July 28, 2012 “Wet in Carnac”

Lots of amazing things, at least amazing to me, have happened to us as we have scoured the countryside searching for lost places.  Before this rain really hasn’t been one of them.  Oh, it has rained while we’ve been traveling but I don’t know of any really good raining anecdotes.  We’ve had a little flooding, definitely snow, wind, cold, heat, bugs…but no really rain stories.  Well there always has to be a first.

As many of you know, and maybe some don’t know, I do research on megalithic ruins in the summer.  To maybe call it research is a stretch, as maybe it is just a hobby, but it is in the pursuit of scientific truth.  I have identified and found late stone and early bronze aged structures on many points of the globe including Belize, Malta, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark, to name a few as well as Canada and the United States.  Mostly, it seems islands and out of the way places that most people don’t go to.  Last year we were on Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

I have again passed this year on the potential to dig on a prospective pyramid in Bosnia, and due to the Olympics, we postponed Great Britain again for another time.  This year’s adventure brought us to the west coast of France to where some of the highest density pockets of stone monuments have been found. Specifically, Carnac in southwest Brittany has puzzled people smarter than me, and made for some interesting speculation from aliens to lost intelligence.

Many of the things we look at have very specific and sporadic visiting hours or they are just out in fields. We’ve had to literally break and enter some sites and one, in Bad Axe, Michigan, we found after a ten mile hike, locked up tighter than Fort Knox.  We’ve known both joy and frustration, as well as epiphanies and sore feet. We’ve had locals let us in with private keys.  We’ve found ourselves in people’s back yards, farmyards, and even crashed private parties.  Sometimes, even, we have found ourselves in the middle of awkward or strange circumstances.  We’ve come across odd rituals and behaviors both of some sort of religious nature and others of a more sexual kind, while others have been just strange.  A couple trying to control five Irish setters, near a dolmen comes recently to mind as something that was strange to us.  Seeing condoms on large rocks or women baring breasts for a photo in front of one of them, or Wiccan or Druid ceremonies (au naturel of course) has become a bit passé.

Yesterday, we were at Carnac.  It was Sunday and Sunday is French “museum day” for lack of a better term–the day in which the French take their families out and see France.  In September they even have “Patronage” weekend where everything is even free.  The Louvre and all museums have free admission for French citizens, etc.  Today, Carnac had tours.  On other days, the stones (and we’re talking miles of stones) are fenced and access is forbidden.  Of course the tours are in only French.  So for six Euros, we paid for our chance to get up close to this ancient wonder of wonders as short of hopping the fence, I saw no other way.

There was one large problem with this, and it wasn’t that we didn’t understand French.  It rained.  We are not talking about a little Atlantic drizzle.  This was big old fat rain, to steal a description from Forest Gump, that was nearly biblical.  I have never been out in such a downpour as it was clear that for the French families with us, rain or shine they were going to get their tour.  The guide came when the skies really opened up and let us in.  Luckily I had my camera in its waterproof case.  But even that only partially protected it.  Despite being unable to even hear her for the beating of the drops on my back and ground, the guide continued on for her allotted hour as we moved from drenched spot through puddles and soaked heather to another waterlogged location.  I wouldn’t have understood a word she had said anyways so I guess it didn’t really matter.  At one stage I watched a twenty something year old woman slip off her sandal and place her whole foot in a puddle up to her ankle as sort of a gesture of the futility of even trying to remain dry.

There were really little kids on this epic journey. None of them complained and for the most part seemed happy tromping around in the deluge and stomping in the puddles.  Puddles are cool, and kids are the same all over the world.  But you’d never see a tour like this in the states…never.  It was to last for an hour and it started exactly on time and lasted for exactly sixty minutes which was exactly how long it rained hard.  Coincidental?

They say they made the stone alignments at Carnac between six and seven thousand years ago.  There are theories that they represent deaths with more important people having the bigger stones. There are calendar dating theories, UFO theories, and others…maybe even a weather generating theory.  My wife has the theory that they made them as lane markers for a long race, either with horses or running.  I added the idea that they have bigger stones in places to allow for people to hide behind and either throw rocks at the runners or shoot arrows all to make the race a little more challenging and sporting for the slower runners.  The local people I assume wagered on the outcome.  Maybe the winners get an orgy in their honor and the losers…well they get eaten.  Maybe it is sort of an odd form of Hunger Games?   It is all speculation but alignments like these occur nowhere else and in some cases these are miles long.  “Silja’s Carnac Theory” hasn’t taken off quite yet…I guess it needs more research and less rain.

Stay searching my friends,

Olaf

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