Thursday, November 10, 2011

Saint Malo Church Encounter

The sun came out yesterday. Therefore, I walked and walked and walked some more. We hadn't seen the sun for 8 days. As a result, I rushed to get out to take resource photographs and do some exploring. I walked from 10 a.m. until almost 4 p.m. with only a small break for a bite to eat for lunch. No break was taken for the eating of an almond croissant that I had before lunch. That was enjoyed on the move.

Prior to the croissant, I visited the Saint Malo Church which was lovely. The experience was made more enjoyable as a result of my interaction with an elderly man. I encountered him before entering the building. I was fascinated with the Hebrew inscription on the exterior doors. While photographing the Hebrew, the man approached me unsteadily. He was walking with a cane but was very vibrant with life. He spoke something to me in French that I couldn't begin to understand and laughed gaily when I responded with my new favorite phrase, "Je ne comprends pas." I followed him into the building and was rewarded by the beauty that I found within. I love old churches, cathedrals and basilicas. This is somewhat inexplicable to me given my Jewish heritage. Always concerned that I don't offend anyone present to pray, I become very aware of any noise that I make in these buildings. So there I was, quietly taking photographs when the elderly gentleman appeared. He led me to the chapel with great pride. When he saw that I was taking pictures, rather than be offended, he indicated that he would turn on the light for me. He then asked where I was from. When I told him, he was excited to tell me that he had lived in Exeter for 7-8 years. I couldn't understand a word until he wrote it down for me. I still didn't understand why he was excited that he had lived in Exeter, only realizing after our interchange that he must have thought I was British! He then asked if I was Catholic?... non, Protestant?... non. Bear in mind, I had read how to say that I was Jewish just the night before, thinking all the while that my roots would likely never come up in conversation here. I mean, what were the odds? I still couldn't get him to understand me. I drew a Star of David which left him baffled and then I think that he finally got it. I explained that I loved cathedrals (in my pidgeon French) and he seemed to understand. Loving beauty is a universal language. The interchange was charming. Enchante.

Dinan is best enjoyed on a sunny day! I have included a photo of the interior of the Basilica and also of the gate to the city in the sunshine.

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