to Mont Saint-Michel

A continuation of my ambitious week of local travel:

Sunday, Krista and I had to get up extremely early to make it to our train for Mont-Saint-Michel. This meant, annoyingly, that we had to be responsible and duck out early from a birthday party for a couple of our fellow language assistants the night before. But the walk home was worth it. We walked through a very vibrant, very loud carnival going on in Nantes. The smell of fried food, the sight of overweight parents, the sound of loud children, terrifyingly creaky rides, and blaring radio tunes, the presence of overpriced, impossible games of chance… besides the portraits of topless women painted on some rides it almost felt like being in America.

Look closely at the right panel.

We arrived to Mont-Saint-Michel Sunday morning after two trains and a bus ride, four hours later. And oh, what a sight.

We were expecting sun, but for whatever reason, weren’t expecting the wind. Silly me. Saint Michel is an island off the north coast of France. Where there is sea, there will be wind.

I had worn a short(ish) flowy skirt in my attempt to look non-touristy. This proved successful as soon as we walked through the medieval gates, as a group of British teenaged boys mistook us for French and didn’t think Krista and I could understand their English commentary on our sexiness. Yes that’s right, sexiness. Now if only I could get this approval from someone in my own age group.

We spent the day touring the stone streets and windy shop district as we climbed up and up the little island to its main attraction, the abbey. It reminded me a lot of Eze, a little medieval town near Nice that’s built on the top of a hill. Only, less warm and more mist.

Cavernous old rooms *

Krista and I made it inside the abbey and strolled through the cavernous old rooms. On the top balcony I had to make the gutting choice between saving my brochures or saving my ass from making an indecent appearance. FYI, never wear a flowy skirt to Mont-Saint-Michel.  I spent the remainder of my time trying to keep the wind from whipping it up and away as it did to my brochures.

After we had combed every nook and cranny that the place had to offer, we ate some lunch on some steps, people watched, and shivered in the sun.

Then we ventured down to the beach.

With all of the fog and mist, it looked like we were standing in some weird sky meets sky limbo.  As I was preoccupied about protecting young children from seeing a flipped-up skirt, I let Krista venture out further into the mucky beach on her own.  The sand around the base of the island was wet and already pulling at our shoes. I had tried to warn Krista about the dinosaurs. You know what happened to them, right? They got stuck in mud and now we reassemble their bones in terrifying displays in museums.

Krista chortled at my tale of caution and stomped out confidently into the ooze. Then she almost lost her sandals.

Krista not heeding my warning  *

Try as she might, she couldn’t quite get the muck off her feet for the rest of the day.

That’s what you get for laughing at my skirt problem Krista! HA!

When we walked back around to the entrance to the walls, we saw that tour groups had been instructed to take off their shoes before walking into the prehistoric muck lands. Lesson learned for next time: no loose skirts and no shoes on the beach!

After an hour and a half bus ride and one delayed train, we arrived safely back to Nantes, slightly more world experienced than before.



*Photos stolen from Krista Schilling. Please visit her blog: http://thesagaofone.blogspot.com/

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