Sunday, October 14, 2007

From paradise to Mael-Carhaix?

When Mrs The Millbrooker and I were last in Brittany we met an antipodean couple (that's not a rude word - it only means they come from Australia) in Bar la Forge who are spending a year "exploring a different culture". Jolly friendly and nice they were too.

I always admire people who are out to try something new and aren't afraid to step outside of their comfort zones. It's not something I'm particularly good at which is probably why I'm a railway ticket clerk and Rod from Lord Howe Island is on a year's sabbatical from his important role in the administration of the island. Alongside Rod, and possibly leading the way, is his lovely and gregarious partner, Gill (possibly Trebrivan and Mael-Carhaix's most outrageous flirt).

Purely as matter of nosiness I've been checking out Lord Howe Island, which is a two hour flight from New South Wales: pretty remote, then. Contrast and compare the images of our Aussie friends' home and their current (and possibly temporary) area of abode in beautiful (and often damp) Brittany. Then gasp in admiration for their pioneering spirit.

I'm not trying to put Brittany down in any way, I love the place as anyone who has listened to me witter on for hours about it will testify; what I'm trying to do is show what a different world our new friends are finding themselves in.

First: Lord Howe Island from whence they came...

And now lovely Central Brittany, a part of the world that I love so much I want to live there, but which may have a touch less "glamour" than LHI...

Just for added information, few pieces of text stolen from Lord Howe Island's website:

"There are often more fish and bird species on Lord Howe Island than people, including visitors. Inscribed on the World Heritage list in December 1982 for its rare collection of plants, birds, marine life and exceptional natural beauty this gem in the Pacific is approximately 2 hours flight from Sydney and Brisbane and one of a handful of places in the world, and one of just four island groups, to be awarded a World Heritage Listing.

Welcome to a small, vibrant community of just over 300 people. Add to this a maximum of 400 tourist beds and Lord Howe is never crowded … with people anyway. But take a short stroll or swim and life positively teems with exotic flora and fauna, much to the delight of human visitors

Is it safe?
Yes! Families love it, children roam free. There are no snakes, no sand flies, no stingers. There is a limited number of cars and a 25 kph speed limit.

You'll quickly understand why Lord Howe does not need public transport. All accommodation properties meet flights, providing free transport for arriving and departing guests.
Walking is a pleasure on the Island as you're never far from shops, restaurants or beaches. There are bicycles and helmets for hire and a limited number of rental cars.

...Island holidaymakers are delighted that Lord Howe Island is beyond the reach of mobile phone calls... "

mmmm, perhaps one day if I can justify the carbon emissions from flying......

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