Daron described this perfectly when he said it ranks among his top 5 things he’s ever seen. This abbey-fortification was begun back in 700AD.. it stands on this lone island out in Normandy… driving out to it is quite breathtaking. (Wikipedia detail: The island has been a strategic point holding fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD it became the seat of the Saint-Michel monastery, from which it draws the name. Current population on the island: 41.) Luckily we went in the morning before all the throngs of tour buses got there. The tide was in when we arrived, and by the time we left, attendants were parking cars where the water had been, but the tide went out. Crazy! Good thing they know the schedule of when the tides go in and out or cars would be floating off to sea. Stephen kept exclaiming as we walked thru the Abbey that perhaps aliens came and helped the monks build it… how else could they have hauled those huge stones onto the island back when there was no causeway? Lovely stained glass windows, huge arches, and just a gorgeous old ancient feel.
The cute little cobblestone walkway up to the Abbey was just like Harry Potter's Diagon Alley...
Driving back home the 12 hours was delightful… delayed just a bit (2 ½ hours) by Dad accidentally putting unleaded fuel in his diesel-only rental car ~ resulting in the local French roadside assistance duder who came and happily siphoned the gas out of Dad’s car (for a small fee of $200) … hey, what a fun little surprise on our trip!
The gas mis-hap was so timely, after just passing a car that had crashed and turned upside-down on the road. We are feeling so grateful that we haven’t had any accidents, and that we’re having a great time. Stephen said the sweetest prayer of gratitude (“we know not how indebted we are to You for keeping us protected as we drive”) and we had just read an amazing Ensign article “Make Yours a Great Life”, about how our futures are determined not by our conditions, but by our faith, our choices, and our efforts. That we all have challenges to live thru, but we determine how we’ll go about being successful or not – look at Mary with raising the Son of God in such a turbulent social climate – and Moroni and Mormon watching the destruction of their people, but still rising above it all to fulfill their destinies… Joseph Smith overcoming persecution and obstacles in his life to achieve what he did. All such great examples of how we never have cause to complain about anything when people all over, past and present, can and do overcome incredible difficulties to achieve success. So yes – the gas mistake was just a minor little thing in the grand scheme of things. I’m grateful for a loving Dad who has the heart of a child, and just floats thru life being happy – that’s a great example to me.