Monthly Archives: October 2013

Mont-Saint-Michel from Saint-Malo Info and Photos

After seeing Mont Saint-Michel from the Cancale coast, I took the bus from Saint-Malo to an attraction I’d always wanted to visit the next morning. I already described it in-depth in my TravelThruHistory article, so I’ll just repeat it here, with additional photos interspersed within the article’s words.

Mont-Saint-Michel Day

I took the coach from Saint-Malo to Mont-St-Michel at 9.15 the next morning. It is the only bus on that route, and a 20 Euros return ticket is required. The journey takes 75 minutes, and with the return leaving at 15.45 you have about five hours at the Mont. You cross from Brittany to Normandy on the journey.

A chapel was first built on the island then known as Mont Tombe in the eighth century. Legend says the Archangel Michel appeared before Bishop Aubert of Avranches and ordered its building; Avranches is a town on the eastern edge of the bay.

Mont-Saint-Michel has survived fires and blockades over the centuries, with rebuilding and renovations increasing the size of the abbey to its present splendour.

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There were grey skies when we arrived, but the view was still spectacular. I walked up the narrow winding streets crammed with shops and tourists to the abbey gift shop, where you buy a ticket to enter the abbey and highest tier possible.

On the ascent, the causeway linking the Mont with the mainland stretches out to the south, between the grey silt of low tide sea and the green vegetation of natural land; dividing the bay arcing to the east and west. To the north there is only the abbey towering above you, crowned by a golden Saint. Michel statue.

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After the gift shop, the last few flights of steps are indoors, before you emerge onto the western terrace, with the cathedral towering above you, and the north visible once again.

People walking along the estuary silt looked ant-sized, and the bright emerald sea lining the horizon appeared incredibly distant.

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Upon entering the cathedral, I saw that a communion open to the public was soon starting, so I stayed for the hour-long service. After a monk rung the bells at midday, seven monks and nuns sang and spoke sweetly and serenely.

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Then I slowly made my way down through the living-quarters of the abbey: great halls, narrowing chimneys, giant wheels, cavernous stores and colourful gardens all connected by spiralling steps. It seemed like no time at all before I stumbled into the back of the gift shop, surprised at the sudden end to my abbey experience.

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Emerging once again onto the abbey hill, clear skies provided a contrasting view to the morning. The biggest difference was the Saint-Michel statue, which now gleamed in the sun against the blue background. I made the most of the time I had left, taking as much as I could in, before returning to the bus with five minutes to spare.

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (, and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (

Saint-Malo to Cancale Hike Photos

After a beach and relaxation day in temperatures that had cooled, but were still warm enough for sunbathing and swimming, I hiked to Cancale from Saint-Malo. I told the story in the travelthruhistory website article:

‘Getting itchy feet, I did a circular 20km hike to Cancale and back on the fourth day, crossing the peninsula to the east on the D355 road, walking along the coast on the D276 and D76, and returning west on the D155. Mont-Saint-Michel’s silhouette was visible from the edge of the bay, about 30km away as the crow flies. The sea shone green in the sun, justifying the coast’s Emerald moniker.’

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The photo of the working-women statue under a French flag in that article was taken in Cancale’s centre.

Saint-Malo to Cancale Hike

The photos below are also from the hike. La Havardière;   signposted among verdant vegetable filled fields; and Lake Saint-Suzanne were before Saint-Coulomb. The second photo is the church in Saint-Coulomb‘s centre.

The Jesus Christ statue was on the edge of Cancale. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the start of a sacrifice photo theme that I later made into a YouTube video:

Cancale Seafront Photos

Below Cancale’s centre is the seafront, with lots of restaurants and what you can see in photos 4-6. As mentioned in the article snippet above, Mont-Saint-Michel is visible across the bay.

I took a photo of it farther down the coast, after passing a quaint village and a ranch with a Texas theme; featured in the penultimate photo. Then I hiked back through Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, and went for another swim.

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Saint-Malo Beach, Fort and Old Town Photos

The next morning I left the F1 hotel for the Patrick Varangot hostel. There’d been no room at the hostel on the Saturday night. Then I walked down on the beach to the fort, and inside the city ‘s walls to its narrow streets and historic buildings. Dinard was visible across the mouth of the Rance estuary.

