Posted in Border hopping, Humour, Personal, Photo

Lost

Last week I did it again. I got lost on my way from work. The commute is only ten minutes when there’s no traffic. But that night, it was horrible. Cars slowed down in front of me, then came to a stop. And stayed put entirely. I only had a couple of seconds before I would be cornered -the lane was already flooding with other drivers who tried to find a way out- and forced onto the highway, so I decided to turn to the right. The car jumped into gear and took me into the shortcut.

Through that manoeuvre I found myself in a road I didn’t expect to find myself in. But hey, navigating is easy, right? I approximately knew the direction I had to take. Heading towards a roundabout, I decided to continue my straight course. At the next turn I took a left. My eyes were roaming the streets for landmarks so I could orientate myself, but to no avail. Right again, then left. It took me deeper and deeper into the residential area. Narrow streets, one-way streets. Little children on little bikes, swarming the sidewalks and road. Parents parking their cars and blocking my way. After ten minutes of following my built-in radar and getting nowhere, I surrendered and activated my TomTom.

While I waited for the satellites to connect with my little electronic guide, my thoughts returned to last week. Getting lost in the streets of a town is nothing. Getting lost in an English pub, now that is a new accomplishment of my nonexistent sense of direction. My V-man and I were having a very nice lunch. And, being in the United Kingdom, we simply had to have a very nice cuppa or two. Before resuming our trip, I decided to get rid of superfluous tea and visit the restroom. I had no trouble whatsoever finding it. To find my way back was the real challenge. When I came out, the place suddenly looked unfamiliar. Where was the lunchroom? Where was the entrance? Bewildered I stopped and stared, shaking my head in utter amazement. And resignation. A kind old gentleman asked “What’s the matter, love?” and I simply said “I’m lost. In a pub. Can you believe it?” For I could not.

In my defense though (the only defense I can artfully think of): the things one sees on the way in are not the same things one sees on the way back. I kid you not! But I rest this lost case. I’m missing some strange and mysterious ability and I will never get it. Lost. In a pub. I have hit rock bottom.

PS. I managed to find V-man that afternoon, and arrived at home safely. 😉

 

Posted in Border hopping, Personal

The Mearas are real!

That’s right. And if these legendary wild horses exist, then Middle Earth is real too! You only have to step through the megalithic portal of Saint-Claire and you can see, even touch them. I’m sorry, I have been watching Outlander lately.

After seeing Stonehenge in the UK twice, after walking amidst the menhirs of Brittany, I now longed to see the dolmen of Normandy. We found a detailed map and drove from our holiday address to La Chapelle-Biche, entering the Forêt de Saint-Clair from the north over the D810. We headed down towards Saint-Clair-de-Halouze and parked our car at the edge of the forest.

click on the photos for details

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There was no sign of the dolmen, nor directions, so we just entered the forest over a small path, made by the tracks of a John Deere wood tractor. It became clear that there were no standing stones, but at the end of the path was a meadow. And two beautiful faces watched us from under the trees. Mearas!

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V-man turned around and headed back the way we came –horses are not made of stone after all, and that’s what we were here for, right?– but I grabbed my camera and started shooting, while softly calling to the gentle giants. Soon their curiosity won over their fear, and step by step they came closer. I was enchanted and goose bumps rose on my arms, totally mesmerized as I was by their beauty.

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Though their manes were entangled and the mare had a big scar on her shoulder, their gentleness was amazing. I rubbed their cheeks, freeing them momentarily of the flies, and whispered how beautiful they were. I just couldn’t walk away. And all the while, V-man waited patiently further down the road.

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even now – weeks later – my eyes get blurry when I look at these photos ❤

We continued our path, in search of the megaliths. Well, ‘path’; it was more a faint track through the grass and bushes, over dead pieces of wood and mud. Small lizards, flies and bees were keeping us company.

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After making photos of every larger stone I saw (we had to come home with something after all), finally a wider trail lead us towards the dolmen, the huge boulders. No sign, only the forest and the stones, the sun filtering through the foliage.

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It is still not clear why and how the dolmen were created, but that only adds to the mysticism that is tangible in these places. I wandered around the stones, lay my hands on the cold surface and was quiet.

As icing on the cake, there was a tower behind the huge dolmen construction. It was as if I heard Saruman calling down.

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And around the corner, hidden in the green…

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… a mysterious wide stone with text on it.

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Can you read what this stone says? 

A constant buzzing let us know that somewhere nearby a colony of bees was foraging. A bumblebee even thought my shirt contained real flowers and took a taste with his long tongue – or whatever it was that came from his mouth. Before I could zoom in with my camera, it flew away. And so did we, but in our car. I was tempted to go back to the Mearas, but that would have been too much to ask of V-man’s patience.

Such a lovely way to spend a sun-and-cloudy morning in Normandy. Or was it Middle Earth?

 

Posted in Border hopping

Return to Le Mont St. Michel

Le Mont St. Michel rises up from the sea, like a fairytale from earlier days. It never fails to take my breath away, drawing ever nearer. And though the inside is much too crowded, loaded with tourists and fake souvenirs, one day I will return. Again. 

Copyright Marion Driessen