Blogs from Lourdes, Midi-Pyrénées, France, Europe

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Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes May 13th 2013

An early start, always helps if you read your watch correctly! Ian had pretty much packed everything by the time I had showered and sorted the mammoth out. With 258KM of road between us and our nights stop, we set off through kilometre after kilometre of Vin Yards, they seemed to go on forever. Through forests and finally through windy roads we could see the Pyrenees in the distance. Woolly says – My first really big mountains, I’ve seen Snowden and a few others but these provide the border between France and Spain, they looked incredible, no snow in sight but I’m sure we’ll get to that. Pitching up at Camping Arrouche in the foothills of the Pyrenees and within a kilometre of Lourdes, we had a stunning setting for the night. The lady in the ... read more
St Bernadette's Church
Front view of St Bernadette's
Stunning Decorations

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes April 26th 2013

Lourdes. Continuing westward on Friday morning, we entered the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains south of Toulouse, which mountains define the border between southwestern France and northeastern Spain. There were serious melts of snow in the mountains and the rivers flowing northward were in heavy spate. The Riviere Gave de Pau was in flood through Pau, to the west. The weather was quite cool and a misty rain was falling as we entered Lourdes, city of Sainte Bernadette. In 1858, a girl named Bernadette claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary – Our Lady of Lourdes - who directed her to a natural spring that arose in a small grotto at the foot of a hillside. This grotto and spring are said to possess miraculous healing powers and they are visited by millions of tourists and ... read more
The Grotto
The Sacred Spring

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes July 21st 2012

What better time to update my blog than a 6 hour train trip from Lourdes to Paris. So I left off in Beaune just about to join my group. In the drive from Beaune to Geneve airport (where i dropped off car number 2 and was picked up for the group) was incredible and I got to see 2 of the things I wanted to in France, a field of sunflowers and a tunnel that went straight through a mountain. The drive is absolutely stunning with some gorgeous countryside with sunflower fields dotted throughout and as you get closer to Switzerland and the Alps it opens up into these beautiful gorges. So you drive through a tunnel in a mountain and come out to look down over these huge lakes and rivers. I'm quite sure many ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes July 5th 2012

Well, here I am again after the slowest of blogging starts. I am slowly trying to catch up although I must say that Jeanette probably took the best pictures with her fancy camera and none of them have yet been downloaded to my computer. That will be done when we return to Calgary unless I make an attempt before that. We are about to leave Lourdes where we spent the night and head for Carcassonne, the medieval walled city, via Toulouse. It was an unexpectedly wonderful evening as we attended an extraordinary event. We first visited the Grotto where Bernadette claimed to have had visions of the Blessed Mary, mother of Jesus. She was since made a saint after severe scrutiny from the Roman Catholic Church. Lourdes in one of the foremost pilgrimage sites for Roman ... read more
Photo 13
Jeanette at the Trevi Fountain, Rome
Inside the   basicilica in Monte Casino

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes March 28th 2012

Hi all, Day 4. Made it to the foot of the Pyrenees. In a campsite south of Lourdes surrounded by mountains, simply stunning. The views take your breath away. The weather is still fantastic, beautiful blue skies and very warm. Rays broken out the shorts but Gill is still in GB kit. Owner of the site has given us bad news regarding our route over the mountains 3 passes are closed for repairs and snow. We now have to back track a few miles to a major road and take a long tunnel. That will stop the views, never mind perhaps they will be open when we return. Our progress is somewhat slow as we are not using any motorways, but we think you see more of the country you pass through. We still have 6 ... read more

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Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes November 14th 2011

I was getting into the swing of things, I really was. I was taking the bad with the good and enjoying everything I could. I was befriending strangers and hiking foggy mountains. I was sleeping on trains and feasting on unrefrigerated cheese. I was making plans and treating myself to excursions. I was caught by surprise by the half-way mark of my Adventure and worried that two more months wasn't enough. Sweden, Norway, and Finland werer beautiful, and Berlin was fun, and then-- I don't know exactly what happened. It's like I tried to sweep a tablecloth out from underneath a setting of dishes but didn't get it quite right, so all the dishes went crashing to the floor. It might be that I started to get too comfortable, formed expectations, and had those expectations smashed ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes September 2nd 2010

I am officially in the Pyrenees, after what was a comparitively simple day of skirting the North side of the real mountains for 95 miles. Having set off from Bayonne at just before 10, I immediately found myself going up a pretty steep hill surrounded by farm animals, which I hadn't really counted on. This was short lived as after a couple of miles I was heading back down which was was to be a recurrent theme throughout the day, a small taste of things to come no doubt. One thing I will say, is that the bugs in this part of the world are terrifyingly large. I swear something the size of a kitten landed on my leg at one point; my high pitch squeal seemingly scaring it away. Slight exaggeration, however it did scare ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes July 13th 2010

Stopped at Casteleret on the way to Lourdes. They were having a local Saturday flea market. Bought original oil paintings from the local artist, murano glass, and rosary beads for Lourdes. Lourdes was packed with people visiting this holy site where Bernadette saw the vision of Mary. Cart after cart was brought in of the ill visiting the site. We arrived just before mass so were able to talk with some of the priests (only in French though) and attend a little. At the holy spring, people were filling jugs, drinking, and washing with the water. There were candle after candle of prayer candles burning. Cauterets is a little ski village in the Great Pyrennes. There were hikers and rafters there that Saturday afternoon. We walked around the village and sampled the local food. A raging ... read more
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artist at the market

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes November 5th 2009

I went to Lourdes because I wanted to visit the caves and to a day tour to the Pyrenees as mentioned online. However, when I arrived these (and nearly all other attractions) had closed 4 days before I arrived. Apparently 'through November' doesn't actually INCLUDE November. But that's okay because it was interesting eing in a tourist town when there are no tourists. Usually people flock here on a pilgrimage to see the Grotto where Saint Bernadette supposedly saw 'the immaculate conception' appear to her eight times. (I find it astounding that a whole towns prosperity and trade is still based on a story told by one little girl centuries ago). After the 31st of October this place has no spirit to it. Its incredibly quiet, even during the day until about 1pm. I did get ... read more
Lourdes
Lourdes Castle wall
Inside Lourdes Castle

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes October 8th 2009

Our original intention was to have a very short driving day to Pamplona, stopping at a couple of Rioja towns in the process. But after a chance remark about Lourdes, we looked and saw that we could detour through France, see Lourdes, and proceed through the Pyrenees, seeing Andorra on the way (we realized it was unlikely that we would get another chance to visit that country). It meant visiting Pamplona without spending the night, but that turned out to be a good choice. We started our day with a tour of the Marques de Riscal winery. Our hotel was the luxury hotel on the grounds of the winery, designed by Frank Gehry (designer of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum). The tour was entirely in Spanish, so I did not understand a word of it, but Lucie ... read more
Small produce shop in LaGuardia
Last straightaway before bullring in Pamplona
The grotto at Lourdes




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