The view of this place from afar is enough to take your breath away. We had plenty of opportunities for that as you can see it several times from the road as you make your way into the Cotentin peninsula. It is the stuff of myth and legend as well as history and this year is celebrating its 1300th anniversary. I was here 23 years ago on a day trip and mostly hung out as at that time couldn’t afford the abbey entry fee. Happily we don’t have to live like students, at least not yet, so toured the abbey and listened to the audio guide. We snaked our way through the various stages of architecture over the centuries, imagining the knights on pilgrimage partying in their large dining hall, and monks eating silently in theirs. Our favorite area was the cloister garden, as it was open air, a welcome splash of color within all that stone, and seemed to be a garden that floated between sea and sky. Irie had a special attraction to doors, trying to open them all, and if unsuccessful peeking through the old key holes. After the abbey we continued to snake our way through the charming, touristy, one-street village that is at the base of the mount. The tacky curio shops caught Irie’s attention immediately and she spent some of her money on a key chain (she’s announced she’s collecting them) that has nothing to do with Mont St. Michel--or maybe I just missed the puffy owls made out of rabbit fur flying around. Squeezing through the tiny passageways was a big hit and if I had spent much longer on the Queen Mary I would not have fit. The tide, for which Mont St. Michel and the surrounding area are famous, was out all day, so we ended the day surveying the sandy/mucky flats. We watched many modern day pilgrims, some on horse back, trekking to and from the mainland. We also saw a fox that didn’t survive the last tide. We managed to avoid quicksand though the stinky low tide zone gave a hint of memory of the draining of Diamond Lake.