Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finishing France

Tuesday morning we caught an early train to Caen. The train ride was uneventful, though we did begin some of our wedding planning details which was fun, but tiring. (Guest lists are a bit daunting!) When we arrived we began to follow the directions I had written down regarding how to get to the hotel we were to stay at. Google maps had located the hotel for me and it looked easy enough to get to. Well, as some of you may know, Google maps is not always the most helpful tool. The hotel was actually a good mile further down the road from where the search engine had said it was so we spent a fair amount of time walking in circles trying to find a non-existent building. Eventually we did find it though.

We had planned to catch a bus to one of the D-Day beaches and spend the afternoon exploring a bit. Unfortunately that didn’t quite work out. Apparently the information I had was bad information and the buses didn’t run out of Caen, they ran out of Bayeux, so we were out of luck. It was however 1 or 2 by this point and the thought of taking a bus to the beaches, explore, and get back in the few short hours of sunlight that were left felt a bit tiring. That combined with the fact that we had gotten up ridiculously early to catch our train, we decided Caen was going to be a nice relaxing place and we would just explore the town a bit later on.

Caen ended up being one of our favorite destinations. We walked into town and got to enjoy the cute little houses and each others’ company while we tried to stay warm (it was quite cold and windy). We found an old gothic church that we were able to tour and really didn’t do much other than walk around. I had looked up a good place to eat dinner online and read about a local sandwich shop that also sold Potato Jackets. It sounded good to us and was in our price range, so we decided to try and find it. We were successful, but as we approached it we noticed that the logo for the “restaurant” (it was more of a fast food window you ordered from) was a clown – not Eddie’s favorite thing in the world. Despite that fact the food was great and the price was even better. We shared a large sandwich and a container of potato jackets for about the same price we had paid for one of our entrees two nights before! If we had had another day in Caen we would have returned for lunch and dinner the next day.

On our way back to the hotel we stumbled across another old church and a Christmas light display. It was beautiful and extremely charming. The moon was out in all its glory and it just felt like the perfect moment. We had some fun taking pictures and being silly but really just enjoyed the time together in the quaint romantic little town. If we ever make it back to France I imagine we will visit again and say hello to our clown friend.

Wednesday we left in the early morning once again and headed to Mont Saint Michele. We arrived easily enough but had trouble with the hotel service there. We arrived around 11 or 12 but couldn’t check in until 3, which was fine. When we asked if we could leave our bags the receptionist (quite rudely) told us we could leave them at the restaurant next to the hotel. We did just that, but it was quite funny as they just had us put them by the front door – not out of the way of customers’ view or anything. Strange.

We then walked into the actual little town which was a windy and cold trek, but we entertained ourselves by taking pictures and laughing at ourselves. We arrived at the town and explored quite a bit, visiting shops, taking pictures, and again, just enjoying each others’ company. We didn’t go into the large Abbey at the top of the island (as neither of us were particularly interested nor felt like paying the 9 Euro each to get in) but I am convinced that it was used as a model for the castle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It reminded me of it so much! This of course led to me singing random Beauty and the Beast songs for Eddie, which was entertaining to say the least.

On our way back to the part of town where the hotel was it began to rain, and not only did it rain, it was extremely windy so we were pelted with what felt like ice pellets the entire walk back. When we arrived it was only 2pm and the reception was locked and closed until 3. We were soaking wet and didn’t really want to sit in the rain, so we went to the restaurant (where our bags were) and each had a crepe (one that was more like a meal with ham and egg and salad and one that was a dessert style). Finally at 3 we were able to check in. It was a wonderful feeling to get out of our wet clothes and dry off!

Needless to say Mont Saint Michele was not our favorite destination. This was reconfirmed on our train ride back to Paris on Thursday. When the conductor came through to check our tickets he informed me that he had a problem with my rail pass. I had written my dates on the pass but because I wanted to make them perfectly clear I had written them in twice (on top of each other so that they were extra dark). The conductor confiscated my pass and said he would come back later. When he returned he was convinced that I had changed the previous date (the 2nd) from a 1 to a 2. There was nothing however that he could do about it since it was the 3rd and he believed that my three was a three. He then wrote on my pass that the 3rd was the last day I could use the pass and gave it back to me. I apologized to him for the trouble (since I had written the dates in darker which is what had sparked the whole controversy) and he took that as an admission of guilt. Basically he was just very rude to me and called me stupid and all this other stuff. I just brushed it off though. It wasn’t worth making a scene over especially because at his whim he could charge me several hundred Euro in fines just for double writing my dates.

We returned to Paris and decided to have dinner out that evening as well. We got some good food at a different restaurant near the hotel (the same one we had stayed at earlier) and then decided to call it an early night as we were tired from all our traveling. We did check Eddie’s flight information first, which was a good thing. We had both been thinking his flight was in the late afternoon, but when we checked we discovered that it was actually midday! That changed our plans for the next morning. So once again, we were up early and off to the train station!

We parted ways, Eddie for the train to take him to the airport, and me to catch my Chunnel to London.

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