• Joanna

On the Road Again…

Updated: Jun 18

For a country that has no food, it‘s still fairly impossible to lose weight here. When you do, by a slim chance, come across a place that might have something edible… AND is open for business, their fare is undeniably loaded with sugar, cream or flour. Now that the walking days of Paris are behind us, weight gain is a sure bet.

No wonder I’m bloated. My face is a chubby egg balloon.


In such a situation such as this, without proper nutrition, one might assume wine would suffice. Right?

Right.

Wrong, actually.


It might very well be true…should there be anywhere to actually buy wine and/or enjoy a glass… or 4… or 9.


It’s become aggravating beyond measure. My patience and tolerance has hit an all time low and unfortunately, my irritation is increasing with each locked door and growl of hunger. We normally will spend the entire day exploring, and when we are finally depleted, famished and parched, nothing is open to welcome the weary traveler.

At first, I blamed the international plague.

Fair enough.

Then I discovered restaurants don’t open until 7pm. Fine. I can work within those boundaries.

I watched my clock diligently… tick tock, tick tock… 7:00… 7:15… 7:30… and still, the villages remained hushed. The shutters remained boarded. The doors remained locked. Deserted.

I then turned my attention to blaming low season… until I heard of April being the start of the season. Well… April is here… the 1st has come and gone, yet still, I remain bitterly disappointed… and hungry.

Nothing Is open.

Nothing.

Not a bloody sausage. Sure… the chairs and tables are out, the open signs are on, the sandwich boards boast the daily specials… but the lights are off and the doors are locked.

I’ve gone full circle and now I’m back to blaming international plague. You know it’s bad when dinner is determined by gas station standards… settling on a plastic-wrapped ham sandwich and a Kit-Kat.


The beans and rice in Costa Rica are starting to be much yearned for, and a very cherished memory.


I had heard this country is known for its sophisticated cuisine…

I repeat, “…plastic-wrapped ham sandwich.”


We left our lovely Giverny guest house in the early hours of the morning. It was a delightful and vibrant little rooftop flat, and I probably could have relished in a few more hours of slumber, but our freedom was temporary. The bollards were guaranteeing imprisonment at exactly 9am… so we had to make our escape before then.

Why does this happen to me? How do I find myself in these situations?

Imprisoned accommodations. A lack of food. Clown shoes. Cheese-smelling purse.


Travel with me, they said.

It’ll be fun, they said.


Back out on the road… destination ~ Mont Saint-Michel.


It was a place I had pinpointed as a must see for a long time, but we had originally disregarded it due to time and distance. It wasn’t too far away… approximately 4 hours… but winding along narrow backroads, through a multitude of tiny villages, tends to be slightly longer than the major highways.


A four-hour journey, discussed over wine and good cheer, sounds like a lot of fun. A brilliant road trip, full of laughs, enthralling conversation and picturesque landscapes.

A four-hour journey, in reality… can be a nightmare. Meandering down narrow lanes, dodging potholes, squeezing past oncoming traffic, attempting to follow the purple directional line of the GPS while desperately trying to keep a keen eye on the road… all the while battling leg cramps, exhaustion and trying to remain somewhat alert in foreign land.

I made the decision to make the journey early that day, based on the current weather and our basic time frame… Although my sciatica wasn’t impressed, it was definitely worth the detour. The landscape was breathtaking, dotted with mustard fields, rolling hills, poplars with mistletoe balls and charming villages. Oddly enough, we managed to experience every season as we passed through the enchanting countryside; sun, wind, rain, sleet, hail and snow. We were just waiting on a tornado and frogs to fall from the sky, and our day would’ve been complete.


Whenever the weather happened to turn a miserable shade of horrendous, we would both have a moment of selfish sadness mixed with a touch of vacation regret… but it was temporary… and before long, the sun would be peaking through the clouds once again.


Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island in Normandy, famous for its stunning view, magical fascination and gravity-defying abbey. The World Heritage Site lies approximately one kilometre off the country's north-western coast and gains its historical importance as a medieval Christian site.

Aunty Lin was telling me a story about one of her online tour guides who apparently, quite recently, got trapped at Mont Saint-Michel, due to high tide. I don’t really understand why he didn’t just use the bridge, but what do I know? Perhaps we’ve landed in Brigadoon once again.


Life is a mystery.


Anyway… as luck should have it, we did not get stuck, high tide or low tide. There are no cars permitted on the island… well, not our car anyway, so we had to jump on the free shuttle in order to access the rocky islet.

With uneven cobblestones, narrow passages, steep staircases, and a total of 350 steps, Mont Saint Michel could be quite daunting, yet despite the uphill battle, Aunty Lin was determined to see the Abbey.


However, Abbey exploration was far from my list of priorities, and I chose to forgo the experience. You’ve seen one church, you’ve seen ‘em all! When I was in Ecuador, I made myself the solemn vow of “no more churches.“ I was completely done with Catholic Church contribution. From what I hear, they seem to be doing ok without my irregular and minuscule donations.


I took off for some ‘me’ time, and found myself wandering through a buffet of souvenir shops, hotels, patisseries and restaurants. OPEN patisseries and restaurants!


Someone pinch me!

Finally… food!!!! FOOD!!! Was it a dream?

It was phenomenal… almost entirely unbelievable. I wanted to reach out and touch the food, just to convince myself it wasn't my mind playing tricks on me.


Of course, I wasn’t even hungry, and had set my sites higher than nourishment. I wanted coffee, wifi and a toilet… in that exact order. Food didn’t make the cut, although it was unusually readily available. Had I been thinking straight, I might have stocked up… Too late smart.


I got my coffee. I also found a medieval outhouse, not so luxurious, but fitting for my surroundings. Wifi… I was not so lucky.

I could get daggers and sling shots and guns… but no wifi. A true historical jaunt.


The entire “downtown core” of this quaint tourist community was so magically embellished… every detail was beautified to the point of pure wonderment. It was almost bewitching.


VERY happy to have made the trek…

From Mont Saint-Michael, the next leg of our journey was to our hotel in Arromanches-les-Bains. Northbound… and two more hours in the car.


Ugh…


D-Day beaches… here we come…

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