The morning of Day 6 started well enough. All four of us got fed coffee, croissants, cola. I made a complaint about bed-bug bites that no-one believed. We piled in the car and started for our first destination: Mont Saint Michel.
|Mont Saint Michel|
|Salt, Sand, Sea|
Then, we began the spiraling walk up to the monastery itself. It being early, there were few shops open. We headed through a tourist trap to the outer wall, where we looked down onto the low tide below us. There were minor arguments about sand versus water, but it was all settled in my favour, obviously.
After about 300 steps, a few weird corners, and a bunch of japanese tourists, we made it to the gate keeper. We got out tickets and headed up the steps to the 11 AM english tour....stopping along the way for some prime photo-ops.
After the tour, both Matts went off to take pictures and go exploring. I also hear that there was debauchery in cordoned off areas. Upon their glorious return, we showered them with gold and crepes. Not at the first restaurant though, because the prices were too high. The restaurant we settled on had an upstairs with some birds and a sheepdog... it was cute, a bit dirty and french, but cute. Beer and coke light was had by all. Except my Matt, thats just how he rolls.
After lunch, now approaching 3pm, we made our way down and out of Gondor. There was one more destination to hit, and then a decision to make.
Car travel past Rouen. Then past La Mans. Then past Chartres. Then to Paris. Then we were in Paris. A place I had not wanted to be, in a car, on a Friday night. It was %$*&@*^& chaos. There were some intensely stressful moments - participant include myself, Matt, Matt and other drivers. Generally, I blame the iPhone nagivator lady. Vicki, somehow through the entire trip actually, managed to not kill the three of us. That says something for her resolve.
Right. So here the four of us were. In Paris. On a weekend. The weekend before Valentine's Day. As I have said: living in a cliché. Needless to say, line ups were ridiculous. Prices were increased because of the "holiday". Every two seconds we were abused with other people kissing. Gross. Not exactly a wonderful introduction to the City of Lights. Sights seen up close were the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Place de Concorde (with its Egyptian obelisk), Notre Dame, and general Parisian architecture. We also went (very briefly) inside the Louvre; on a river boat tour up and down the Seine for an hour; underneath Notre Dame Cathedral to see Roman ruins. Another post about Paris will be done in the future. For now, let us say that the city wasn't a home-run hit, more of a singleton bunt.
Leaving Paris was easy in comparison to entering. We headed onto the tolled highway towards Dijon. After 300 km or so, and 17€, we arrived in Dijon for lunch.
Now, the great thing about the French is the opening times of shops. Some are closed on the weekends, some on Mondays or Tuesdays. Some open all day, some are only open during specified hours. The majorly annoying thing for us was that on Monday afternoon, in Dijon, bupkiss was open. And it was raining. Not knowing much about Dijon, and not having any tourist info, I made them drive towards the tallest building in the city. Generally, this is the church spire, and the "old town" surrounds it. In most places, the church and the old town are the tourist attractions. It's a fairly safe bet to find something to eat in the vicinity...
On the menu, that dish was labelled "knuckle of veal". In reality, it was discerned to be a knee-joint of a pig. (My) Matt was ecstatic! His meal fit in perfectly with the decor of the place too. It looked like a medieval pub, with beams crossing the ceiling, swords and shields crossed on the tapestry covered walls. I think there was a suit of armour too.
After eating, a digestive walk was in order. We passed a building that had been used as a body-deposit and hospital during the plague years. It was currently closed, and "too dangerous" to enter. That was opposite the Dijon church, which was quite colourful. A bit over-tired of French architecture, we kept going. I popped into a wine store (the only place open!) and everyone followed. There was purchasing of alcohol. Back to the car! Onwards to Switzerland!
Photos of the Moments:
The next installment covers the neutral nation of Switzerland. We fail in finding a hotel; can't see the Alps; and bleed out of our pockets.