Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 5 - Le Mont Saint-Michel

One of the must-see places while in Normandy is Le Mont Saint-Michel. It's old, its gorgeous, it looks so mysterious and it's a mega tourist attraction. I mean there were tons and tons of people there. I didn't expect that at all, I don't know why. I also didn't do any research about it before we went. I just knew it is over 1000 years old, which is so insane. I can't imagine how busy it is on a weekend or during summer months.

It took us just under two hours to drive there, it was mainly on a highway though. It was very foggy when we arrived, but when you are driving near Le Mont, you can see it in the distance. Some people live around there, and it's there backyard view every day. Amazing. When you get closer (by closer I mean you're still like 5km away from it) you pull into a big parking lot. People are there to direct you and give you your parking ticket so you pay on your way out. There are two ways to get up to the Mont. You can take a shuttle bus or walk. The walk is about 40 minutes, the drive.... 6? We decided to walk since we could use the exercise after all the cheese and booze we've been consuming.

It was cold. Ish. Very grey and breezy too. It felt like we were on some sort of pilgrimage, with Jamie beside me (more like ahead of me, speed-walking) with a backpack, and myself wearing a long black skirt and birkenstock sandals. (oh so wise of me-*rolls eyes*). I'd like to say the view walking up to it was incredible, but there were all kinds of cranes in the way. I don't know what they're building/digging, but it was getting in the way of my potentially awesome instagram/iphone photos! The tide was out, so there was lots of grey clay/sand all around us. If you look at the link to the wiki page, you'll see the long path we had to walk.




When we arrived at the mont, that's when you really see how many people are there. Buses of tourists. Lots of people walking away from it with pizza boxes.. ? the Mont is supposed to have a population of 49. I don't know who lives there and where exactly.. and I don't feel like looking it up right now. It looks like a little medieval village on a high island with a church at the top. When you actually get onto the mont and into the 'streets' you feel like you're in a movie, or in the show Rome. Aside from the gift shops selling things you don't need and overpriced restaurants, of course.. oh and the hoards of people. And as soon as you get in, you're walking up. Up a narrow cobblestone street. I picture how it was back in the day, full of people who actually lived there, it must of stank to high heaven. There would be horses as traffic, a carpenter's shop and other little stores, hookers along the side and drunks passed out ahahhaa.

Cool and medieval. 

Anyway, we walked up and up, up a flight of stairs.. a few flights of stairs actually. With people in their 80s passing us, and lots of people with their dogs actually. I was just waiting for someone to fall and knock everyone down like dominoes. (this is where my long skirt was very inconvenient and dangerous for going up stone stairs) We got up to a point where you had to pay to go into the church (all while passing actual priests? brothers? what are they? someone google that for me. They looked like this). But we were tired of walking up stairs and were over the crowds. We said fuggit, this climbing is getting boring it's probably a nice church let's go eat.

Foggy view. It was getting warm out though.

The sun was also coming out!

It kind of made me think of Woodbine centre fantasy fair and the elves.

I think people go there for picnics and stuff. Seems like a bit of a bitch to me though. Such a hike and so many people, I'm sure there are other places to have a family/dog day picnic time.

Magnificent and beautiful in the sunlight. Probably just as gorgeous at night.

We attempted to eat in one of the crappy restaurants but they were out of beer so we moved on with our lives and headed home. Made a stop at a chip stand first though.

French chip/burger stand. 10 Euros for fries and a burg. WTF.

The weather got better and it was beautiful back in Courseulles. We had a late dinner at Bistro L'Europe down near the water. It was ok. I had a giant salad and crevettes au beurre (shrimps with butter), Jamie had beef and fries. When I got my bowl of little shrimps, I had no idea what to do with them. They weren't typical shrimp we have at home, which was what I was expecting (why? I don't know) But they were full little shrimps, with legs and eyes and long whiskers. They were too small to de-shell and they were cold. I had to ask the waiter how to eat them. He told me to grab the head and the tail (with one hand) pinch in between my fingers and basically bite it's back off. I made him demonstrate for me. He had to eat one. So, that's how I ate them. I bit their backs off. I'm not the biggest fan of eating things with their heads and eyes still intact, (and whiskers for that matter) but I did. Jamie recorded a video of me showing you how I did it but didn't actually record a video of it because he didn't press record. Dinner was good, it was fun and it was French. Oh yes, I like the aperitif "Pommeau".

Down by ze beetch.

Pommeau and a pretzel moustache.

The harbour at night. Very quiet.

On the way back to the apartment we passed the fish market (it was closed of course). We wondered what happens to the fish they don't sell but wondered no more because we found what they do with the fish they don't sell. There was a big garbage bin just on one of the docks, with the lid open, full of some mega fish carnage. It would be your worst nightmare falling in that, drowning in fish faces and guts. (I wanna gag) it reeked. I just hope the birds know of that feast in that bin.

Sorry. Find the shark mouth!

That was day 5.

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