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Published: August 4th 2008
ok this may be the longest possible blog entry in history so im going to break it into two seperate entries
all regaling my impromptu pilgrimage to the third most religious site thats visited on earth...Lourdes, France
so i decide on thursday night around midnight that i would like to take a vacation cause i have a week off school. but wherever shall i go? everyone was going to paris but i promised nicky i would wait for him to go there...enter thoughts of parading around euro disney like a small child for countless hours...
i've heard some pretty cool things about Lourdes, i think to myself. i'll just go there, i mean, it cant take any longer to get there then it does to st tropez. st tropez from anger = 13 hours on train...
so i by a ticket and book a hotel and nestle into bed for an exciting day awaits me.
12:30 i get on the first train. its a 2 hour jaunt to nantes. its not bad, its not great, but it goes by quick as i am mesmerized by the scenery.
then i get on the train from nantes to
except they over sold the train.
and guess who doesnt have a seat cause she bought a cheap last minute ticket online.
for 3.5 hours i sat on the floor of the train right beside the door with the following people squished in beside me:
1 - new born baby and stroller who shit itself 3 minutes into the ride
2 - creepy travelling boy who was reading my book over my shoulder
3 - crippled woman who couldnt stand, so had to lay flat on the floor, taking up 50% of the space. why couldnt they find her a seat?
4 - creepy older woman with black roots and gray hair with teeth drastically affected by years of smoking and lack of oral hygiene.
so needless to say when i finally got to bordeaux i was tempted to kiss the ground i walked upon.
but i didnt, i got a seat on the next train.
right in the middle of a group of small young boys...boy scouts to be exact.
then one of them decided it was cool to smash a glass pop bottle in his eye.
yepp. your a cool one. i bet that scars gonna be
fun to explain when your older.
"oh hey i smashed a pop bottle in my eye when i was like 6 and it went everywhere, and we had to stop the train cause my eye was bleeding or whatev, no big deal. im a tough guy"
...so i moved out of that car quickly and impatiently as my nerves wore thin on hour 9.5 of the train journey.
i sit in an empty seat and all seems normal when this greased up hippie travelling man turns around in front of me to ask me a question and he has a giant booger sticking out of his nose.
if theres one thing in life that grosses me out more than anything else, its facial bodily functions.
i nearly threw up.
anywhooo 12 exhausting hours later i arrive in lourdes.
i exit the train station and find a town map. my hotel looks like its just down the street but after walking around for like 40 minutes...i decide i have just encountered yet another important life lesson and that is to just take a cab.
so i get in the cab and the guy takes me on this huge journey to my hotel cause u cant access the bridge its across by car...great infrastructure.
and as we are driving i start noticing that the streets are bustling and alive at almost midnight with hundreds of people shopping!!!
this is odd cause usually around here the shops close at like 7 at the latest.
this is my kind of town i think.
until i realize that its just row after row of souvenir shops.
now, i know i come from halifax, which likes to live up to its tourist destination slot and slap its name on almost everything from rocks with googley eyes to bottles of sand...but i have never seen such an exploit of jesus and mary as i have in Lourdes.
THERE FACES WERE EVERYWHERE!!!!
the crown and glory of course is my new lighter which reads "Jesus is thinking of you" with a huge picture of jesus on it.
i just couldnt leave that one behind...ohhh dear
also they had bottles of Orangina, with the nativity scene painted on it.
so i get to the hotel and its dingy and gross and my door is covered in a substance that is not quite cordouroy, not quite carpet...but it looks like u could either wear it or walk on it.
omg and the nightman, seriously was the man from Pyscho. i half expected his mother to start yelling obscenities as he gave me my room key.
seriously, he was all nervous and jittery and angry when i didnt understand something cause i was staring at him so hard. i have to learn to hide that better...
either way i just went to bed that night after watching a great rerun of "urgencies" aka ER
the next morning im super drowsy as at 8am the maid walks into my room without knocking and im obviously still in bed as i have no watch.
but whatever, i decide to get up and on with my day anyways.
