Take the risks in life…walk on quicksand or take the easy way on the path!
Mont-Saint-Michel, St Malo, Brittany, has always been on my vision board, since purchasing a beautiful monochrome picture over fifteen years ago, so when the Ryan Air £70 return came through I was off. The challenge is to do a pilgrimage walk to the beautiful Cathedral set on a small island with warnings of quick sand. There is a recently built causeway but who really wants to take the easy options in life and miss out on the excitement- a Guide however is essential. Mmm!
"The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances. The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea"
Cont..From 966 onwards, the dukes of Normandy, followed by French kings, supported the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont-Saint-Michel. Vast numbers of pilgrims visited, despite warring cross-Channel royals. However, the ramparts at the base of the island were built to keep English forces out. Other fine buildings went up along the steep village street, now converted into museums, hotels, restaurants and boutiques for today’s tourists".
My day started with a disappointment as it rained "oh no" what about my pilgrimage. I donned my Poundland Poncho and with determination decided to at least walk the 45 minute causeway rather than get on the free shuttle bus.
The Abbey and its surrounds are truly beautiful but I still had that sorrow I hadn't done what I set out to achieve. I sat next to Jesus on the cross trying to get my YouTube to play Andre Rieu Amazing Grace for at least some 'soul searching'.
I jumped up and saw in the distance a group walking across the sand to the land. The sun had come out and nothing was stopping me. Off I ran down the winding stairs shouting 'pardon' as I stepped on many a visitor's foot no doubt. Jumping onto the beach I piggy backed their tour about 400 metres behind simply following their very muddy footsteps through some knee deep sea too.
Sadly though they started to head away from the road back to the bus so I had to bravado it and take my own route. Another group headed towards me in the distance and when our paths crossed they laughed but I felt a lot safer. Don't do this at home!
I arrived at the presumably safe grassland after another 20 minutes writing with my umbrella "I Did It"! I was exhilarated and thanked St Michael. It is not a case to me of believing it was simply 'why not' and 'who knows'?
Off to the bus and hit home but 'Oh No' this was the hard bit. I had come across quite dangerous marshland with tough dips and lots of sea inlets. I had to tread really carefully and do some serious risk assessment. However St Michael sent me an angel- a stick to help me along the way. Yes in the middle of a field with no trees I found a branch which I used to test depths, safety and move the nasty weeds out of my way.
Near to the causeway I met some sheep "Bonjour" I said "Baa" they replied. Gosh they speak English…Oh no there was a high wire fence all the way round blocking the road to the causeway. One more little miracle please Angel Michael I asked and a few metres ahead was a gap enabling me to throw my bag over and use the stick as a vault. My challenge was complete. I was satisfied more than I could imagine.
Later that evening enjoying a glass of red wine after a hot shower, I contemplated the day. The rash from my toes to my knees and big nettle lumps didn't matter. They would be gone in a few days – those memories will be with me forever.
Join us on our Long Weekend to St Malo in June 2017. Don't fear we have a qualified and experienced Guide. Do do it alone it dangerous as you can easily get stuck in the quick sand. Diane