The Beaches of Normandy Weekend: Part 5
Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
51Trip End Dec 21, 2013
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Before the mount was used for Christian pilgrimage, it was a place of Pagan worship. Jane didn't give us much information about that period of it's history, but i do remember her saying that the reason the abbey was built in that spot was because some religious guy, (i want to say Michel), was told by God that he was to build a temple in the spot where he found and ox tied to a tree
Satan challenged St.Michel to a castle building contest. I don't remember why, and I can't remember who was supposed to be the judge, but there was one. Whoever made a castle more beautiful would win the souls of the humans in the region. When the contest was over, Satan had built a fortress on a mount, and St.Michel, a chateau of ice in the forest. St.Michel was declared the winner, and then there was some deal where St.Michel wanted to exchange chateaux, so he got the fortress on the mount, and Satan go the ice palace. Well, come morning, Satan's ice palace melted in the sun, while St.Michel sat atop his fortress. From that point on, it was known that St.Michel was the to be worshiped at the mount, as it was under his protection.
During WWII, the fortress was occupied by the Germans, but, today, it is a functional abbey. I think that the only people who live there permanently are be the nuns, monks, and some of the shopkeepers. There are a few, small hotels on the mount, but i don't think I'd ever want to stay there; it's such a hassle to get there; plus, guests have to carry their luggage all the way up the hill
The day we were there was gray, rainy, and cold. Everything was wet, so climbing to the apex of the completely stone fortress was not comfortable, let's just say that. About half way up in a particularly crowded, narrow stretch, we passed an attractive, young priest chatting with someone. I don't know why, but whenever i see a younger, attractive man who has become a priest relatively early in life, all I can think is: What a waist of a man. Men should not be allowed to become priests until they're really old, so nobody commits any Deadly Sins, (like lust), during mass.
A little farther up the mount, there was, what seemed to be, a stray cat. A bunch of people were going over and petting it, and it seemed perfectly OK with all the attention; it must be used to it by now. Haley got particularly handsy with the kitty, and i feared she may steal it from the abbey. When we finally made it to the top of the mount, we stood at the doors of the abbey/ museum, huffing and gasping as if we had just made it to the top of the Mayan ruins and there wasn't enough Oxygen to provide for our lungs
The museum of the inside of the abbey was really interesting. The chapel was tall and ancient, and the grand halls were spectacular. Apparently, kings have stayed in the fortress and entertained foreign leaders in these halls. I'm all for learning new things, and having new experiences, but all in all, I was not a fan of the museum or the fortress. Besides the chapel, (warmed by the heat of fire), the only part i really enjoyed was a modern art gallery through the gift shop of amazing paintings and sculptures on the history of the mount and St.Michel.
On our way out, we grabbed some snacks, (crepes and ice cream) for our 5 hour bus ride home. Some of us grabbed dessert and dinner; of course we ate the dessert first. We had to take the shuttle back to the parking lot, loaded back onto the bus with Jose and Jane, and ended our weekend adventure by bidding "adieu" to the Northern French region that we had so quickly come to love: Normandy.