Friday, 24 August 2012

Where Was I? Competition Solution and Winners

If you've been reading my past few posts, you'll have figured out by now that we were indeed in Brittany for the first part of August. Congratulations to Ksam, who also got the exact location and purpose of our visit: the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.

The Festival Interceltique is a week-long annual gathering of Celts from around the world where strange languages are spoken and the sound of the bagpipes is everywhere. The Celtic nations are the ones on the flag in the photo (clockwise from top left: Brittany, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Ireland) plus Asturias and Galicia in Spain, while the Celtic diaspora includes populations in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cuba, Mexico and this year's special guests, the Acadians from Canada, whose homelands were shown in the map photo.

Galician Piper
Normally the town is heaving during the festival but this was a quiet year and we strolled around the market and watched a free concert with no difficulty. We visited a stall selling cheese from Cornwall and tried some bizarre but delicious flavours of cheddar: curry, onion and vinegar and strawberries and champagne. The British reputation for eccentricity is being well upheld. We also couldn't resist a Kouign Amann (the cake in the photo), a Breton heart attack in pastry form that is essentially bread dough with lots and lots of warm, melty butter and caramelised sugar. We could have had haggis for lunch but my mother always told me not to eat haggis unless I knew where it came from, and a thousand miles from its possible origins seemed a bit too far away to be sure, so we opted for an Asturian menu instead: sausage with spicy sauce, meat and potato stew and rice pudding for desert. Despite numerous opportunities, we didn't actually drink any Guinness.

Asturian Lunch

Having eaten our way across the Celtic nations, we watched some Breton dancing, which involves lots of walking around in circles stamping your feet and turning your hands forwards and backwards in the right direction, but is a lot more technical (and interesting) than than makes it sound, so we didn't feel we could join in. The dancers were accompanied by musicians playing the fiddle, accordeon and bombarde, which is the instrument in one of the quiz pictures.

Celtic coast walk to burn off some celtic calories.
We opted instead for a walk along the coast west of the town and I caught my first glimpses of the Breton end of the Earth (Finistere). It was a fun day but the best part of the festival is actually the closing show, which we didn't have tickets and so ended up watching on TV at home instead.

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition - it was fun to read your comments and see what the guesses were. Ksam, you win first prize but I decided to have a runner up chosen at random from everyone who commented and Understanding Frenchman picked Zhu at random. If you guys email your postal addresses to englishprof at hotmail dot fr, I'll send you your prizes!


  1. Yay! I don't know if it's really fair since I used to live right by there and I attended the festival five years in a row. But I will still accept my prize graciously. ;)

  2. Yay! I love winning, especially considering I rarely do ;-) I'm going to email you.

    I have never had the chance to attend the Festival but I heard it was great. The food really threw me off at first, didn't look like a festin breton at all!