Friday, 15 February 2008

Mont St. Michel at evening high tide

As night fell, the tide of tourists slid back out the gates of Mont St. Michel, and a wonderful quiet enveloped the city. What a joy it was to be in this walled city in February, when there are very few people spending the night inside.

We headed to the northern most wall to watch the tide come in. Curiosly enough, we heard the tide approaching before we saw it. We cupped our ears and heard the sound of waves breaking, and the sound grew nearer and nearer. We began to also hear the calls of seagulls, who, my husband guessed, had been advancing with the tide to catch some fish there were caught in the rushing waters. There were at first about seven other people out there with us, then three, and then just the four of us. The fortress was ours for the night. The stars in the sky were fabulous.

Once the tide did come in, it was indeed "galloping" as Hugo wrote. We raced the tide to the front of the walled fortress to see the water approaching the front gates. The kids had a great time watching how high the tide got, just passing the opening of the front gates. The water had gotten so high, it covered the pedestrian bridge that normally allowed it's users to stay dry. Many people jumped over the puddle, or were carried by their partners. Soon, it was too deep to cross. I took pride in telling the people that the tide was just about at its peak and the bridge should be crossable in about a half an hour. And then we discovered another exit which we revealed to people who thought they were stranded.

Hungry, thirsty and tired, we ordered onion soups and a plate of frites to top off our spectacular evening. I waited behind to pay the bill and walked back through the deserted streets. What a special night.

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