Fall 2015
The October show, Discover Brittany in 2015 is a destination Borne of an ancient culture, settled by the Romans, the Franks and a bevy of Germanic tribes before Charles V, the first of the Holy Roman Emperors in 800. this region hosts the largest coastline in France, with a world class resort at St.Malo, and with one of the largest cultural fests in Finistere and at Lorient, for music and dance. Add their famous "fruits de mer" and "coquilles St.Jacques", "crepes" and "cider." It's also the boating capital of the country, and was the fourth most visited region of France in 2015. 

1. Visit Mystical Huelgoat

Cradle of many Celtic legends, the forest of Huelgoat is best known for its "chaos" of huge moss covered granite boulders that have inspired many local folk tales. 

Located in the Parc naturel régional d'Armorique on the edge of the picturesque lakeside town of Huelgoat, la forêt du Huelgoat (meaning "high wood" in Breton) abounds with mystery. The sparkling rivière d'Argent or silver river dashes its way between green clad trees and rocks.
2. Check out a Breton Parish Close

Parish closes (enclos paroissiaux) are characteristic of rural religious architecture in Brittany. 
3. Eat Crêpes and drink Cider!

If you had to name a single symbol of Bretoncuisine, it would undoubtedly be crêpes! A stay in Brittany is not complete without indulging in this local speciality - whether sweet or savoury, or both!
4. Take part in a festive Fest Noz

Fest Noz usually takes place on the evening of aPardon. A Pardon marks the feast of a patron saint of a church or chapel, during which indulgences are granted, thus the name.

A Fest Noz involves plenty of food and drink, and above all music and dancing with lots of foot stamping. All kinds of Breton and other Celtic music are played featuring the Celtic harp and Breton bagpipes.
5. Visit Tropical Gardens

A short boat trip from Roscoff takes you to Ile-de-Batz where you will find the Georges Delaselle Garden another exotic garden. Plants from America, Australia and Africa grow side by side in this island oasis.
6. Haunt a ruined Abbey

There are a number of atmospheric abbey ruins in Finistere well worth a visit including Landévennec Abbaye. It was founded by one of Brittany's greatest saints, St Guénolé in the 5th century. 

The ruins are located on the banks of the river Aulne where it enters the Bay of Brest. 

Another ruined monastery is the Abbaye de Saint Mathieu which sits on a headland overlooking the Iroise Sea. It is made all the more attractive by the presence of a lighthouse and a signal station. It is a very popular photographic subject.
8. Swim on a Sandy Beach

Finistère has 300 miles (500 km) of coastline and there are plenty of wide sandy beaches within easy reach of Ty Hir. 

The three coasts of Finistère are approximately a 45 to 60 minute drive from the gîtes. The local roads are quiet so a day trip to the beach is an easy prospect.
9. Walk or ride the Nantes-Brest Canal Towpath

Napoleon decided to create a safe inland passage from Nantes to Brest after Brest was blockaded by the English in 1803 to 1805. Upon completion in 1842 the Canal de Nantes à Brest reached a length of 360 km in length. This included the canalisation of eight rivers and the creation of 236 locks. 

Learn more about these tips and more at lostinfinistere.com/blog
About Let's Travel! 
Let's Travel! is a radio show and website that gives visitors and listeners the insider's take on travel. Come explore the world of travel and culture with us at www.letstravelradio.com.  

The Tattler, radio show and website are produced by Susi Raphael and Michael Zufolo.


Travel Right



 We often write that there are so many ways to travel. From luxury to backpacking, cruises to couchsurfing, surely there is not one right way.

Surely, there isn't. But there are ways to make it easier, resources to help with the logistics. In a world inundated in technology, we might as well use the stuff to our advantage, right?

That's why, this quarter, we've aggregated some of the best travel smarts out there, from virtual reality to personalized trips to mommy-blogger wisdom. And, of course, we're including our own personal experience with lodging in Shanghai via the web/mobile app Couchsurfing.

Of course there isn't one way to travel right. But, with a little help, travel can become even better.
Sleeping with a Stranger in Shanghai

Liz, Johan, and me in Shanghai

Liz and I sifted through the local Chinese produce trying to find the perfect gift for our soon-to-be host. It wasn't long before we were fondling a pomelo, which appeared to be a very large grapefruit.

