As some of you know, I recently returned from the cruise of a lifetime, aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer. My husband and I had never been on a cruise and didn’t think it would be something we would enjoy. We like to fly to our destination and then drive everywhere, choosing the sites we are interested in. We have had some of our best experiences when we were in the middle of nowhere! However, one of our friends recommended we check out the Regent Cruise Line so we decided to give it a go. I have started to document this fabulous ship and our travels from the departure from the US, first to the Port of Southampton, UK, where we boarded the Explorer, a 6-star ship and the most luxurious ship built to date. We visited the UK, France, Portugal and Spain over the course of three weeks!
As we are hooked on photographing doors for Norm’s Thursday Doors, we will start with hubby’s first excursion after our landing in Saint-Malo, France, our first stop. We had decided to split up our excursions, since there were so many to choose from and we like different things. Hubby prefers to do the more strenuous activities and usually picks out anything involving a bazillion steps, jumping off something ridiculously high, (like paragliding over the French Alps) or hiking for miles to see something I don’t really want to see. I prefer small quaint villages and talking with the locals over a cup of coffee. So, we are doing our own thing for some of the excursions. Hubby chose to go from Saint-Malo to Mont-Saint-Michel, where he tried to take photos of doors. He quickly realized that taking photos when in a group of people is not as easy as lumping along on our own. Over the years we learned to get up early, or stay out late to get photos without people’s heads in them. But, we did our best! Over the next few week’s be on the lookout for our doors!
A few days ago I posted about the SeaCity Museum in Southampton, UK, which features the Titanic’s story from the crew and workers point of view and the effect of the ship’s sinking in 1912, on the city and it’s inhabitants. The experience was quite moving and I learned a lot about the lives of the crew, the day laborers (both men and women) and their families at this time. The museum serves as a memorial to the 1600 that perished that day. There was also a section in the museum dedicated to the new technology and regulations concerning ship safety from that day forward. I posted my first muster drill experience and on our first excursion into Saint-Malo we were tendered to shore in the ship’s lifeboat/tenders! We got to experience first hand, how they operate, how many people they hold, and the GPS and communication technology on them! So my first door is of the tender! The tenders feature a cover, a bathroom and is roomy with 80 people on board. There is also a sailor, who drives the lifeboat, no bobbing around or rowing! AND the best thing was getting in it, just walk out the door of the ship and get in! No hitching up your leg and throwing yourself over to be plummeted into the ocean from the top of the ship! That was a big relief for me! The tenders come in an assortment of sizes depending on what they are used for. Food and fresh flower arrangements were brought daily from the ports to the ship via tender, to name a few uses, other that ferrying guests!
The historic, walled port city of Saint-Malo is on the English Channel coastline of northwestern France that is called Brittany. This area was known to Roman troops as Less, Lessor or Little Britain, an independent, self governing province until 1532, when it was united with the Kingdom of France, as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown. To this day there is a strong tie to the English, as over the centuries this part of France was settled by the English and Celtic people.
Tourists were bused to a village on the mainland, near Mont Saint-Michel and then had the option of walking along the causeway over the mud flats at low tide or walking across the mud flats…….. What would you choose? If your visit takes too long the tide will come in and you’ll be staying at Mont-Saint-Michel for the night! Here’s the first look of Mont-Saint-Michel!
The original site was founded by an Irish hermit, who gathered a following from the local community. Before the construction of the first monastic establishment in the 8th century, the island was a strategic fortification. It is said the archangel Michael appeared in 708 to Aubert, and instructed him to build a church on the rocky isle, hence the name. The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers.
The commune’s position — on an island about a third of a mile from land — made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as the incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants.
In 1067, the monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel gave its support to William the Conquerer in his claim to the throne of England. This he rewarded with properties and grounds on the English side of the Channel, including a small island off the southwestern coast of Cornwall, which was modeled after the Mont and became a Norman priory, named St Michael’s Mount of Penzance. The Mont remained unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War; a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433. Louis XI, turned the Mont into a prison. Thereafter, the abbey began to be used more regularly as a jail. Let’s get on up there! Many doors here, but many closed up!
But, not this one! The first doorway and the start of a bazillian steps…………..
where hubby reaches the village, by way of the drawbridge.
And then ventures on through other archways in the village……………
The village has very narrow lanes and lots of visitors! All the quaint signs have a door to photograph. If it weren’t shoulder to shoulder people, hubby could get a great photo! You have to keep up with the group, oh no!
There are oodles of interesting signs, don’t you think?
And then there are more steps to go up to the Abbey……….
At the Abbey there are a few doors to see, with tourists of course!
And some more doors here at this entrance…….
To find the church has been nearly stripped of everything……..it was used as a prison, so that makes some sense, but what a disappointment! There were a few nice features……….
There are very thick walls ………………..
and a very small stone niche of Saint Michel was left untouched…………….
And then up to the very top to get the view of the countryside…………
And another view of the Abbey from a different angle…….
and another view to feel and see how high up you are ………and view the people who chose to walk across the salt marsh rather than the causeway!
And then……….. back down all those steps……….
to end the tour with an odd combination of statues! What are they? They don’t seem to fit in!
Well, I hope you have enjoyed our tender ride and the tour of Mont-Saint-Michel! Next week, we’ll see how I fared in the picturesque village of Dinan, a few miles inland from Saint-Malo!
This is just one of many photos in the Thursday Door Collection featured by Norm2.0! Won’t you join in or take a peak at all the doors? See you next Thursday with more doors!