Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mont St Michel

This morning we were up early again (too early!) and headed to the train station. I bought pain au chocolat pistache for breakfast because France, and then sat in a sugar coma on the bus for the hour trip to Mont St Michel. It only costs 20 euros for the round trip, and the bus picks you up from St Malo station at 9.20, and drops you back at the end of the day! Worked pretty nicely. The weather was gorgeous. Again, too warm for the clothes we've packed, but we coped. Mont St Michel can be seen for miles and miles, and it just looks cooler the closer you get. It's a bizarre place, being so high and surrounded by miles of flat land, but on a clear day like today you can see every detail and it's magnificent. They're actually in the middle of building a permanent bridge, so it was a little roadwork-y, but only until you got to the city walls. Inside, it has retained the tiny, cobbled medieval streets, with towering buildings huddled along the main tourist drag. There are so many places to eat and buy souvenirs, but it was the abbey we wanted to see first, so we walked straight through the shopping part and up the steep, steep slope to the abbey. A warning for anyone wanting to visit: stairs. Lots and lots of them. Often without handrails to preserve the medieval-ness of them. So wear good boots and don't smoke. Mum and I went into the abbey while Marnie had coffee and a peek in the shops, and it was absolutely enormous. There are still monks and nuns living there today, and it would be really interesting to attend a service, but none were on while we were there. The views from the abbey terrace are unrivalled. Hundreds of miles up and down the coast of France, the sea stretching as far into the distance as possible. Low tide was beautiful, and I bet high tide carries it's own wonders. I cannot emphasise how great the weather was. The chapels, the crypts, the refectory - all of it is ancient and enormous and beautiful. My photos turned out not great, as they always do when the light is low, but luckily I bought a guidebook with some proper pics.

After the abbey, we met up with Marnie and had galettes and crepes for lunch with cider. Then chocolat pistache ice-cream to chase. THEN shopping time. Up and down, through all the little shops. I have a pretty strict budget, so I was mostly just looking, and a lot of it was typical tourist fare, but it was a lovely way to pass the time within the walls of this medieval mountain and I really enjoyed it. A quick cup of coffee, a stretch in the sun, and we walked out to wait for our coach back to St Malo. We made friends with a couple from Cairns and an American guy who spoke excellent French and had been to Mont St Michel about 15 years ago. The coach ride back was uneventful (we nearly flattened a car on the way up, after a little old lady nosed her car out of a side street too far, too quickly, but all was fine). We got back to St Malo nearly asleep on our feet (at only 5pm), bought Subway for dinner and dragged ourselves back to the hotel. Marnie went for a walk because she has the energy of a mountain goat, and I sat down to write my blog. Tomorrow we take the train to Paris. I am wiggly with excitement.

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