Saturday, June 21, 2014

Allons-y.

It's Saturday, right? I am so mixed up about the day of the week lately. Not that it matters. Forgetting the day of the week is one of my favorite luxuries of summer, but traveling makes it feel even more like I'm out of time.


Anyway. I made it to France, but getting here was much more of an adventure than I thought it would be. We boarded our train in London for Paris and arrived right on time. Just as we were pulling into the station, they announced that the railway workers are having an industrial action (read: strike) and that some trains may have been affected. Cool. No problem. We figured we'd get as far as we could get and then we'd deal with any problems. We found the subway so we could transfer to the other terminal (so we could get to Bayeux) and as we waited, a woman asked if any of us spoke French. I said I did a little bit, and she proceeded to tell me that rather than waiting on the platform where we were, we could catch the train that was arriving in four minutes and going to the same place. And I understood all of that in French and managed to thank her. (I studied French in high school and almost finished a minor in it during undergrad, but it's been about 14 years since I have spoken a word of it. I was shocked I could do it again.) We found our train and arrived at the correct station.


And then it got a little hairy.


We couldn't find our train on the display at all, and the information office was closed. We figured we were coming up against the strike, so I tried to do what I could to see what we needed to do. Finally I found one tiny ticket office that was still open and managed to communicate with enough broken French to learn that our train was canceled, but that we could use our tickets to go to Caen and then take another train to Bayeux. We just barely made it on the train as it was taking off and found a few scattered seats. At this point I was completely shocked by my ability to make anyone understand what I meant/needed. But it was working. So as we pulled into the Caen station, I asked a woman in our car a few questions. And that worked too. Incredible.


Anyway, at the Caen station we had to figure it all out again, so I had a lovely (and very slow) conversation with a very HANDSOME and patient man at the ticket booth who said we could get on a train leaving in ten minutes. And somehow, we made it to Bayeux.


It is a huge surprise to me that I retained enough French to make this happen. But you can imagine that I was pretty happy it worked.


Bayeux is lovely. There's a gorgeous cathedral in the center of town, and it was spared by bombers in WWII, so it's adorable and old. This morning I spent some time wandering around by myself, eating my way through the medieval streets. It's a good thing I'm walking 5-9 miles every day, because I plan to eat every single pastry and baguette in this country. Holy moly. I have never tasted anything like it.


We had a later start today, which was nice because I didn't have to rush. We drove out to Mont St-Michel and spent the afternoon climbing up and up and up into what is the most unreal place I've been yet. Just gorgeous. And almost overwhelming. But the sun was shining and the sea breeze was blowing and it was not very crowded. All great.


Here are some pics from the last two days. Train, Bayeux, and Mont St-Michel.





Bonne nuit.




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