I was sure that the hotel that Chris and I stayed at four years ago was La Bretagne in Douarnenez. I googled hotel+jacuzzi+Finisterre and the pictures of La Bretagne looked spot-on. I drove to Douarnenez yesterday afternoon, parked the camper van and checked in. It wasn’t what I’d been expecting.
Wrong jacuzzi. Wrong hotel. Wrong town, in fact.
It threw me at first. I took Ted out for a bad tempered walk round the port looking for a restaurant for dinner later, found nothing that appealed to me, and got back to the hotel just in time for the jacuzzi I’d booked at 7.00pm. By this time, I’d decided that everything about Douarnenez, Brittany, France, holidays in general, and this one in particular, was crap.
45 minutes in the jacuzzi gave me time to realise that my determination to repeat a past experience had come very close to robbing the present of any pleasure. I had a choice: to enjoy the evening as best I could or to wallow in my disappointment that things hadn’t gone to plan.
The hotel receptionist booked me a table on the terrace of a good sea-front restaurant. I watched the sun go down over the harbour and ate well. Ted and I made our way back up the dark cobbled streets to the hotel and slept until late. After breakfast, I set myself the task of having a good day somewhere that Chris and I hadn’t been; to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the feel of the breeze on my face; to be present to the moment as far as I could.
I didn’t manage a whole day or even half a day without getting caught up in nostalgia and longing, but I did have one glorious hour today without a care in the world, sitting on the headland at Trefeuntec, with Teddy contented at my feet, and a Breton mermaid story to read.
I’m hoping for more times like that.