11 February 2008

La cote de la France

On Saturday I woke up at 6h45 in order to shower and eat and leave my house by 7h40 in order to be at the metro entrance by the university by 8h20ish. Why all that? To go to St. Malo and Mont Saint Michel (yes, yes, I'm a saint. Please, don't clap so loudly). But I'm just going to say that at 8h30 in the morning, I loved France. Mostly it's because I'm pretty sure I'm insane. The other part is because at 8h30 in Rennes, you can walk up to a boulangerie and buy a hot pain au chocolat. Oh man. You see, this is how I know God loves me. The French put chocolate in their bread.

St. Malo was pretty cool. It used to be a pirate town. In some year a while ago (see how much attention I paid while taking pictures?) the city was destroyed. They decided to rebuild it, but in the fashion of how it was a hundred years before. So it has the monster stone walls surrounding everything, with little turrets and holes for people with guns. The sea was beautiful. It was really fun to see how excited my friend Jessica was. She lives on an island in Washington State, and she was seriously ecstatic to be able to see the ocean. I was glad it wasn't raining.

We took the hour bus ride to St. Malo and then Andrew set the group free on the mini city (really I should say town, it isn't large at all). Most groups headed for the ramparts, where you could walk around the entire city, looking on one side at the harbor and all the little boats, and on the other side at the ocean and islands. We walked around for a while and then sat down on above the water and pretended to push one another in. Apparently I'm not afraid of falling in the ocean. I am, however, still afraid of fish. Weird.

Jessica and Mark and I did have a little scare after we'd bought our picnic lunches and couldn't find the bus anywhere. Andrew had said that it was leaving at 11h45 sharp. They'd left people behind before. So when we couldn't find the bus by the port we thought it was going to be we were like, "Oh, poo." Well, I was. Then, after ten minutes of calling people and wondering what we were going to do for the rest of the day, we found Andrew, who also did not know where the bus was. After that it was ok. We got in the bus again and drove to Cancale, where we stopped (thank the Lord I had the worst headache-salut, dehydration) and ate.

Cancale was lovely. We were at low tide, and after I ate I walked down on the beach and Collin and I took pictures. After a while we walked back to the wall where people were sitting and yelled at them to come down. We had to yell for two reasons. 1. They were obviously dumb, since they were sitting on cement when they could be walking in the mud. and 2. They were sitting thirteen feet or so above our heads. I was done taking pictures so I looked for tiny seashells at the base of the wall. Prateik was having bitterness management sessions with himself. This means that the night before he had eaten shellfish and gotten sick, so at the wall he was picking up shells and throwing them at the wall. Some of them still had goo inside. That was pretty nasty. Funny though. You don't usually expect goo to come out of dry dead things.

After Cancale we drove for another hour or so to the famous Mont Saint Michel. It's an abbey whose first construction dates back to 708. It was built to honor Michael the archangel. Sadly, as Mackenzie tells me, there are no female Saint Michelles. Too bad I'm not Catholic. Or saintly. Anyway. During the Hundred Years War, the Mont was an "impregnable stronghold." From the 1790s til 1863 the abbey was a prison.

The reason the abbey is so phenomenal and part of the reason people inside it were so safe from attack is because the mont is in the middle of a bay on the northern coast of France. When it's high tide, the abbey is surrounded by water. There's no approaching it, nor leaving it. So in order to visit, you have to hit the tides just right. The inside of the abbey is pretty amazing, once you get past all the horridly overpriced French restaurants and crazy Chinese tourists. I'm pretty proud of myself, I listened to the audio tour in French. No, I don't really remember any of it. Except for now my French word of the week is "un cachot." Dungeon. Dum Dum Dum.

At 5pm we all met by the bus and loaded up and left. Five minutes into the ride my head reminded me that no, I had not downed any water during the day, nor the day before. It hurt. We got back about an hour later and I headed home almost immediately and drank almost 1.5 liters of water at dinner instead of wine. It was weird. And the only reason I know how much water I drank is because that's how big the water bottle was. People don't drink tap water here, unless it's to make tea or coffee. I don't know if it's a culture thing, or a sanitation thing. Not that they heat the water long enough to kill any badness... hm. Something to ponder.

On Sunday I went for a run. It was beautiful. I think it must have been at least 60*F by the canale. I was amazed that people were actually wearing jackets. I was in capris and a tshirt and was almost dying.

Then it was today. My second day of classes (no class Fridays). I only had one two hour class. I'll put that another way. One class which lasted two hours. Oi. French civilisation. Fun. In two weeks we're doing gastronomie. That means Breton food and drink. Which means galette and cidre. I love my life.

Today we also (we meaning me, Julia, Amanda, and Mark) bought our Carte 12-25 and our train tickets to Lyon. The 12-25 is a sort of reduction card that you can buy for 50 euros that gives you discounts on train tickets just for being between the ages of 12 and 25. The whole caboodle cost about 150 euros, which isn't too bad, considering that we're going to a city near the Alps at the same time the rest of France is going to be on vacation, and we're leaving on a Monday and coming back on a Sunday. So yeah. Yay spending money. I just figure, when else am I going to be able to take a train to Lyon and stay in a hostel with friends? Not every year, that's for sure. I'm going to do it while I can.

Now the hard part: planning.

1 comment:

Katina said...


I am glad to hear you are enjoying yourself and learning tons. May God bless you and be with you as you continue on this adventure.