Aloha fellow Traveling Triplets readers! My name is Meghan Harrison
and I’m so excited to share some of the lessons I learned 
while traveling in St. Malo, France. This last April I traveled to Europe with my best friend Heather. We started in Paris (and sometimes I fear my heart is still there, walking around in the Louvre), 
and from there we headed to the west coast of France.

The original plan was to spend one night in St. Malo and then take the bus the next day to Mont Saint Michel, a chapel out on an island --- the ONLY reason we wanted to go out that way in the first place.
 We hopped on the train from Paris to Rennes, and then to St. Malo. We arrived in St. Malo around 8pm - it was still light out, and people were still milling around the train station. However, as we waited for a bus to take us to our hotel, we ran into a wee bit of a problem. And this is when we learned our first lesson in St. Malo: Listen to your gut instinct and get out of bad situations fast ---- even if this means improvising. At the bus stop, a young girl who smelled of smoke and alcohol sauntered over to me and began begging for money in French. I was a nervous, and all I could think of to say was, “Je ne parle pas francais...” she laughed and threw her arms around me, kissing my cheeks and saying, “Ah, mon cher!” Again I was a little thrown off, and awkwardly laughed. She pulled away and gave me a disgusted look and quite the rude guesture, making it clear what she thought of us tourists. We thought we were off the hook, but a few minutes later we saw her come back with two older, big men and a big dog. I immediately turned to Heather and said, “We should get out of here.” We started walking away, not knowing where to go. The group was starting to bother another boy at the bus stop, and when I saw a taxi next to the train station, we quickened our pace. We knew it was going to cost much more than a bus ticket, but also knew it was worth it to stay safe. The taxi driver was friendly and kind, and helped ease our worries after getting a bit shaken up.
 We stayed the night in a ghetto hotel, (not a hostel), Alpha Ocean Hotel. The room had no shower, and only a curtain separating the bed from the toilet (we made a “Only number 1 allowed” rule for the bedroom!). The balcony and the view of the ocean and the sunset made up for it. That night we ate at Creperie La Pergolina (3 Boulevard Chateaubriand), the only restaurant that was still open nearby. They had wonderful crepes, though we were clearly the earliest tourists the town had seen for the year.
 The next morning we awoke early, unaware that we were about to learn the second big lesson: Do your research beforehand.... We started looking for the bus to take us to Mont St. Michel. After struggling through several conversations with several different people (and learning that there was somehow no internet access in the entire city? Wha...?), we learned that there was only one bus to Mont St. Michel. And we had already missed it for the day. We would have to try again tomorrow, or pay 80 euros for a taxi - I almost did it. Can you believe that? I was almost that spoiled, determined, stubborn...or stupid. But we could do neither. I was sooooooooo bummed. I wanted to cry; I had specifically made room for this one side trip just to see this chapel and now I wasn't able to -- I felt I had wasted an entire 2 days for nothing. I know, lame. I was in Europe. In France. And I was whining. I made myself sick!
 So, I quickly dropped that poor attitude, remembering how blessed I was to already have seen so much, and how much I had to sacrifice for me to be out here. Heather and I figured out something cool to do in the city we were in. We discovered the third lesson: Take what we are given and enjoy it to its fullest, wasting no time, no bad energy, and no hard feelings. Things do not always go according to plan. And so that must mean I was where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there. I couldn’t let spoiled plans spoil anything else. We moved on quickly, and we figured out that St. Malo has some endearing qualities of its own - we just had to seek out the good, and we found it quick. Another lesson? Nutella crepes fix everything.
Lesson Four: Sometimes the best adventures are found by accident. We just started walking. We had no idea where we were going, or what the town had to offer, but we were determined to find something fun to do. We found a cute sidewalk market (where we got the crepes), Le Fournil De Cyrille bakery (where I had my first ever macaroon - heaven in a bite!), and, eventually, we stumbled on St. Malo’s Old Town.
In Europe, most major cities have a “new” part and the “old town” - which is mostly where tourists are interested in going. St. Malo was no exception, and we finally discovered where all the other tourists had gone, and why we felt so out of place earlier. The Old Town was walled, and Heather and I took our time walking on the top of the wall, viewing the ocean, shops we wanted to visit, and people-watching.
Since we were there in April, the weather was astonishingly beautiful and crisp and sunny, but not nearly warm enough to swim. If ever you go to St. Malo in the summer, I would definitely recommend swimming here. They built up stone walls to trap ocean water in, making a homemade, ocean-water-filled pool that gets fresh water in it daily as the tide comes in - complete with a diving board!
After walking the Wall, we started exploring the small shops, boutiques, and cafes within Old Town. It was quite cute. We found (apparently the only) internet access at MokaMalo, and we were able to book our hostel for the next night while enjoying delicious hot chocolate!

We also found Cathedrale Saint Vincent de St. Malo, a beautiful old church to ponder in. We remembered a lesson we had learned early on in our trip, Lesson Five: Churches are sources of comfort, no matter the religion. We always liked to find the churches in whatever Old Town we were in, and just sit for a minute or two, enjoying the peace and quiet and rest. We never felt rushed or in danger or on the defense when we were in a church. It was building that many individuals had pored their time, talents, heart, and soul into, dedicating to God, and as such, a sweet and comforting spirit was there.
We spent an unexpected day in Old Town, and were happy to uncover the enduring and charming qualities of St. Malo. We discovered that, even though our time in St. Malo was purely accidental, it was still an enjoyable time. Most of all, we learned that plans don’t always happen the way we think they should, but that all we can do is make the most of it and we will have some great memories to share later on!
Thanks for reading, and happy travels!
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2 comments on GUEST POST - ST. MALO, FRANCE

  1. I'd love to swim in a special little pool like that!

    I'm always so torn over the whole planning aspect of trips. Sometimes if you don't plan, you miss out. And sometimes if you do plan, you miss out on the spontaneous opportunities out there! Such a conundrum!

  2. Looks like a good time :) I love being in France especially Paris. It's one of my favorite cities :)

    xx Seph


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