so my first stop is the fortress of Lourdes. which is basically a mini version of our chateau here in angers. and i hate to say this but the only thing in there worth the 3euro was the view from the top. ohhh and the mini village they made in the garden.
there was also a room full of dolls. the italien boys in front of me didnt spend a lot of time in there as it was terribly creepy.
so after the chateau i walked along what is known as the jubilee trail and it takes you to the four important stops of Lourdes.
the first being the Basilica where Bernadette (the girl who saw the immaculate conception in the grotto) was baptized and where she took her oath to become a nun.
this basilica is absolutely gorgeous. i kind of snuck in during mass so i took a bunch of pictures and left quickly but honestly i was in awe.
then i doddled along the trail to the piece de la resistance...the grotto and surrounding area.
this is hard to explain without a picture but ok its basically a castle turned into 5 different churches with mosaic art works everywhere that take your breath away they are so beautiful.
it even has a big gold crown in the middle of the stair case to the top church.
so i went to all 3 churches inside and took a ton of pics again except this time i accidently walked in at the beginning of mass and they shut the doors behind me!!!!!
so there i am, stranded, in the middle of mass. and not only do i not understand whats going on because im not catholic, but its also the daily mass given in italien.
so i slouch down in the pew, surrounded by people praying and singing in italian. and theres no books or anything that tell u the words. they just know. so im standing there mouthing words like im singing so as to not look like a heathen. anywho. it was interesting.
as was the nice older gentleman beside me because at one point i think you were supposed to turn to your neighbor and say something like peace be with you, but he turned to me and planted a huge sloppy kiss on my cheek and said something in italien...this is when i shoved down the pew to the other end and slid out the door.
after that i saw the crypt which was the original statue made in honor of the immaculate conception, very impressive.
the nuns seemed to like it.
then i walked along and found myself in a line up to see the grotto.
or so i thought.
i just wanted to get close to it, like and see it. i didnt know there was a bishop there to pray with you...which is why it took like 2.5 hours in the line.
so i get there and notice that everyones praying for things and i decide i better come up with something fast so i decide to pray for a healthy baby for jamie and holly and peace on earth...and new chanel sunglasses haha jk
the bishop hears my prayer or whatever and he looks at me and asks if i've been a good child, and i turn to him and say "sometimes" and he laughs and says "sometimes i give into my misfortunes as well" and pats his hand on his big belly.
it was a moment
haha then he gave me this really pretty rosary even after i explained to him in english and french and my attempt at italien that i wasnt catholic.
he simply patted me on the head and sent me on my way.
so then i went over and lit the candle you get as well along the pathway or light and spent some time on the bridge over the river just enjoying the breeze. cause did i mention, it was like 45 that day.
then i walked along and saw the statues of the 12 aparations of christ? maybe..i dunno then i collected water from the special fountain of peace in my new special vase and washed my face and hands in it.
for good measure.
by this time it was past noon and my tummy was rumbling so i went for dinner at a little cafe near by. now, im not one to eat salad alot but it was sooo hot i just wanted something cool and crisp so i ordered one. it had eggs, corn, lettuce, and sesame seeds.
craziest combo ever. yet amazingly delish
by then it was just too hot to trail around anymore so i returned to my hotel and luckily i was on the top floor and had a super huge balcony for tanning.
yepp, uhuh. thats right. i got a big old tan!
haha after that i went to mcdonalds for dinner cause im poor and visited the outdoor market where i got some cute baby boots made with wool from the mountain sheep for the new baby
they're like baby uggs
i was super exhausted so i lay down that night in my room just to keep cool when all of a sudden at midnight i hear what is like a sing a long outside in the center of the town...
they were singing dancing queen. by abba.
i had to see this.
so i got dressed and trailed down to the village and found a huge youth concert with a cover band for abba hahah they did a wicked version of gimme gimme
it was hear where i met some youth from scottland and they told me all about there pilgrimage and how they were volunteering at the hospital in Lourdes and as well at the sacred baths as part of it...
and ill continue on more with this tomorrow
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