Thursday, 25 June 2015

Saint Malo to Saint Malo (oh, and Mt Saint Michel)

I wake up at 6 am, a bit later than usual. Then I remember where I am, jump out of bed, drink 1/2 a cup of instant coffee, grab my shoes, the camera, and cigarettes and run out the door.  PLEASE, don't let me have missed sunrise !

It's the same thing every time I am here
As I slowly walk the hard fine sand eastward
with waves gently lapping me feet
the sun that is slowly coming up below the horizon
changes the scenery every minute
And it is different every day
depending on the particular cloud formations
and in which seasonal direction the sun will rise

Walking this beach before sunrise is one of the things in life I could never tire of

Still sleeping
Intra-Muros getting its first morning light

While I'm facing East and taking these pictures,

the sun appears appears over the horizon

Here comes the sun!!

Then it's time for a trip. And just like when the wind stopped once my battery was empty, when the rain let up once I had reached my destination,  the ferocious winds that have been blowing with at least 20 km/h for the last weeks and would have been in my back today have died down and given way to 2 km/h air movements.

I might not be travelling to a new town today, but I'm still moving to the hotel next door, so I'm bridging the time between check-out and check-in with a trip.

I take the train from St Malo to Dol but don't want to wait hours for the connecting train to Pontorson, so I'll just cycle the 20 something kilometres there.

Once you find the bike path, it's quite nice

The dividing watery line: Brittany to the left; Normandy to the right.

The dam that was here 2 years ago has been replaced by a bridge, to prevent ocean sand accumulations

on y va !
The first meters are almost enough to make me turn back.  Souvenir shops, restaurants, and tourists packed tightly as sardines.   The glacial flow of people comes to a halt every time someone stops right in the middle of the street to take a picture of something.

I've never lit a church candle in my life before.  But here and now is a good time.

Still some vertical to overcome

Tiny people circumnavigating Le Mont at low tide

Somehow this people-swallowing entrance reminds me of the movie Alien!

Built to be easily defended

Barbarians at the gate

Too many tourists! As soon as this one was gone, a new one obstructed the view

they're everywhere

This must be supporting something heavy

It takes me a while to figure out what this next contraption is all about, and I have to laugh out loud when the realization hits me.

 Imagine you're in an abbey in the dark ages. The last thing you want to do is open the doors to the outside. Barbarian might come storming in (although in these parts you could've seen them coming for miles literally)  or half your monks might run away.  So the doors stay closed!  How do you get stuff in and out (visitors, food, toilet-paper-covers hand-croicheed  by monks).?
Your yearly holy water delivery just came. How do you get it in?
Easy, you tie it all to a sleigh, attach a looong rope/chain to the sleigh and pull that rope up the sheer walls of your abbey.
Send a sled down. Tie delivery to sled.  Now what?

Now what would be the best way to pull that rope, you think?   Think Hamster Wheel !
The Monk Wheel.

Nice tour, maybe worth the 9 Euros they charge, but I'm hungry now and head down again.

HINT: NEVER EVER try to eat inside Mt St Michel.  The restaurants are not happy about new customers.  They are SOOOO BUSY, they're ecstatic about every customer that doesn't enter
Given the extreme business, the food was surprisingly good

On my way back to Dol, I get extremely thirsty and stop at a farm market.  I buy 1 litre of farm-made pear juice and drink most of it within 10 minutes.

On the ride from St Malo train station to the hotel I regret drinking all that pear juice but I make it to the hotel just in time.

I did enough walking and cycling today, so my beach time is rather short.

Guess which room did sink-laundry again

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