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FRANCE | Wednesday, 14 October 2009 | Views [514]

Started the long trek home and decided to take a different route home. We called into a town called Pau, but not much there so everyone agreed to that seem it was not far to call into Lourdes. Lourdes is a sacred place for Catholics near the foot of the Pyrenees. In 1858, a 14 year old girl, Bernadette, saw the Virgin Mary in a series of 18 visions. We read that over five million pilgrims, visit annually including people who seek cures. Leading up to the Sanctuaries of the pilgrimage site, is a display of commercial exuberance that is unspeakably tacky and a bit unbelievable that they would do that to a sacred site. We visited the Notre Dame of Lourdes which is a huge religious complex that has emerged around the cave where Bernadettes visions took place. At the cave, a mass was taking place that made the visit a bit special. The girls lined up and went through the cave, while the skeptics hung near the river. Whether you believe or not, there was definitely a special ‘energy’ around the area. The Brother still waiting for a miracle and didn’t quite feel the energy. Went back to the car, Paul thought we were abut 50km from home but when he put Belves into Mr Navman, 348 km came up. The shock was a bit much for him and so had a bit of whinge but the great roads had us home in a bit over 3 hours. The ham and bread from San Sebastian levelled out his sugar levels. Thought we could get some alcohol and food in Belves, but, guess what, everything shut as usual when we arrived. Headed back to our little cottage and had a great meal of French baguettes, honey, goats cheese, Spanish ham, quail, pork, pate, potatoes, and anything else that was in the fridge plus every drop of wine and beer we could find. Even had to open up a bottle we had put aside for the Brother’s birthday on Friday. Finished off with some great Limoncello from Capri, it ended up a great night.

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