May 26, 2004
Jun 24, 2004
Driving from Sauze we took the mountain road, for the views of course, but mostly to avoid toll ways. The tolls in France are incredible, very very expensive. This naturally took more time then if we would have chosen to take the toll road. Our destination was Bayonne, on the French Atlantic coast, but the drive was too long and after about 9 hours we had to stop. The town we ended up being closest to was Lourdes. This is a very holy town, where the Virgin Mary appeared in 18 visions in 1858. The 14-year old peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous had the visions in a grotto near her hometown. The matter was later investigated by the Vatican, which later confirmed the visions as bona fide apparitions and Bernadette was canonised in 1933. This is the story of this little town, that now is the major site for pilgrims world-wide. We somehow ended up here, more out of an coincidence then a plan, makes you wonder. Well, anyway, we found this cheap and calm campground outside of town. It was run by this french older lady, she was really cute and it was cool to try to understand each other. But we managed, and the next day we checked out and went to see the chapel and grotto. The site was really big and a bunch of people everywhere. The shops in the town where very commercialized and it looked like a real tourist trap. But the church grounds where calm and pretty. We went around and look at the different chapels and then finished the visit of by walking along the grotto walls, and getting some holy water on us. Then we drove out to the French coast and the beach......this was a little bonus day.