Friday, February 8, 2013

Sunset at Mont Saint-Michel

World Heritage Sites

We arrived!
We arrived!
We arrived!
Mont Saint-Michel, the tidal island on the Normandy Coast, is our benchmark for gauging the difficulty of getting to a destination.  "It can't be as difficult as Mont Saint-Michel," or "That was almost as hard as getting to Mont Saint-Michel."  How many times over the years have we said that to each other!  Although it's not far from Paris, it took us three days to get there.  We got on the wrong train the first day; missed the connection the second day; then finally made it to a town just south of there to find we had missed the last bus.  "Screw it," my travel buddy said.  "Let's hitchhike."  And so we did, and we made it just in time to see the setting sun turn the entire island into a golden wonder.  Not only that, but we got the last room at the Hotel du Mouton Blanc with a view of the tiny street winding its way through the village.  The travel gods had taken pity!

The Gothic spires of the Benedictine abbey form a menacing silhouette against the evening sky.  The swift moving tides surrounding the island only add to its illusion of danger.  We had written ourselves into the pages of a mystery novel.  The plot thickened as we walked among the Romanesque walls.  This was a fortified city; a strategic location; a marvel of architecture.   That this site had achieved World Heritage status as early as 1979, is no surprise.     

Benedictine monks founded the monastery in 966 and dedicated it to the archangel St. Michael.  The Gothic abbey, built on top of  the Romanesque remains, raised the mount ever higher and higher towards the heavens.   A gilded statue of the angel decorates the top.   It is truly a wonder!

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