Saturday 18th May
This morning I got up early to go to Angers by train for the day. This was mainly in order to meet my French teacher from Gosford, who moved back to France this year. The train from Guipry-Messac was at 7:54, followed by a 51 minute wait in Rennes for the train to Angers – about twice as long as the train trip from Guipry to Rennes! I arrived at Angers at about 10:45.
Angers immediately struck me as a vibrant city, very clean and well looked after, with people in all the public places. I made my way to the enormous and imposing château, built on a bluff overlooking the river Maine. The huge dry moat, walls and towers, and the sheer size of the castle are all remarkable. I went looking for the entrance, but went the wrong way round, so ended up walking almost the whole 1km around the castle. It was worth it to see the extent of it, and to walk up the steps that run from near the river up to the cathedral near the castle.
Inside the castle walls there are some large gardens, and buildings dating from
The Apocalypse Tapestry
Check out the size of it!
various centuries, the most recent being that built in the 1950s to house the Apocalypse Tapestry, the extraordinary treasure once hung in the cathedral, but now resident in its special building in the castle.
The tapestry is hundreds of metres long and depicts the Book of the Apocalypse from the Bible. It is a series of woven panels depicting scenes from the book. It is divided into four parts, each consisting of about twenty four (my estimate) panels. St John the Evangelist appears in every panel. Its quite an astonishing work, the viewing gallery is very good, and the audio guide I had hired explained it in detail, which was very interesting.
After visiting the castle, I met my French teacher friend and we had lunch at a nearby café. She then gave me an excellent guided walking tour of the centre of Angers. Highlights included the Musée des Beaux Arts, medieval buildings, the main shopping area and square, the tower of Saint Aubin and the cathedral. While we were viewing the cathedral, the volunteer guide who was showing a group around offered us the chance to join the group for a tour of the recently restored Bishop's
Palace adjoining the cathedral (no longer used as a Bishop's Palace).
This was very interesting, seeing the architecture inside and out, the restoration and also the exhibition of clerical robes currently on display. Their rich embroidery was impressive to see.
After farewelling French teacher friend, I had a snack and headed back to the station to return to Rennes. I was very impressed with Angers, a city of a good and liveable size, with plenty to see and do, but not too big. Probably it's about the size of Newcastle, NSW, but without the industrial bulk or the problem of having had its public transport system ruined by government.
In Rennes I met my host family at the Musée de Bretagne for the evening. This was a special free night at the museum, but we were there because there was a special artwork on display that had been produced by students at the middle school in Bain de Bretagne, including the youngest member of my host family. It was very impressive, and consisted of a number of images of particular details from a range of different artworks in the museum proper. We also had time to look
at part of the Brittany museum, and I think I will have to return soon for a longer look. Things of particular interest included information about ancient burials, dolmens and menhirs, etc, and some history of the colonisation of Brittany by the Celts, and its former independence from the kingdom of France.
Unfortunately I have been sick with significant digestive problems since Saturday night. Maybe it was the election result, but more probably accidental gluten intake, but it's a much longer reaction than I've had in the past. Or, it could be just old fashioned food poisoning. In any case, recovery is slow this time and I've had to cancel my presentations at the school on Friday, and my planned road trip around Brittany this weekend. Hopefully I will be able to do both of these things once I have recovered! There also won't be a blog for this week. I have lost 6kg on this trip – 3kg from all the walking (good), and 3kg this week from not being able to eat much at all (not good).
The title reminds me of a trivia/quiz question. Can you think of
a sentence in English which uses the same word five times consecutively?
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