Really Big Abbey

 

You can see Mont-Saint-Michel from about 20 kilometers
away.  Off in the distance, west of
Caen, it’s a huge castle in the sky.   It’s even more impressive when you get up to it.  A 10th century Abbey and
village believed to be started back in 7-0-8.

Hmm…. Alberta celebrated 100 years in 2005. The abbey will
celebrate 13 hundred in 2008. 
We’ve got a ways to go.

 

Even the parking lot is massive and the funniest part about
it is the warning.  Basically, have
your car out of the lot by 5pm, or it will be swallowed up by the tide.  Good incentive not to doddle.  Once past the gate you enter into a
swarming, hustling, bustling village of….. postcard shops.  Those medieval marketers were ahead of

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their time.  Most of the postcards
are of the abbey of course, but a few topless shots of the nearby beaches help
round things out for the non religious visitors.

 

Actually, the whole area is where people lived and stayed as
they made their pilgrimage to the sanctuary.  It’s free to wander around the village and you can work your
way well up the mountain.  But
don’t stop there.   The 8
euros for adults (kids under 18 are free) are well worth exploring the Abbey
itself.

 

It has everything you’d expect from a castle. Winding
staircases leading to huge rooms. 
Fireplaces covering entire walls. 
Gargoyles peering down as you make your way around the building.  And chapels of various shapes and sizes
throughout.  We came upon a service
and were welcomed inside.  I don’t
understand French and I’m not Catholic, but chanting, hymns and prayers echoing
the halls of an old castle really is something to experience.

 

With the tide rolling in it was time to go… with a minor
complaint from the kids.  Why don’t
they ever let us down in the dungeons? 
Back to reality.