Night Location: St Malo, France
Song of the Day: Somewhere over the rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Mumisode of the Day: "I could whip this up at home. It's just froth on the plate!" This was said with reference to the famous omelette, now infamous.
This morning we woke up and found ourselves and our small fortified city in a thick blanket of fog. Gemma awoke to the sounds of two ferries using their foghorns to navigate across the sea to the Channel Islands. The fog gave the ramparts a completely different perspective. If you were approaching the town from the sea, it would definitely look very imposing looming out of the water.
Before we set off for the day, Gemma and Amber faced the very grim task of cleaning out the car rubbish bin. This is a warning for all those that may follow, not to rely on the cleaning services of Europcar. When we picked up our car in Cologne, Amber had commented that the bin had not been emptied. She did not really investigate further, and we made a note that we should empty it at some stage. Getting into the car this morning we noticed that it had a very strong smell of something awful. Amber immediately realised that it must be the bin and on further inspection we found a McFlurry container complete with rotten ice-cream. It was not a pleasant experience to clean that out. Amber almost vomited at least twice in the process.
Sadly, this was not the only occasion of the day where Amber almost vomited. Our day trip from St Malo was to the famed Le Mont Saint Michel, a fortified abbey on a small tidal island not far up the coast. The island is famous for its traditional thick omelette and Dad had been wanting to try these for some time. As usual, the island, being France's second most popular site was full of people. We wound our way up the small narrow street lined with souvenir shops and cafes and stopped in a restaurant where we saw 'Traditional Omelette' on the menu board.
All was going well until we opened the menu inside and saw that said 'Traditional Omelette' was going to set us back 18 Euros. A little alarmed, we settled on a menu that gave us a salad and a dessert for an extra 4 Euros and sat back to await this culinary experience. What an experience it was. On first appearances, all looked well, but on closer inspection, the 'Traditional Omelette' was really just a big pile of impressive egg foam with a small amount cooked through around the outside. It looked and tasted like it needed a few more minutes on the stove. Mum was quite unimpressed and commented that it was "Just froth on the plate!" Amber was even more unimpressed and thought that she would vomit. The chips were her saviour. Even the mention of egg for the rest of the day would turn Amber's stomach.
David had never been to the abbey before, so after lunch the children joined the massive queue up the stairs. It is such a difficult place to describe. It has been built and remodelled over many centuries. It is surrounded by tidal flats, and twice a day the island is completely cut off by the sea. When the tide is out, people go walking on the sand. You would get a magnificent perspective from the sea side of the island.
The fog had well and truly lifted by the time the children reached the top. A brilliant blue sky stretched above, and so we found ourselves on top of the world looking far out into the distance across the tidal flats. The abbey church was filled with light as the sun was just starting to hit the stained glass windows. The grand hall has fireplaces that are so enormous everyone can comfortably stand in them. You can just imagine the monks that once inhabited this place: such a place of solitude, and perfect for learning, meditation and prayer. All in all we thought we had been up and down about 900 stairs during the visit and so we stopped for refreshments at the bakery as the egg froth for lunch had not sustained us for very long. During this time Mum and Dad had been exploring the ramparts and gardens around the bottom of the abbey.
Before returning to St Malo, we stopped at the museum that holds the books constructed by the monks of Mont St Michel hundreds of years ago. They now lie in a dark room where people crowd over them and just stare at the intricate letters and illuminated pages.
St Malo was just bustling with people in the evening. After a short wander in the streets we headed back to the ramparts and saw the sun setting over the water. It is just a magical place. We returned to our favourite creperie for dinner and ordered pretty much the same thing. Not very imaginative, but so good!