This year it was our turn to visit Briec and a slimmed down party of 22, including the Mayor and Mayoress and the Deputy Mayor of Rhuthun and 4 people who were making the trip for the first time left Rhuthun at 7.00am on Thursday, 3 May to catch a plane at Manchester Airport. Unfortunately, 10 people were unable to come at the last minute for various reasons. After being welcomed by a delegation from the Briec Twinning Committee at Brest Airport and treated to a picnic lunch, we visited a fruit and vegetable business specialising in tomatoes and strawberries. Some of the party looked very fetching in the plastic bonnets and gowns we had to wear fror the sake of hygiene. Following this very interesting and different visit we made our way gradually to Briec where the Mayor welcomed us at the town hall and we met our hosts for the next five nights. Later that evening we all met at the Gwrac’h Du restauarant in Edern for a delightful meal with our host families and committee members. As usual, the meal was followed by communal singing in Welsh and French.
Friday saw us leaving Place de Ruthin in Briec at 7am for Lorient from where we made the 45 minute crossing by ferry to the Ile de Groix. The weather was superb, hot sunshine all the time we were on the island. After visiting a plant processing fish pates we enjoyed a picnic that had been prepared by our hosts and then spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the island. Friday evening was spent with the host families.
Saturday morning we met at Landrevarzec to visit the studio of the painter and sculptor Hervé Saliou, who exhibited at the Focal Exhibition in Rhuthun in 2005, and a restored water mill. Late morning saw a meeting of the joint committees at Landrevarzec town hall, followed by lunch with our hosts. During the afternoon we all participated in an afternoon of Breton games and Welsh dances at Langolen sports hall. This ran on into the evening where we had dinner followed by Welsh and Breton dances
Sunday was the day of the second round of the French Presidential Elections and the day was spent with the hosts. Some of us were fortunate enough to be taken to the polling stations and counts. It was interesting to note the different way in which elections are held in France. On Monday we visited the monts d’Arrée region and the Youdig exhibition, a model of the old buildings in an area that was flooded to provide a lake for a nuclear power station and which invoked memories of the flooding of the Tryweryn valley. This was followed by a traditional Breton lunch “kig ha fars”. The afternoon trip was curtailed by rain so we returned to Briec earlier than anticipated and spent an hour at the Intermarche supermarket, that proved quite expensive for one member of the party due to his wife’s clumsiness!! An excellent farewell dinner was held at the same restaurant in Langolen that we first announced, in 1992, that we were going to twin with Briec. Inevitably there was more singing, this time in Welsh, English and French, and Yvonne Guillou, the local county councillor presented our Mayor with a large Quimper faiance plate to mark the forthcoming 15th anniversary of twinning
At the crack of dawn on Monday, 25 May a crowd of 34 people from Rhuthun and its vicinity left for Birmingham airport to catch a flight to Brest in Brittany, a journey of an hour and a quarter, where a small party from the Briec Twinning Committee were waiting for us.
We were taken to Daoulas where we enjoyed a picnic by the river in warm sunshine. We then visited Landévennec Abbey before making our way to Briec where our hosts and other members of the Twinning Committee were waiting for us at the Town Hall. The Chairman of the Committee read greetings received from the Mayor of Rhuthun, Gavin Harris, on behalf of the residents of Rhuthun. Following a welcome by the Mayor we were greeted in Welsh, Breton and French with the words “whatever the weather here you will receive friendship”.
On Tuesday we went walking along part of the Nantes-Brest canal learning something of the history of its construction by prisoners. Following an excellent lunch at a restaurant in St Péran we visited the small Coreff brewery in Carhaix where the brewing process was explained and we were able to sample the products! The evening was spent with the host families where many came together. In our house there were 23 at a crepe party!
Wednesday was a new venture for the local Twinning Committee who had arranged a treasure hunt around the streets of Briec with almost 40 questions to ask the owners of local shops, bank and bars. The questions were bilingual and we had a lot of fun with the Welsh trying out their French and at least some of the shopkeepers trying to answer in English! A joint meeting of the two committees was held at the Town Hall at the end of the afternoon and in the evening we went to a pig roast at Landrevarzec. Feasting and singing.
On Thursday we visited the new Marine Museum at Douarnenez – very interesting – with the guide from Norway explaining everything in English without the need for a translator. Then we went to Locronan, a pretty historical village. Some of the party had been there before but some were visiting for the first time. A farewell dinner that evening at the Gwrac’h Du (Black Witch) restaurant in Edern – an excellent meal followed by singing. A very special evening!
On Friday morning everyone met at the Intermarche supermarket in Briec for the last coffee and cake, and a little shopping, before leaving by coach for Brest airport to catch the flight to Birmingham and the coach to Rhuthun. And so the 2009 visit came to a close with everyone expressing his or her pleasure at the warm welcome that was received and the excellent programme that had been prepared for us.
Briec 2007 - 2009