It’s a typical start to a European summer – one day hot, the next day wintry. It feels as though we are meandering through the seasons, but fortunately the changeable weather hasn’t hampered our explorations of western France!

Since my last blog we have visited two more fascinating ports of call, starting with La Rochelle. A small port town on the Atlantic coast, it’s a throwback to a bygone era in history with its fortresses and walled city, and on a Sunday in early summer it was abuzz with people enjoying the mild temperatures.

The day hadn’t started out so well, however. Throwing back the curtains of our stateroom that morning, instead of a view we were greeted by a blanket of thick fog! Seriously you couldn’t see beyond the verandah railings it was so dense. So we waited awhile for it to clear before venturing ashore, and it proved to be a pretty town worth the wait. Later, back on ship, we opted to dine al fresco at the Terrace Cafe, which name changes to View in the evening. The more casual buffet option for dinner, we were surprised at how busy it was….but when you consider the fine selection of foods it wasn’t really surprising.

The fresh sushi was a good pick, and they have a proper Japanese sushi chef on board who deserves a lot of credit. Then from the vast array of other choices I opted for some freshly grilled swordfish, a lobster tail and a small portion of paella….Spain is a way off now but still fresh in the memory. Later we were treated to a pretty sunset before the fog settled in again as we left port, the ship’s horn needing to be sounded every once in a while, but the ocean calm.

Today, we anchored off Concarneau, another pretty coastal village in Brittany. The weather was still a bit dismal, sadly, so again we waited awhile before venturing into port on the ship’s tender. As we arrived it started to drizzle, but held off just long enough for a quick exploration of the walled island. It’s a bit touristy, dotted with shops, restaurants and cafes, but has a certain charm and quaintness to it with plenty of photo ops. Unfortunately the weather became chilly and rather uninviting, so we didn’t stay long ashore.

Back on ship we explored a few areas we had yet to see properly this afternoon, including Bon Appetit cooking school, catching the new culinary arts director, Kathryn Kelly, in the middle of a class…..I think her eager students were about to make ratatouille. On the opposite side of the ship, in the Artists Loft, another group of students were painting….how nice that on a cruise you have so many options to entertain yourself, including the opportunity to learn something new.

Tomorrow we head for Brittany’s top tourist spot, St. Malo, from where we will visit the very old and very picturesque village of Dinan. From there we’ll head to Honfleur and our trip down memory lane – a full day excursion to Paris….until next time, Happy Cruising!