Jour Trent et Un - France on a roll -- depending on charm - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2011

Jour Trent et Un

Whoa, I gotta admit, Mont St-Michel is a hell of a church. Well, I have to admit it because I spent the day here, as you know...

I got here at 1:00, check in time, and plowed through the throngs of people to my hotel. Then I went out exploring. The abby is on top of the hill, of course, because that's how God wants it. And before I go on, the question has come up, "what is Mont St-Michel?"

Well, it started in the year 709, can you imagine, 709! The local bishops and lords decided to build an abby on the little island. In fact it is only an island at high tide, in low tide you could walk over from the mainland.

All of the materials to build the abby had to be floated in by boat at high tide. As the years grew the abby grew, with some intermittent years as a prison. And I must say, it is a remarkable place. I overheard some people say it was on par with the pyramids of Egypt as far as being a 'wonder' and I can't disagree. The thing is mainly constructed on the top of a cliff, with extra support systems put in place.

During it's history Mont St-Michel was a pilgrimage site for kings and peasants. Of course they had to cross from the mainland at low tide. It was not until modern times that they built a road to bring in modern pilgrims; tourists and their money.

So, that's the background.

I spent my day doing two main things. Spending a lot, and I mean a LOT, of money on food, and visiting the abby. Let's start with food.

I had to try a world famous omelet at Mouland's, which was started in 1881. The omelets there are made with eggs and butter, lots of butter, and mixed in copper mixing bowls and cooked over an open fire. So, in I went, ready for my omelet. I sat down, looked at the menu... Omelets, 25 Euros. Gulp That's about 35 to 40 dollars, for an omelet. Gulp I looked around the place, at the walls with pictures of all the people who had eaten omelets there .General Omar Bradley, the Apollo astronauts, Tolstoy, Charles Lindbergh...the list went on and on. When will I be back here? Perhaps never?.

"I'll have the #1," I told the waiter. Except there wasn't really the "Number 1," but it was at the top of the menu.

So, I ate a 25 Euro omelet, though to be fair, it did come with a salad. I will say, it was good. Was it 25 Euros good? Probably not, but I had to try it, I just had to.

After the check came and I cleared out my wallet, I walked around the town, and then up to the abby, where I asked some questions of the woman selling tickets.

"You must get really sick of tourists?" I added at the end, seeing all of the tourists asking all kinds of questions, that must be redundant all day long, to the three tickets sellers on staff.

She looked at me with an expression that says, "Sometimes I can't take it, I wish I had stayed in school instead of dropping out at 16 to follow that loser, Pierre, to Spain; and then he ended up dumping me for a flamenco dancer and I was left without an education and now have to put up with idiot tourists like you, who come to France and expect me to speak English." But of course, she didn't say anything.

"It's okay, you can tell me." I said with a smile that says, "I know what you're thinking, you want to kill an American tourist just to watch them die. In fact, if you could get away with it you would jump over the counter and kill me right now, wouldn't you?"

She gave me a knowing smile, for a moment we were of one mind; then she handed me my ticket. "Merci, Madame." She said,
"Merci, Madame, Au revoir," I said and went off into the abby.

The abby was amazing. How the heck did they build that thing!? I got the audio recording thing and it was excellent with very detailed explanations and backgrounds of the abby and the different rooms. I spent a couple of hours going through the place..

After that I went down to dinner (okay, there was some more of a time lapse there but you get the idea) and spent 22 Euros on a 3-course meal YUM! I had some kind of fabulous cheese thing for the first course, a delicious lamb stew for the second course, and what they Bretons call "apple pie" for desert, though it wasn't like our apple pie, it was more like an apple disk with less crust. Still, it was good.

After that, around 9:00pm I went back to the abby, where they open it up (for another entry fee of course) with special lighting and music and it was well worth the fee. It was beautiful! There were different musicians and displays in the different rooms. My favorite was the cellist. She was fantastic, playing Vivaldi and Bach and all kinds of other fancy music that I like. There were also people playing the flute and harp in other rooms. I didn't leave until about 11:30pm it was so nice.

After that it was back to my room. From a strict value standpoint I would say that paying extra to stay right in town was not worth it. But I'm glad I did it anyway. There was a definite cool factor.

Tomorrow I head for St. Milo and the ferry for England. Sniff, sniff...

Oooooh, Aaaaaah, Purr-ty
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Today's ride: 8 km (5 miles)
Total: 1,660 km (1,031 miles)

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