There is more description and some other photos in an article on TravelThruHistory.

Saint-Malo Photos

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France Travel: Dinard Airport to Saint-Malo Hike

My 25th anniversary tour started well over a year ago now, when I decided to visit Brittany, France in early September. I have a TravelThruHistory website article about the trip published already, so will just expand on it here, and use some more photos from each day.

Dinard Flight, Saint-Malo Walk

I flew from Leeds-Bradford to Dinard airport, and walked the 7.5 miles/12km to Saint-Malo. It was mainly because I’d read there were no buses (there is a bus between Saint-Malo and Dinard town, and then a short walk to the airport, which I did for the return journey). However, I also wanted to relive some of my hoboing from my first trip, when I did a lot of walking in France between lifts, although the hitching was excellent. It was also a beautiful day.

It was a nice walk over the Rance estuary. I passed a fallen fox early in the walk, and thought it could be interpreted as being symbolic of my travelling milestone; but knew it was really just an unlucky wild animal on a busy road.

I followed my written-out directions well until reaching Saint-Malo, but then followed a sign into Saint-Malo too early, and took a little while to find the F1 hotel on the edge of the southern half of town.

The consolation was that I passed an Aldi supermarket, and after checking in I returned there to buy some cheap strong beer, bread and brie; which I consumed under a tree watching the sun set on a sultry evening. There had been many such evenings on my first trip in 1987, although not usually with so much beer!

Here’s some photos from the flight and walk, which you can enlarge by clicking:








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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (, and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (

Antoni Gaudi Barcelona Sculpture Photos

On my last full day in Barcelona I visited the northern half of the city, having spent the  previous day in the southern half. It was my Antoni Gaudi day, as I first walked north to his Park Guell, on the advice of Hostel One, and then down to the centre for his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia. I then saw more of his work and that of other Modernisme period artists and sculptors in the city centre, where art and sculptures decorate walls and roofs.

Barcelona Parc Guell and Eixample Photos

At the end of the day I waited for the sun to go down on Placa Catalunya, which is considered the borderline between the Barri Gotic of my previous day and the Eixample area of Modernisme architecture I’d visited that afternoon. It was also my arrival point in Barcelona.

Sometimes as I returned to the hostel, the sun was at my side. Sometimes it was straight ahead. By the time I reached the hostel it was nowhere to be seen. It returned the next morning, shining brightly and warmly.

Looking Back at Summer

I wondered how much I’d see and feel the hot sun afterwards, after several disappointing summers in the U.K.

Although I think it is gone now, seven months later, it lived its 2013 life to the full.  It all started in Barcelona…

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There are more Marc Latham Barcelona photos on the Greenygrey blog ( Just search Barcelona on there.

There’s a Marc Latham Barcelona article from the trip on TravelThruHistory (

There are also Marc Latham Barcelona photos on emorfes (

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (, and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (

Barcelona City Centre Attractions Photos

After leaving Montjuic Park I headed down to the centre of Barcelona to see more of the city’s history and culture from the marina to Barcelona’s cathedral via La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter.

Barcelona City Centre Attractions

At the lower end of La Rambla is the Columbus tower, guarded by lions and decorated by angels. Below the tower is the Marina Port Vell, with lots of shops and restaurants. La Rambla is a nice street with quaint and designer shops, street entertainers and lots of tourists.

The Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) has more quaint and designer shops, narrow alleys, Roman ruins and leads to the official Barcelona cathedral.

There, the sun set, and a long day of sightseeing ended the way it started: with a stroll through Barcelona.

Here’s some photos:

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (, and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (


Barcelona Montjuic Park and Castle Photos

Looking through the Barcelona photos for today’s blog reminded me that I walked up through the majestic green area of Montjuic park and around the cliff-face to the castle before returning to the Olympic Stadium and finding the entrance.

Barcelona Montjuic Park and Castle Photos

Outside the Olympic Stadium entrance I saw the bell tower and got a photo of it with the Telefonica tower in the background.

Then I thought I’d take one with the Telefonica within the bell tower’s frame. After a few shots I took the feature photo for this blog, and the photo in full to end it.

As well as seeing the Telefonica clearly within the bell tower’s frame the sun shines through the tower while merging with the cloud above, and a bird soars between foliage below.

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (, and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (