Thursday, August 28, 2008

Charting the Course

Day 170
I got myself up earlier than I had been all week. I just made it by about 20 seconds for the 8 am train to Paris. I then raced to Montparnasse train station and ran for a train to Chartres. A little over an hour later I was there.

Chartres is a small town with a massive cathedral. I headed right for it. Well, it would have been really hard to miss, it was the absolute biggest thing in town. I was a bit disappointed that there was scaffolding on the front, but it was still beautiful. Inside it was much like the other medieval cathedrals that I have been to. Several of the French monarchs were buried here, but I couldn´t seem to find their memorials. The cathedral dates back to 1230, but sits on the foundations of a much older church.

The stained glass windows were just amazing. They have whole books you can buy on them, I declined though. Even without detailed descriptions I still found them to be memorizing. The stone sculptures around the apse were also stunning.

One of the main reasons for visiting this cathedral is the stunning labyrinth built into the floor. I had been looking forward to completing it and was really disappointed when there were chairs all over it. I only got a picture of part of it.

I wanted to take a tour of the crypts next but it didn't start20for about 3 hours. I explored Chartres for a bit but eventually ran out of streets to check out. I then did the next best thing I could come up with, I ate crepes. The crepes in France are so wonderful, I don´t know what I will do without them. I also spent some time writing in my journal.

The crypt tour was quite possibly the worst tour I have been on so far. It wasn´t in English and I was given a piece of paper to read about each of the highlights. They were all numbered, of course, the woman giving the tour in French didn´t go to each point in the same order and I had a lot of problems trying to figure out what was what. She also talked a lot about everything. I had the entire paper read before she even finished going over the first part. I was getting very sleepy. I took some probably not allowed pictures when the guide wasn´t looking. The main relic down there was Mary´s veil. I couldn´t seem to find it though, so I don´t know if I actually saw it or not. The frescoes were quite nice, I just couldn´t understand what their significance was.

After about an hour th e group was lead outside and she began pointing to carvings. Th ere was nothing on my paper about the out side and I simply walked away. I didn´t want to be rude, but I was really beyond bored by the whole thing.

I slept for the entirety of the train ride back to Paris. At Montparnasse while I waited in line to buy a metro ticket the woman ahead of me got into a yelling match with the ticket guy. After a while a guy behind him came out and helped me to use the machine to buy a ticket.

Back in Langy I had another wonderful dinner with everyone and chatted with Eliane. I have had such a good time here, leaving will be hard.

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