Pauline, Roger, Clémence, Praline---le chien---and I pile into the car and off we go on a road trip to see the Mont Saint-Michel, one of the most-recognized and most-visited tourist spots in all of France.
The Mont is an abbey on an island just half a mile or so off of the coastline. When the tides come in, the walkway to the Mont is covered, and the island is inaccessible by foot; the tides go out, and it’s an easy walk across. Approaching the Mont St. Michel is one of the more intimidating experiences I’ve had in my seventeen years of life. After all, I grew up in Ohio. It’s rare to see something so old.
After a tour of the abbey and a lunch of omelets and mussels at one of the overpriced restaurants inside the Mont’s walls, we escape from the crowded, narrow paths out onto a platform that offers a view over the Channel.
As the four of us are huddled together and buffeted by the sea salt winds, Roger starts to explain the tides to me---or at least I think he does. Originally from the north, Roger has an accent that is difficult to understand even for native French speakers, much less me. In addition, he is the proud grower of one of the largest moustaches I have ever seen in person, grey and bushy and curled up at the corners. It’s a thing to behold, but it muffles his speech. After a solid 15 minutes of me nodding and pretending like I know what he’s saying, all I’ve gotten is something about sheep and salty grass. I even have to look up the word tides when we get back to the car.
Roger, however, is satisfied that he has imparted some knowledge onto me. And I am more certain than ever that people are very hard to understand.