lundi 13 février 2012

Mont Saint Michel Trip, Part 2

Approaching Mont Saint Michel...Remind you of anything?  I know I've said this to most people I know many times, but Mont Saint Michel was in fact the inspiration for Minas Tirith in the Lord of the Rings movies.  And you really get that feeling when you're there, it's very much like stepping back in time.  You can also see the back of Noah's head, for anyone interested, and Anita in profile, and the back of Gero's head.  And the bus.

Getting closer, craning neck to see up...This is at the very base of the walls.

And this is from the very base, only from the back.  I was surprised by the green hillside, since from the front Mont Saint Michel looks like a pile of grey stone towers in the middle of an expanse of grey sand.

This is the view looking towards the bay from the back of the Mont.  This other island played a role in the Hundred Year's War which you can look up if interested, but I'm not going into it here :)  Anyway, this is at the very start of our journey crossing the bay on foot.  I remember being thrilled to dunk my feet in salt water and sand again...As an island girl living in mainland Europe, I hadn't realized how much I'd missed the beach.

Pretty far out in the bay, a bunch of exchange students and the shadowing sillhouette of the Mont...

On our way across the bay the other direction, we got to see several horsepeople galloping across the sand, a really beautiful sight.  The sand here seems to go on forever, and being around Mont Saint Michel already feels like being in another time without galloping horsepeople, so it was just stunning when we saw them.

Climbing the Mont is a matter of navigating a zigzagging path of narrow streets and old stone stairways like this one. 

I was hanging out with a couple other students at this point, and our path ended up leading us through a cemetary next to a small chapel.  This flowers were growing near the enterance. 

This was taken pretty close to the top...My favorite part of French churches are, as I have mentioned before, the gargoyles.  Of course I couldn't get any kind of a close up of this ones, but you can still see them, sticking their lovely gothic necks off the roof of the cathedral.

I don't know what the exact meaning of this coat of arms is, but I know Mont Saint Michel was a huge pilgrimage destination for over a thousand years (Still is, in fact, only they started calling it tourism at the turn of the 20th century) and in the middle ages cockel shells like these were worn by pilrims and kept as souvenirs of their pilgrimage.

The inside of the Marveille, the grand cathedral at the very top of the Mount.  It's quite an architectural marvel, but again, I'll let you readers do that fascinating research on your own as it's quite a detailed story.

I think this was in a room in the monestary area, just off the main cathedral, called the Knight's room.  I don't remember why there was a ship, but there was a ship.

Courtyard with amazing carvings, of course, because here pretty much every inch of the place is covered with amazing carvings.

View of the beautiful perspective created by the rows and rows of collumns all around the perimeter of the courtyard, and of some very French hedges.

And finally, the view of the bay colored in pastels by an ancient stained glass window. 

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