A Day at Mont St. Michel, France #TuesdayTravels #MFRWauthor

Tuesday Travel buttonAfter a long morning drive from Tours, we arrived at Mont St. Michel, one of the most famous sites in France, in late morning.

Mont St. Michel

Mont St. Michel

Rebecca and I had hoped to eat at a particular restaurant in the town, but our lunch stop took place immediately upon arrival, before crossing the causeway, so we ended up with ham and cheese sandwiches at a little fast food spot. Fortunately, they were good. We even had time for a little shopping before boarding the tram that took us over the causeway to the mount. When we got there, we followed Anne for a walking tour. Mont St. Michel is a marvel, built as it is on top of a mound surrounded by the ocean.

It was low tide when we got there, as you can see in thee photos below. The sands around MSM are extremely treacherous with quicksand in places. In the old days, before the causeway was built, people would walk or ride across the sand and some were swallowed up in quicksand. Others perished when the tide came in rapidly, as I’ve heard it can do.

It was a very warm day and the streets of the town were very crowded. We followed Anne up to a lookout where we could see the Abbey above or look out to sea or back towards the land. On one side is Brittany and on the other Normandy. The two provinces have argued over Mont St. Michel, but for now Normandy has won.

Admission to the abbey was not included in our tour, so some of us decided to skip it. Rebecca went with the group that toured the abbey, but I decided to pass. I hadn’t planned on sunshine and I’d dressed far too warmly for the day. It had to be at least 75 degrees, though it felt more like 80. The prospect of climbing more stairs to get up, then having to come back down inside the abbey just didn’t hold much appeal. Plus my feet were killing me. (A problem throughout the tour. Walking on cobblestones is really hard on the feet.) I wandered in and out of the shops and finally bought an ice cream cone in an attempt to cool off. Rebecca was hot and out of breath when we met up afterwards.

Mont St. Michel is an amazing place to see, but I was surprised that it didn’t call to me as I’d expected. I’m not sure why, but I don’t think I’ll be setting any books here anytime soon. I know the crowds didn’t help. I felt overwhelmed and a little claustrophobic at times. A cooler day and fewer people would have helped, so maybe I’ll consider revisiting at a different time of year. I’m glad I saw it though, as it is a unique spot and incredible to see. What an achievement in Medieval building.


Soundtracks: Music To Write By #MFRWauthor #blog Challenge

MFRW blog challenge badgeIt’s WEEK 7 of the MFRW 52-week blog challenge, and this time the prompt is Music To Write By. In my case that means movie soundtracks.

Why soundtracks, you may wonder.

Because I can’t write and listen to songs. I stop writing to sing along, and that gets me nowhere. My first choice of writing music was The Pachelbel Canon with Ocean Sounds by Anastasi. Classical plus New Age. Very soothing and mesmerizing.

Last of the Mohicans CD coverThen, when I was writing my French & Indian War novel, Rogue’s Hostage, I discovered the Daniel Day Lewis movie of The Last of the Mohicans. I didn’t just love the movie, I loved the soundtrack, too, so I got the CD and listened to it while continuing to write the book. I loved it! The moment I heard that music, I was back in that time and place.

From then on I looked for a soundtrack from a movie similar to the book I was writing at the time.

For Regency: Sense and Sensibility
For Science Fiction: Stargate Atlantis
For my Fairy Tale romances: The Mists of Avalon

Somewhere in Time CD coverAnd another favorite is the soundtrack to Somewhere In Time by John Barry, one of the most beautiful and romantic soundtracks ever written.

The only problem I had was with the one contemporary, Worth The Risk. I finally settled on the soundtrack for The Rocketeer, which has a score I love. The problem with most contemporary soundtracks is that they use a lot of popular songs. And then I’m singing instead of writing. Some of my friends can write while listening to songs, but it doesn’t work for me.

I have tried using classical music, but prefer soundtracks for the recurring themes that give the overall score a continuity.

At home, I listen to the New Age Soundscapes channel on my TV when I need to relax. What do you listen to when you’re writing or just relaxing?


Click on the linky list below for more Music to Write (or Read) By.