Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010: Mont-Saint-Michel

(Karannina) Breakfast. Drive to Mont-Saint-Michel: an 'island' with one street - but only people are allowed to walk on it, a part of the parking lot is on temporary 'land'. You have to get your car out before the tide comes in and reclaims the land or else you are carelessly 'carless'. We saw a cool yellow motorcycle with a side car built for three. The island was first a place of refuge for hermits who were seeking to be closer to God by being by themselves and away from others. Then a Roman church was built around 1088. A Benedictine monestary is established and built over the Roman church, with various new buildings include an Abbey. Over the years, it attracted a huge number of pilgrams, including a group of children who left their parents to seek miracles at this place. Over the years, it was an abbey as well as a prison. Over the years it has attracted pilgrims and royality as well as tourists, having some of the very first tourism shops already in 1200's. As I walked around, I discovered a number of things: the symbols on different rocks indicated who cut the rock and who got paid; some grafitti from 709AD (see the floor stone); a plaque commemorating all the knights that were knighted at this abbey; a room where the monks would eat in silence while one would read outloud scriptures (see stairs); the huge columns that took all four of us to join our hands together to surround it (the building collapsed at an earlier time); the treadmill that was used to haul up the large stones by prisoners; and the little church on the rock. Dad was a little crazy as he ran inside the treadmill that was used by the prisoners as a way to get heavy rocks up to the top of the abbey. We took off our socks and shoes and ran out on the sand, being careful for quicksand - we were warned about this as there were many areas with quicksand. After washing our feet, we drove home, cleaned all our shells (dad thinks he found a piece of a gun barrel from a machine gun from WWII, see picture with all the barnacles) and watched Billy Elliott about a boy whose father and brother didn't like what Billy was doing - ballet dancing instead of boxing.

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