out for a walk whilst I cooked us up some of my special French-bruschetta. We had ours as a main meal between 3, but it would be great between 6 as a starter!

You'll need:

1x french baguette (it wouldn't be French without it!)
1x roll (about 150g) goats cheese
3x tomatoes
1x red pepper
3x garlic cloves
6 tbs olive oil
3-4 tbs balsamic viniger
1 tbs red pesto
Rocket/Spinich/Basil for ze top
Sprinkle of chilli flakes
Rock salt & black pepper
Chilli oil for drizzling if you like it hot! 

Cut your baguette into 8 pieces and drizzle with chilli oil, or normal oil if your not a fan of spice and grind some rock salt and pepper over the top. 

Move onto the salsa for the top next, chop up everything you've got that is choppable and do it however you want to eat it. I went for more of a diced salsa instead of a chunky one but both taste great! Get your grill heating while you do this. 

Once you've chopped everything put your baguette into the grill so it can toast while you hoy your salsa together in a bowl and add all of the olive oil, balsamic and pesto before giving it a good old mix & stir. I threw in some chilli flakes for extra spice, do the same if you like a bit of a kick! Take your toasted base oot the oven, slice your goats cheese so you can divide out between the slices of baguette then put it back under the grill until that more-ish cheese is completely melted and gloopy. 

Then it's time to smother it all in salsa and put it back in the oven to finish it off for a minute or two. All warmed up and looking lovely I'd recommend sprinkling a handful of green leaves like rocket, basil or some spinach over the top with some salt&pepper.

Crack open some red wine and you've got yourself a corker.

Our very very final day or two in Dunquereque really aren't worth re-telling. That was my second time in the city and, just as the first time, I have little to no interest in going back. It reminded me of a not so nice place I ain't to keen on back home- I.e. betting and money lending shops galore. I'd go to the war museums and the beaches but over-all what a disappointing city. 

At least the ferry home wasn't too bad!

Au revoir France, a la prochaine fois!

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