Monday, July 29, 2013

Mont Saint Michel Part II: The Abbey

The building that gives Mont Saint Michel its distinctive skyline silhouette is the abbey. It's a church plus monastery and cloisters. A statue of St. Michael (once a patron saint of the French Royal Army) can be seen at the top of the abbey spire. The abbey has a fascinating history, including being used as a prison. With its strategic location on an island surrounded by dangerous tides and quicksand, it's easy to see why it's had so many uses over time.

Last week I posted some additional Mont Saint Michel photos. All these photos were shot on 35mm film during my 2000 visit. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France

I last visited Mont Saint Michel, the island fortification in Normandy, France, in the year 2000, while doing graduate studies in Bath, England. The third Jaya Jones treasure hunt mystery novel (that I'm currently writing) takes place in France, partly at Mont Saint Michel, so I'm excited that I get to plan a return visit. In the meantime, I pulled out my old photos, shot on 35mm film before I owned a digital camera. A few of my favorite old photos of Le Mont are below.

Dangerous tides and quicksand surround the Mont, which is why it was such a strategic location throughout French history. In past centuries, people used to have to wait for the tides to recede for a safe causeway to be above the water. A raised road was built, which has recently been replaced with a dam and small bridge. The castle-like structure that rises our of the center of the Mont is the abbey.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Gargoyles of Cambridge, England, Part II: King's College and Beyond

One of my favorite things about the old universities of Britain is the range of gargoyles peering out from their stone buildings. I visited Oxford many years ago, but hadn't explored Cambridge until this year. King's College is one of the university colleges featuring gargoyles with a lot of personality.

 When walking around downtown, if you take a closer look at the buildings, you'll often spot some gargoyles hiding high above your head...