Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011--Mont St. Michel

We arose early and headed over to the bus station to buy our tickets for Mont St. Michel.  For the first time during this trip, we were asked if we were over 60 and received our first senior discount.  Mary was delighted; I'm still ambivalent.  The ride took about 11/2 hours through countryside and some small villages.  After passing through a final small town, we could see the abbey looming up through the fog in the distance.

The abbey sits at the top of what used to be a small island, and shops and houses are built in a spiral heading down to the base.  The place is imposing and impressive, something one cannot see anywhere else.  The streets are narrow and wind through a string of gaudy tourist shops.  There were quite a few people--many, many Japanese tourists--but once again we were lucky to see the place in winter rather than summer, when the crowds are horrible.

draw bridge entrance

winding, commercialized streets

It was incredibly cold as winds from the bay would whip through the town; the old saw about it being 30-something but feeling like 20-something was never more true.  To get up to the parapets, we had to hike and climb and climb, but the view was spectacular.

The view was magnificent, but the hike up to the abbey tested our endurance; there were stairs, more stairs, followed by another and another flight of stairs.  

stairs up to parapets

oh, and more stairs into the abbey

abbey altar



Once at the abbey, we wandered through room after room, and the light and the angles of the rooms and columns provided great shots.  Professor Artsy-Fartsy (or Bal du Merde) experimented to his heart's content.

Our big decision was whether to depart on the early bus (2:30) or later at 5:10.  It was so cold and the food so expensive, we decided to head back early, but before doing so we wandered the town and took more shots.

a new friend

Once back in Rennes, we discovered only one cafe open and pigged out on pizza.  Then at 7:00 back to Paree.

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