Rising up out of mud flats and salt water marshes as far as the eye can see, is a mountain fortress with spiraling walls and towers looming over the landscape. It is connected to land by a single bridge and causeway, the only access to the medieval city. Mont Saint-Michel, which at high tide, is completely surrounded by the sea, an island for half of each day.
I clamored out across the mud during low tide to investigate the surroundings. Large groups of children on school outings sloshed through the grey sludge in knee high rubber boots, following an adult on an exploration beyond the fortress walls in a muddy wonderland probably teaming with unusual creatures. My boots were not rubber, although they were water proof so I dared to walk out into the muds on top of the drier, more stable looking parts. I came across a chapel outside the walls, only accessible by walking across the tide lands or possibly by boat with higher water. It clings to the rocks below the forested slopes of the fortress above, where the cathedral spires peeked over the tree tops. The chapel perched on a natural pedestal, barely above the tide's high water mark. Slippery stone steps coated in algae and tiny puddles lead up to the locked entrance, inside barely large enough to fit ten people. A religious place isolated on an isolated island. Very peaceful and I'm sure for a sought after venue for a small wedding. I can imagine a bride having some difficultly skipping across the mud in a long white dress and high heels, so rubber boots might be on the required list of the dress code.
After my mud-fun-times, I went inside and found the stairs to the ramparts which wind further up, staircase after staircase to the top where the gothic cathedral sits with its many towers and spires, as majestic as any castle you can imagine. It is a setting out of dreams, where dragons and knights do battle and royalty watches from their stronghold above.
Seagulls soar around in the strong wind, squawking propositions at the tourists for food. I sit for a gallete and a coffee to do some sketching. Worth a visit for an afternoon.
Because I was sleepy, I missed a direct bus from Mont Saint-Michel to St. Malo, so I caught a bus to another bus to a train and finally arrived late in the night.
I ended up missing my ferry to the island of Jersey (the original) which is a great story in itself and I owe a lot to Emilie for putting me up on her couch for a night! Thank you! The kindness and generosity of strangers is beautiful, all one needs to do is take a step outside of the comfort zone, trust your instincts and verify that strangers you meet are genuinely good people.
Soooo, I had an extra unplanned day in St. Malo. I was able to do some thinking, sketching and exploring a forest above the ocean side. A truly beautiful place outside of the walled part of town. I was able to share a unique and enlightening evening with my unexpected host and new friend and the next day headed off to Jersey! All in good time. I didn't miss the boat this time.