Published: October 4th 2006October 3rd 2006
Mont St. Michel
I could not have asked for a better shot.
A lot has happened in the past two weeks. But I swear I’ve learned to keep it shorter (not short
, but shorter
). Soooo . . . we : foraged for oysters, found a home in Pornic, all survived the bomb, realized the dead bodies were not on display, successfully scavenged around Nantes, challenged the Marseillais to duel, longed for Chicago-style hot dogs (well, just me) and peanut butter (definitely all of us), were salivated over by wolves, got trapped in quicksand, and found both ends of the rainbow. And it’s all true.
Okay, oysters & a home in Pornic : Pornic is a little beach town southwest of Nantes, and for 33 euros total, 4 of us could travel roundtrip. Thus, we booked it. It wasn’t the best of days, but over here, you’ve either got rain with a chance of sun or rain with a chance of more rain. Yet it was quite memorable as my first time in the Atlantic. Scattered along the beach were tons of shells, and a few were actually still living oysters. So I cracked a few open National-Geographic-style, hunched over a flat stone with another sharp one in my hand. After sea, salt,
On the beach in Pornic
Granted, this shot may be a bit boring. But the manner in which it was taken is absolutely fantastic. We dug a hole to anchor our soccer ball, balanced the frisbee on top as a petite table, and precariously placed Andrew's camera on top with the timer set.
and seafood, we trekked over to a little café called “Le Café Nautique” with the best hostess/owner ever. She was definitely emitting grandma vibes. She mistook us for Britons (as most people did that day, I guess we’re fitting in a bit better, at least it’s this side of the the pond), and chatted for awhile. We left to explore town, and as we ran to catch the train home, we stopped by again to thank her for her hospitality. It was at that point that, if we were ever in need of a place to stay, her home was open to us. Now that’s the French way. By the way, when one orders lobster from the poissonerie, the lobsters are plucked from the tank, inspected, wrapped in brown butcher paper, and handed over to the customer. Alive. It was a bit interesting to take in.
There really was a bomb in Nantes, but, no, it wasn’t terrorism. Men working on the fountain renovation found a World War II bomb buried amidst the rubble. Plus, it was an American one. Yeah, we heard jokes about that all day. As Andrew put it, “We saved France from the Nazis. A
No, I'm just kidding. They wouldn't let me eat it.
little forgive-and-forget would have been nice.” Either way, the center of the city was evacuated Sunday for the removal. That same day, we toured the crypts of Cathédrale Saint-Peter Saint-Paul. Unfortunately, the crypts are so small that they’re not really open to tours. Still trying to figure that one out . . .
Skipping ahead past our first week of classes (yeah, they’re alright, yes, I went to all of them), Friday was the scavenger hunt around Nantes. I’m totally tooting our own horn on this one cuz we annihilated the competition. Thanks to so many evenings of wandering around Nantes, we’ve become quite familiar with the city. That same weekend, 70-some Americans loaded up on the public tramways headed for the soccer stadium to see the FC Nantes Canaries tackle the Marseillais Somethingorothers. Nantes is last in the league, Marseilles being first, so it didn’t look too promising. Amazingly, the Canaries came out ahead with 2-1. Perhaps the most entertaining aspect was sitting next to the die-hard Marseilles section who sang and chanted for 90 minutes straight and exchanged quite a few barbs with Nantes throughout the match. Katie and I also might have angered a few guys
at the end . . . Good thing security doesn’t release that section until the Nantais are gone.
Here at IES, we have a “Club de Conversation” every Tuesday with the students of Polytechnique. PT is an engineering school. IES is 80% female. Pack. Of. Wolves.
But this past weekend was amazing. We finally
visited Mont St. Michel and St. Malo. I do have to admit that I had a grand image of the abbey built up in my head, and the throngs of tourists shattered that image ever so slightly. But it was still beautiful, as evidenced by the mulitude of photos. Mont St. Michel is an abbey in the north of France, built for Saint Michael. I’ve wanted to see this abbey ever since M. Lewis told us about it in high school. The extraordinary feature is that the abbey becomes an island at high-tide, as there is only one accesible road. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay long enough to witness this feat, but the disappearing-road-trick did occur at St. Malo, yet another coastal town. St. Malo was interesting for a few reasons- the sand’s a bit viscous, thus the quicksand (the same went for the sand
In the crypts of the cathedral . . .
. . . there's this thing called the monstance. En français, c'est l'ostensoir.
at Mont St. Michel), the sun shone while it rained- granted, no amazing feat, that happens in Chicago too, but rainbows with both ends touching the sea definitely doesn’t happen in Chicago, and finally, we consumed our first crêpe flambée avec rhum. Although it needs to be noted that there is a difference in prononciation and meaning between rhum and rhume.
I’m finally caught up. Eventually, one of these entries will be about differences between France and the States, my actual life and not just my travel plans, etc . . . But on that note for travel plans, we’ll be going to Toulouse this weekend, with a change of trains in Bordeaux. So, Bordeaux = wine, and Toulouse = ???
Hope everything’s spiffy back home
There are more photos below