Whirlwind Tour – Seven Countries in Six Weeks

Greetings once again after an extended absence. During the six weeks beginning the middle of June through the end of July I was quite busy with family. First was the wedding of my nephew in France, followed by a whirlwind tour of France, Denmark, Wales, Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland and Mexico with my granddaughter.

Needless to say, there is a mountain of photographs and videos, plus tons of notes to be turned into blog posts, so the next few weeks will consist of articles regarding our travels.

First up will be France before the wedding, which will include unanticipated events – and unanticipated events will follow me through several of the countries as you will see.

The wedding trip was planned for months, and my sister and I decided that since we would be there already, might as well do some sightseeing.  Tickets for the plane, train, car rental and bed and breakfast hotel were booked WAY in advance.  And as the time approached, the first kink in our plans happened – Air France and train strikes!

The distress was somewhat eased by the fact that it was not a continuous strike; it did not have a start date and continue every single day until resolution. The public was given a schedule of which days they would be on strike and which days they would not. Fortunately for me, my days of arrival and departure were not affected. For my sister, her day of departure from France WAS affected, necessitating and change of airlines.

So, I set off from Mexico, landed at JFK airport in New York, we met up within the airport and flew to Paris together. From there, we met one of my nephews and took the train to Angers and from there we rented a car.

I had not been anywhere in France, except for Paris for a day or two in transit to other countries, so I was open to anywhere they wanted to go. We decided on visiting Mont Saint Michel – quite a unique place.

For those that don’t know, Mont Saint Michel could be said to be on a hill during low tide and is an island during high tide. My sister said there used to be parking lots around it, and people would be warned to go back to the mainland before the tide came in, but now there is a parking lot on the mainland and a shuttle bus and a horse-drawn vehicle to transport you there.

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We were there during low tide and did not stay long enough to see the complete transformation from hill to island, but it was still quite impressive to see the edifices rising in the distance, surrounded by the beach.

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There were many groups of people as well as individuals enjoying the beach in their bathing suits with backpacks set down above the water line.

Construction was begun in the 8th century with the building of an oratory by a bishop who had a vision of the archangel St. Michael, became a pilgrimage center, suffered a fire, and through various transformations eventually became the UNESCO site that it is today.

It amazes me to think of these ancient structures built so long ago by people living at that time, the construction dependent on the tides. I cannot imagine this at the very beginning when the first stone was set down on what was just a rocky island. There was also the danger of quicksand, but with the construction of the 3000 foot causeway it is much easier and less dangerous to make the journey from the land to the island.

You can read more about the history and geography of this amazing place here:

https://www.britannica.com/place/Mont-Saint-Michel

Here are some photos taken from inside the structures: (you can see each picture in a larger form by clicking on it)

As well as views of the outside. There is a small village on this island, as the pilgrims needed a place to stay as well as food to eat.

And so, we departed the island to continue our adventures.

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Next stop – a real French wedding !!! See you later!

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