Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mont St Michel & Normandy

After Paris, we headed north-west to Mont St Michel. Alexia had heard amazing things about the place and so we were very excited to go there. After arriving in Beauvoir, we took the scary hotel bikes into Mont St Michel which was only about 5km away. For those of you who have never been to Mont St Michel, it's basically an island. It used to be only accessible at low tide, however they have since put in a new man-made road that makes it accessible in all tides. We decided to take the old road out which was the one that would get covered by water. We came upon a beach which looked like it was sand, but as Alexia soon discovered was very nasty mud. Ellis was alerted to this by her screaming as she tried to walk her bike up a small embankment. Apparently the mud was as slippery as ice, which made it very hard to walk on, let alone push a heavy mountain bike up the hill. When she emerged, her feet and the bike were completely covered in mud.

After Alexia's incident, we arrived at the island and began our exploration of the old town. We were too late to visit the cathedral, so we stuck to the shops. The shops were an interesting mix of very touristy things to local wares. They had a lot of clothes made of wool from the region which were extremely high quality and very expensive as well as very nice copper cookware. It was a lot of fun.

Midway through our trip to the island, it started pouring rain. We had, of course, neglected the gathering clouds and did not bring our rain gear. There were groups of tourists huddled under every dry spot, but we were from Seattle, so we didn't care and walked around taking pictures. About the time the rain started, we heard announcements in many languages that it was time to move your cars because the tide was rising. It was amazing to watch the water raise so quickly. They say it comes in as fast as a race horse; we are not sure if this is the exact speed, but it comes in very fast. You wouldn't want to be stuck out on the mud flats.

It was about 7:30, so we decided to head back into town to grab some dinner. We biked back in the rain, keeping our speed low enough that the back tires didn't spray up our backs. There was thunder and lightning, it was gorgeous. We had dinner at a nice little restaurant across from the hotel. Alexia had been seeing signs for Moulles (mussels) everywhere so she decided to try them. They were amazing; probably the best mussels we ever had. After dinner we went back to the hotel and went to bed.

The next day we went back to Mont St Michel where we toured the abbey and walked around everywhere. The Abbey was built in 1100 AD and the rest of the structures were built up around it slowly. The Abbey was amazing. It took pretty much the whole day to tour the abbey and look at more shops. After this, we had dinner again (mussels) and then went to bed.

The next day we had mussels one more time, except in a cream sauce. BEST MUSSELS EVER. Alexia liked mussels, but didn't love them. These were just so good you couldn't get enough of them. After our mussel fix (2 large plates heaped with mussels and a small portion of fries) we hopped on a bus for Rennes and then a train for La Rochelle.

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