Wednesday 29th April
After a short journey in the morning we reached Lourdes, where we are stopping off tomorrow for yet another rest/laundry day.
Eric had been wracking his brains as to why he had heard of Lourdes. His working theory was that it is a famous stop-off point on the Tour de France. However, when we strolled into town after lunch and saw the gazillion religiously inclined souvenir shops Eric remembered that Lourdes is famous as a pilgrimage site, and in particular is known for its healing waters.
We had a look around the church there, which was buzzing with both religious and non-religious tourists.
There was a band playing, and the church actually felt “alive”, rather than the hush-hush atmosphere of all the other cathedrals we have visited.
They had some fabulous mosaics:
Afterwards we had a wander round the touristy bit of the town, and neither of us liked it very much… Just shops full of cheap “religious” rubbish.
We also thought that despite obviously having such a thriving tourist trade, Lourdes didn’t really seem that wealthy. It seemed a bit run down in parts, there were quite a lot of homeless people around and somehow the atmosphere wasn’t as friendly as the other places we have been. It’s a shame, because the surroundings of Lourdes are absolutely stunning.
After our wander it was back to the campsite to do our laundry and have dinner. It’s the cheapest campsite yet, at just 12 euros per night!
Thursday 30th April
Another rest day in order to see a bit more of Lourdes. I was a bit cynical about this rest day (it was suggested by Eric), but it turned out to be one of the best days we’ve had yet.
In the morning we visited a cycle shop and got our wheel ribbon replaced. It turned out that our chain also needed replacing, so we were very happy that this was done before our chain snapped in the middle of nowhere!
Then we climbed a Pyrenee (incorrect but kind of fun to say) called the Pic de Jer. It’s not an especially big one – about nine hundred and something metres – but it has breathtaking views of the Pyrenees and Lourdes at the top. We had our lunch sitting on the summit… a classic baguette, ham and cheese combo.