It’s been a few years, but I’m reviving this project at my mother’s request. These are days 35 and 36 of my grandmother’s journal recording her trip through Europe in 1936. For these entries she’s in Brittany. Here are the previous parts: Introduction, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7, Part 8.

Tuesday. St. Malo – Dinard July 28 [1936]

Slept quite late this morning as we knew there was no hurry as our next stop was just across the river. Repacked our suit cases & shipped on back to Paris then walked about the town, passed the fish market & vegetable markets until the odors got so bad we just had to go back to the hotel. After lunch we left by boat for Dinard. Upon arriving we couldn’t find any one to meet us until we were just about at the hotel. We were so burned up we sat down and wrote to Paris & told just what we thought of their offices. Dinard turned out to be a most delightful little bathing resort with a beautiful beach & loads of interesting shops. If the money hadn’t been so low I’m sure we would have bought things there. We spent a delightful evening walking along the beach & then went up to our rooms & discussed the great contrast between St. Malo and Dinard. The two cities are so close together & yet so different.

Not a lot to note here. Though on that same day, Doris’s hometown newspaper the Chicago Tribune published an interview with Francisco Franco synopsized on Wikipedia thusly: “[H]e claimed that his government was neither monarchist nor fascist, but ‘Nationalist Spanish’, and that he had launched the rebellion to save Spain from communism. When asked what form his government would take, Franco replied it would be a ‘military dictatorship’ with a plebiscite later on ‘for the nation to decide what it wanted.'”

Wednesday, July 29 [1936], Dinard – Quimper

Left Dinard about 8A.M. and after a bit of griping between ourselves about the tip we had to pay for the wine and jam, went to the bus station from where our trip was to start. There were to be just the four of us and a lovely elderly English couple, who were very lovely to us all day. We traveled thru some beautiful hilly country (Brittany) dotted with small farms and chestnut trees. Our first stop was to the little town of St. Brieuc where we went thru the open market. Where they were selling fish; live chickens and rabbits; butter, cheese, and all sorts of clothing. Each person has their own little stall covered with an awning. We saw many of the women dressed in black skirts, black velvet blouses and little lace caps that just perch on the tops of their heads. This is the native costume of Brittany. the little caps differ in different section of the country. Our next stop was Le Huelgoat where we had lunch at a very lovely way side inn. After lunch we went thru a beautiful grotto, climbed down way under the rocks and watched the water rushing by thru little crevasses in the rocks lower down. Along the way we saw many women washing their clothes along the river banks and using flat stones as wash boards and scrubbing buckets to get the clothes clean and then they throw them over the hedges and on the grass to dry. Stopped at an old church “Chapel of Hunboat” which had an old calvary in the court yard and a lepers porch. Our bus had a flat tire in a little God forsaken town called Loqueffret, which has about 100 inhabitants. I should call it God forsaken because it has a very old church which we visited. We climbed up to the chapel clock which was running perfectly but never did succeed in finding the face. Our next stop was Plaeyben [sic] where we visited another church. This was interesting because of the Arch of Triumph in the court yard which had a very beautiful Friezes around it and the tomb for bones which was just to the right of the church. At about five we stopped at a little inn and had tea and crepes (small thin pancackes) as our English companions just had to have their afternoon tea. From here we went to a very colorful fishing village Duarnenez where they pack sardines. As we got there the fishing vessels were just coming in and it was a lovely sight. The boats with huge blue and green nets hanging over the sides and the men all dressed in brilliant orange, red, blue and salmon colored suits. With the silvery sardines lying all around the docks it was as colorful a picture as any artist could paint. We arrived in Quimper and after a terrible fight with the bus driver over a tip which we refused to pay we went down to dinner to find the dining room rather a smelly place and with the windows facing a perfectly lovely looking mens comfort station. These dirty Frenchmen. Our hotel was the nearest thing to a prison that I’ve ever been in. The corridor walls were all stone, the floors cement & just a window every few feet so that it was dark and damp all the time. The rooms were clean and we had a bath but you just had a feeling that all of the white paint had been put on over dirt. It’s a miserable feeling. After dinner we walked about the city and then went upstairs and wrote for a while.

It’s “These dirty Frenchmen” which really stands out, but I’m also amused by my grandmother’s defining “crepe” and constant haggling over tips. I’m reminded that at the very start of the journal there’s a list of proper tips for different services on her cruise ship. Here’s a picture (source) of some traditional Brittany costume, including a variety of the lace headdresses, just as Grandma described. FIL_2009_-_Coiffes_bretonnes_-_bigoudènes_-_cercle_ar_vro_vigoudenn