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May 8th 2017
Published: May 8th 2017
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This morning, at the Toulouse airport, I picked up the leased Renault that I had ordered. I will drive it for a month and I expect to go lots of places, some I've been to before, most I have not. Today I was in new territory. The Pyrenees Mountains appear pretty quickly south of Toulouse and this was the first time I had seen them other than from an airplane. They are snow-capped and impressive (see photo with my little car on the side of the road). I stopped in Lourdes for a couple of hours and walked with the pilgrims around this famous site. There is a large church (see photo) and behind it is the grotto where Bernadette saw her visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858. Miraculous cures have taken place here and many people come to collect a little water and even to bathe in the spring (see photo of men lining up for bathing - women have their own entrance). There were a surprising number of people here, especially people in wheelchairs and their attendants (see photo). As for me, I collected water in a bottle that I'll bring home and I also lit a candle (see photo). Tonight I am in a hotel in the little town of Angeles-Gazost, nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees just south of Lourdes. I am pleased to be "on the road again", driving my car where I want to go, and looking forward to tomorrow's journey.

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