Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All for the sake of adventure...


Seriously. If you can go to France and only see one thing, come HERE!!! Although definitely stay the night because during the day, everywhere is full of tourists. But once the tour buses leave, PEACE!! It's lovely.

So we went on an ENGLISH guided tour today! It was delightful. AND we were the only people that came so it was basically a private tour! We felt so special. So I know that yesterday I said this place is huge. But this place is flaming HUGE!!!! The little nooks and alleys and passageways go all over the place, and the rooms themselves are just enormous! Did you know it took 1300 years to finish the whole church and abbey? 1300 YEARS!!! As in ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED. Good sweet honey mustard....mind blowing you might say. So we went through with the guide, which was great. But then I wanted to go through again and just meander on our own so I could take pictures and not feel rushed. Unfortunately, the lady taking tickets wasn't too keen on letting us through a second time. "Your ticket is only good for one! ONE!" Yes, I understand that. BUT I WANT TO GO AGAIN! I think I pulled the "ugly American tourist" card and she finally let us through, it was awesome :) So we went through again and I got TONS of pictures. Since it was built over such a long period of time, the architectural styles vary from section to section. Like at one point, part of the apse collapsed and had to be rebuilt. So instead of rebuilding it in the original style, they rebuilt it in the modern style of the time, which was Gothic. So the Apse of the main sanctuary area is Gothic, and the rest of it is Romanesque or something. That kind of stuff can be seen all over the place. Pretty cool.

Also, the abbey is still a working abbey! There are 14 religious men and women living there, but since the tourists make it such a loud and crazy place, they don't last very long. So they are replaced on a regular basis. Still, what a cool place to live as a nun or monk! On our second time around the church, we heard them singing during Mass through one of the wooden doors, talk about a time warp. To be standing in a building that was majorly built during the middle ages, and then hearing monks and nuns singing/chanting a mass, WOW. It was pretty mind boggling.

So that was cool. :)

After lunch, which was abysmal and RIDICULOUSLY expensive, more to come on that later, we decided we would take the afternoon to look through the shops on the main street. WRONG. What a load of garbage. They all sold the same CRAP, and it was cheap and dumb. NEXT. We then decided to go for a drive. I wanted some pictures of MSM from far away so I could get the whole island in, and we also wanted to get a few groceries. So off we went.

After photo ops and shopping, we decided to keep driving and we found this really cute little windmill just hanging out on top of this hill!! So pretty! So of course I got out and took some pics, then we kept going and found this little town. PROBLEM: They were doing construction on the road to get into the town. My first inclination: Well that was a good try, let's turn around and go find another town that looks just like this one (like sand on the beach in these parts). Mom's reaction: Let's keep going and potentially end all international peace between the US and France by driving through their construction site. PERFECT! So since mom was driving we kept going (argh) and then this HUGE machine CARRYING A TREE starts driving towards us! Mom stops, but the machine just keeps going and I start having a small seizure in the passenger seat as I see my life flash before my eyes. It was terrifying!! No I didn't actually have a seizure, and yes after we started backing up, the tree-carrying machine finally pulled over and we passed him. Ay chi chi. After driving around the cute little town we realized we had to go out the same way we came in. Awesome. So then, the big machine is now facing away from us so it has no idea we're there, but there's a construction worker working behind it, so he motions for us to pass it. So we start moving and the machine starts BACKING UP TOWARDS US!! AAAAAAHHHH!!! I'm pretty sure I started to go "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh" and Mom just guns it and we get around the machine before being turned into human pate. Needless to say I'm pretty sure I shaved a few years off my life. But hey, all for the sake of adventure!!!! Oy.

Ok, food time:

So I have made it clear that I have been unimpressed with French food. The only exception to this has been the chocolate mousse (which I have also made quite clear), the bread (phenomenal), and last night's dinner. It was a restaurant here on the mount and I had roasted chicken, potatoes, salad, and you guessed it, chocolate mousse. It was DELICIOUS!!! The chicken just fell off the bone, and I have never been a huge potato person but I gobbled these up. They were SO GOOD!! Besides this meal and the aforementioned foods, I fail to see what all the hype is about. Most of the food I have had the opportunity to partake of has been decent at the beginning, and then it just starts to get boring the more I eat of it. Now maybe I just don't have an advanced palate or something. I pretty much just like the basics, so all this fancy stuff is wasted on me. I'm sure that for some people, prawns and mayonnaise with duck's foot pate is just life changing, but it kinda makes me want to gag.. and while yes I over dramatized duck's foot pate, prawns with mayonnaise was ACTUALLY on the menu last night. Barf. So if anyone has suggestions on what I SHOULD be ordering, please fill me in because I would love to know why everyone is so pumped about French food. Now one thing I will say is that the quality of the food here does seem to be much better. Sure it doesn't taste all that special, but the ingredients have been of excellent quality. Good salad fixings, bread, meat, cheese, all that stuff. So good ingredients, just the combination skills seem to be lacking in my opinion. Think what you will.

So we're off to Tours tomorrow in the Loire valley! Castle tour on Friday, and then back to Paris on Sunday and home on Monday. This will be the last leg of our trip! I can't believe we're starting to wind down, it's gone by fast! Although I won't lie, I'm looking forward to things being in English again...

Au Revoir!

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