"This would make for a funny thank-you," I reasoned, ready to make the purchase.

"I think that depends on his personality," Liz retorted. "Remember, we haven't met him yet."

The decision was awkward if not nuanced: how do you choose what to bring to the house of a person you've encountered on the internet but never met, whose home you will sleep in for approximately the next three nights?

Ultimately, we settled on a bottle of wine. We figured that, regardless of the country, alcohol was sure to be a success.

Mere hours later, we found ourselves on Johan's couch telling the story of how we almost showed up at his door with a massive grapefruit. Our first meeting was going exceptionally well; this did not seem like the kind of host who would soon become an unwanted bedfellow, and he turned out to be as genuine and wonderful as he seemed that first night.

We were in Beijing when Liz first suggested that we explore Couchsurfing.com. The site (which we accessed on our iPods while traveling) would allow us to connect with locals and, if we agreed mutually, to stay with them in their native cities. The ensuing experience could range from having a piece of floor to crash on to acquiring a loving companion and tour guide in a new place. Liz had close friends who had experienced the latter and now swore by Couchsurfing. Hosts are reviewed by previous guests on the site so as to create transparency. And there is no money involved on either end, which would suggest that there would be no ulterior motives.

Johan, a Swedish transplant in Shanghai, was our first go. After a series of friendly messages, we agreed to meet in a cafe near Johan's place. Ostensibly, each party would feel the other out and decide if it would be a good idea to continue the meeting, sleeping arrangements included. 

It wasn't long before we felt reasonably comfortable with the situation: as Johann stirred his coffee nervously and stumbled through Chinese, it became clear that his motives of wanting to interact with new people from different countries were honorable.

Over the next few days, Johan took us to everything from a family-style Chinese meal to German mulled-wine markets. Together we hopped from craft-beer bars to Mexican dives. As a resident in China with Chinese peers, he knew where to get the best of the "locale" (to date, Shanghai's crepe-like Jian Bing is the best breakfast I've had, ever). As a European, he knew that we missed commodities like butter, beer, and bread, and he lead us to them with a briskness that we well respected.
Jian Bing on the streets of Shanghai

As we laughed our way through eateries and, later, sang Peking opera from our bedrooms (Liz and I shared a bedroom that was entirely separate from Johan's), it became clear that this was as good as the Couchsurfing experience could possibly get. 

Of course, Johan was a hard find. We sifted through plenty of messages from hosts who wanted to share beds with us or who had too-rigid rules for staying with them. 

No doubt, Couchsurfing has plenty of horror stories, as do many internet-initiated meetings. But, if the technology to connect with potential savvy hosts in new cities is available to us, not using it out of fear seems foolish. Liz and I tried to stay alert throughout the stay, and we were ready to leave the situation at the first flavor of something unsavory. As it was, we lucked out. 

After Johan, it was hard to find another host who was as wholesome and friendly. For the most part, we sifted a lot, and then, right before departing Shanghai, we ended up back in Johan's spare bedroom, one last time.

As we aproached our second and final stay with Johan, there was no debating in the produce shop. We marched in and purchased the pomelo.

When you're walking through an airport, sweaty and tired and sore and worried about the debt you're racking up by spending hundreds of dollars to go to yet another destination wedding, occasionally you'll catch a glimpse of someone like Brian Kelly. The former Wall Street worker is one of those incredibly put-together people who never seem fazed by jet lag or a delay or one of the other hassles that inevitably come with air travel. And there's a reason he looks so sanguine: His latest trip-with stops in Ghana, Rwanda, and South Africa-cost him $5.60. More at vice.com.

A headset and quality surround-sound might never replace real-life travel. Then again, it isn't supposed to. "The travel industry hopes that people who sample virtual snippets of alluring vacations -- say, rafting the Grand Canyon or hiking the Great Wall of China -- will be persuaded to splurge on the real thing" CNN reports. This gives a whole new meaning to "know before you go." cnn.com

More and more of today's consumers in search of a personalized experience prefer to 'do it themselves' when it comes to booking trips. In response, a whole new brand of travel packages have emerged: "The new style of packages caters to today's do-it-yourself consumers who want to book their own itineraries after carefully researching hotels, flights, and attractions."

Abby Tegnelia from NowItCounts.com discusses what commercialization means for traveling with tots.


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