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Olron 11 June 2016

1324 : 936

What I expected to be a very long day turned out to be only somewhat long, and here we are, in Saint-Trojan-les-Bains, Île d'Oléron, on the Atlantic Coast of France (seafood country again!) just north of the estuary of the Garonne. The first part and the last half were easy; the middle part frustrating...

1325 : 929
<p>a pretty little village in the Black Perigord</p>

a pretty little village in the Black Perigord

...because that part of France (the Black Perigord around Perigueux) is criss-crossed with randomly numbered roads that lead off in unpredictable directions and have no logical relationship to each other, or to the map. But it's pretty! even in the rain. We had plotted a cross-country route around the big city of Perigueux, (Chief Bruno country), and it worked for a little while, then completely evaporated. 
1326 : 924

We finally found a set of (relatively) straight roads that led us to the Atlantic coast at Royan, where we looked for a restaurant and found a gem, La Bonne Fourchette – sorry, no pictures (you were getting tired of them anyway, and so, I guess, was my camera, which ate them) – where the chef's specialty was choucroute de la mer (seafood sauerkraut), something I'd never heard of, but immediately fell in love with: tiny mussels, butterflied shrimp, scallops, two kinds of fish, seaweed and cabbage in a broth across between sauerkraut juice and court bouillion. Very nice. Rochelle's Salada Océana had almost as many kinds of seafood plus thin-sliced lightly smoked Atlantic salmon. For the next few days, it's going to be wall-to-wall seafood. 

On the glass door was written (in French),


No Rain
No Plants

No Plants
No Mint

No Mint
No Mojitos

Viva the Rain! 
1327 : 920

Coming in to Royan we saw the road sign to Île d'Oléron, and that's most of the battle. (Part of the French road game is to have signs that point to obscure cities, never the ones you want, until the last minute.) So the rest of the ride across tidal flats, coastal plain, and a long bridge was easy. We arrived fully two hours ahead of our earliest estimate, but Agathe, our hostess, was just polishing up our place, and greeted us. Now we're about to take a walk to the harbor down the little alley barely visible on the right side of the picture, and, we hope, make arrangements for dinner. Like we need it!

1328 : 913

In our little apartment, there's a sign (in English), "life's BETTER on the ISLAND" and I think it's true. There's something special about being isolated by water (or mountains), even if there's a bridge (or a pass): people have to make a special effort to get there ...and, for the most part, the people who make that effort are half a bubble out of plumb even before they make the trip!

So we're feeling right at home here. 

This is a minor fishing port, but the main one for the island. It's (of course) a destination (for the above-described kinds of travelers) and so it has the usual art galleries in brightly painted fishermens' shacks along the waterfront. Out in the middle of an anchialine pond there's a metal sea horse with tennis shoes hanging from it's tail. 


1329 : 868

Dinner tonight - Chef Rochelle's salad at home: okay supermarket lettuce, heirloom tomato, sun dried tomato, Mirepoix market olives, pepper, pistachios (from Harvest Market!), parmesan, balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

For dessert, a little gateaux des noix purchased this morning with our chocolatine and croissant at a wood fired baker's place we found on the ridge above Sarlat. Yum.



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