The ring of the room phone ripped me from my slumber. Apparently our guide had taken it upon herself to set up a wake up call. I should appreciate it but mostly it irritated me. I’m a grown ass woman capable of setting my own alarm.
Got some breakfast and boarded the bus to Saint-Malo. This was another city I’d not heard of prior to the tour. It was a beautiful seaside, walled city. The guide walked us along the wall a ways, sharing interesting facts about the cities history. More than 80% of the city was destroyed during WWII. While many of the buildings were reconstructed in nearly the same way, you can definitely tell the new from the old.
Set free to roam the city I broke away from the group and went in search of food. As I walked down the street I couldn’t help but notice the group of 4, heavily armed, military police walking the opposite direction. I’ve gotten used to seeing them at train stations and airports, but it seemed odd seeing them walk down the street of this little tourist town. It wasn’t until that moment I realized we hadn’t been far from where 2 knife-wielding attackers had slit a priests throat. While I appreciate their presence I couldn’t help but wonder how effective it is in thwarting a potential attack.
I wandered through a few stores, wishing I wasn’t so short on space so I could buy a few things. Stopped at a shop for a quick Panini then continued to explore. I roamed the streets inside the walls then stepped out to get some pictures of the port and boats. I got back to the meeting point to find the couple I’d befriended had thought their wallet was stolen. He was on the phone frantically canceling he accounts while she talked to the tour guide about what to do. The wife continued to look through her purse to make sure nothing else was stolen as we boarded the bus. Within a few minutes she proclaimed the wallet had been found. Apparently he had put it into a pocket she hadn’t checked. That was a relief.
Our next stop, Mont Saint-Michel. Since learning about Mont Saint-Michel in junior high French class I wondered what it would be like to see this incredible island and abbey from across the bay. It was as awe inspiring as I imagined it would be.
After several attempts we finally found a shuttle bus with room enough for us all to pile on. It hauled us over the bridge where we got off and walked the rest of the way. Standing at the foot of the hill was quite a sight as well. It wasn’t until then I considered the work it was going to take to actually view the church. I was thankful the guide had a alternate route that kept us out of the path of the shops and window shoppers. She also kept a slower pace and made a few stops along the way. Whew! Made it without wanting to die!
We toured the public spaces and I was pleasantly surprised to find what I felt to be a sparse crowd. Lucky us! Again we were given some free time to browse the shops on the way back down the hill. I stopped for some water, a kouign amann (butter cake), and a post card. I found a quiet spot near the water to eat my cake and take it all in.
Back to the meeting point I was moved to another bus and taken back to Paris. We arrived in Paris around 9pm. I said my goodbyes and got the metro to the airport. I booked a hotel near the airport as I had an early flight. I thought getting the shuttle from the airport to the hotel would be easy. What I did not know or expect was there are multiple hotels with the slightest iteration of the same name. It took me hours of shuttles and 4 tries to find the location that had my reservation. I was super frustrated about the hours I had lost messing around with the hotel. Several more lessons learned to be added to my list.