Friday, June 3, 2011

Euro 2011 Day 9

May 22 2011 Day 9
First a few more pictures from the Chateau we camped at last night. Great playground, by the way.
I got on the internet for the first time since DC at the chateau to try posting a blog post and check where nearby churches were and found one on the way to Mont Saint Michel, but it didn’t start until 1120am. So we slept in a little and took time to enjoy our warm croissants and pain-au-chocolate (croissant with chocolate chips) with a light drizzle coming down outside the tent. So far the only rain we’ve had. The drizzle lasted less than an hour and we got packed up and headed to Countences (Point B)for sacrament meeting.
IMG_2010  The meeting house (a retrofitted shop) was nestled a corner of a square that used to be the fish market which sat between two grand cathedrals, choir practice happened to be going on in one…just a few people, nothing grand. The LDS branch was tiny!! Just 25 members on the rolls of which about 15 are active. There were about 15 people in the tiny little chapel including us, another visiting American couple (from American Fork, UT) and a senior missionary couple from Idaho. The senior couple were the speakers, the Sister went first and barely spoke any French so the Branch President translated for her. Her husband had both worked and served as a missionary previously in France and spoke pretty fluently. The kids were pretty good (they don’t understand much even when it is in English) and ended up playing with the other kids present who were similar ages in the row behind us.
After church we drove toward Mont-Saint-Michel (Point C) which you could see rising ghostily from the bay even miles away. The tides are huge here (up to a 50 foot swing) and so when the tide is out there is an enormous tidal plain. On the parts that rarely get water there were sheep grazing peacefully with nothing but the wind around them and the island abbey fortress in the distance.
We parked a 5 minute walk away (no room for cars inside) and walked in playing tracking games in the wet sand with Henry. The island basically consists of walls surrounding a single main street (up to 15 feet wide in some places!) that winds it’s way up the abbey.
IMG_2060Henry jumping from one of the walls
Cool Old elevator system to get stuff up to the Abbey.  IMG_2056     We explored the street and played on the ramparts but skipped the actual abbey (seen lots of free churches…why pay 12 euros a person to see another just because it’s on an island). On the way down we got ice cream before heading to Dinan.
Dinan (Point D) is a cute town in Brittany that is located as far up the Ranges river as sea ships could travel so it thrived as a trading town, but didn’t grow a whole lot once some bridges got built. We followed a Rick Steves walking tour through town with a stop to climb the old bell-tower for amazing views of the city with it’s slate roof tiles.
Anna and Lizzy climbing up through the trapdoor to the belltower lookout. 

IMG_2097Henry kept his ears covered because the bell sounds at the top of the hour and it was 5 to.
   In the old days you paid property taxes (guess they had them back then too) based on the sq footage of the ground level, so clever merchants built larger upper levels for some tax-free space so much of the town resembles Pisa. 
IMG_2105 IMG_2104  On the steep walk down to the port we decided to attempt a sit-down meal with the kids and ordered gallettes and crepes which were just ok, the griddle needed to be cleaned or something, but the rustic restaurant with the owners dogs circling (ala my old dog Kirby) for table scraps was fun.IMG_2112IMG_2117 After dinner we stopped for a bit more ice cream before heading south to the Loire. We camped that night in Angers (Point E) More poppies on the way.

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