Trip Start Jan 25, 2010
Trip End Jun 09, 2010

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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yesterday, we all dragged our butts out of bed at 6 AM (some of us earlier), to make our way to Cato to catch the bus to see Saint-Malo and Le Mont St. Michel. I was exhausted and forgot to eat breakfast in the morning so Mauricette gave me some pain-au-chocolat to go and Ayana and I piled into Jacques car to make our way to the University. 

I met up with Ashley, James, Chanell and everyone else out front of Cato's entrance to make sure that we could sit close to each other on the bus. We got on the first bus but Ayana had to sit on a different bus that was reserved for her (I'm not entirely sure why but when I tried to board the same bus, the woman said "This bus is reserved for Asia" (no joke). I sat next to Kalani which was cool since we got to talk and bond the whole trip. I had only met up with Kalani a few times before we left for France and it was mainly to talk about the horrors of getting ready for everything and about the French Consulate. However, since coming here we have gotten to know eachother really well and she really is one of the nicest people ever. We talked about random stuff the whole way and shared our music with eachother since we were both listening to our ipods as well. 

The trip to Saint- Malo took about 2-2.5 hours. M. Melin was on our bus (he's the president of CIDEF-- Kalani, Ashley and I get to eat with him every Tuesday for lunch starting this week) and he would tell us about the certain regions of France that we were driving to on the way to the city. He's pretty hilarious if I do say so myself. He made jokes the whole way there and I've decided he's one of my favorite french people. Also, side note, but we were in the Angers Football Team's bus, which was pretty cool. Occasionally people would beep at us since they thought that we were the football team which was pretty amusing.

We arrived at Saint-Malo around 9h30, and we were told we had to meet back up with the bus at 1h30 to head off to Le Mont. That gave us about 4 hours of free time to wander the city, which was a lot of fun. The city is a walled city and a lot of the buildings, houses and churches were destroyed during World War II so they have since been rebuilt, so there was a lot of history here which was pretty cool. This is one of the many reasons that I love France so much. Sure, our country has a ton of its own history that you can still see, especially in many of the big cities on the eastern side of the U.S.A., but it's different. Some of these buildings were here for hundreds of years. James pointed out to me that you can touch some of this architecture and its insane to think that 600 years ago someone touched the same rock or the same part of some wall. Also, the fact that you can see parts of the first and second world wars here is awesome as well. The wars were awful, don't get me wrong, but the history behind them I find so interesting. I can't wait to go to Normandy to see the beaches and the grave yard, etc. 

Anyway, we arrived at Saint-Malo and we walked along the top of the wall going around the city. It was a lot of fun-- many pictures were taken. When we found a beach we finally descended from the wall and went to the water. It was rather exciting, finding a beach. The entire town was beautiful because it was surrounded by the bluest water that I had ever seen. I had touched the Atlantic Ocean before, but not the Eastern part of the Atlantic. The whole town of serene and idyllic.

From here, we walked toward St. Malo's Centre Ville and found a boulangerie/patisserie and we tried the two well known cakes in the region Far Breton cake and Kouign Amann. The latter was like a cinnamon bun, without cinnamon (if that makes any sense). It was very sweet with a sort of glaze on it (sugar). The Far cake was of cheese cake texture almost and had dried fruit inside of it, either prunes or some sort of berry. Both were satisfying and I am glad that we tried both.

We then continued to walk around the town for a while and we finally ran into the cathedral, which was on my list of things to visit before we left the town. It was, in a word, gorgeous (although, most churches in Europe are). The architecture was beautiful, as were the stained glass windows. Its easy to see why the church was so powerful throughout the middle ages. Now, I am not a religious man by any means, but I understand the draw of religion. Theres a sense of security with faith and these churches were great places of worship. The church had answers, the church would offer help, etc. But these massive pieces of architecture were probably some of the most glourious things around at the time. It's quite humbling, walking into one of these churches. It makes your wonder how people were capable of making this 500 years ago. Today, theres really nothing that is built that can be put on the same level as some of these gothic and medieval style cathedrals. Sure, we have ipods, big flat screen LCD televisions, but these buildings were built hundreds of years ago, before machinery like cranes, plows, etc. Each time I walk into one of these churches I am dumbstruck. I like to just sit in a pew and look at it for a few moments and take it in.

The cathedral at St. Malo was destroyed for the most part during World War II, as were a lot of the other buildings. Therefore, after the war, there were a great number of renovations to this cathedral, but there were pictures of it before the war as well and it still looked impressive.

Sadly, after this we had to start walking back toward the bus as our time had come to an end. We grabbed some subs on the way back since none of us were sure when we would be able to eat again and headed toward the buses on our way to Mont St. Michel. Now, Mont St. Michel was beautiful, don't get me wrong, but it was very touristy. I think between the two, I preferred the idyllic atmosphere of St. Malo. Maybe it was the people I was with there, and the amount of fun we had exploring the village, but the highlight of my day was definitely the town (although I had a lot of fun at Mont St. Michel as well!).
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