Mon 5th Oct. Cycle into Lourdes & go up the Funicular.
On this French side of the Pyrenees, there’s this area called the midi-Pyrenees, (I guess that’s just the hills, <1000m, before the mountains, >3000m), so back in the day when labour were cheap & teabags weren’t invented, this bunch of Lourdes lads got together, picked the most vertical, pointy hill they could find & decided to build a tram way straight up it! All this work, just for the view! Then lazy sods like me (who keep forgetting they’re NOT on holiday) don’t have to spend hours trudging up to get a good view…and what a veiw! The whole of Lourdes beneath you from 888m high. Egyptian buzzards were constantly circling around the hills but I was never quick enough to get a good shot. Here’s a couple of shots of the views, but the camera just doesn’t do it any justice. We were up there for about an hour, you feel like your on the top of the world. Top day.
Would someone please build a Funicular up Everest?
At this point I’d like to state MY opinion, me & religion don’t get on, we never have really, but each to their own, it must be of comfort to you, I respect that & no one should deny you of it, may your God go with you & all that. That said, these Catholics do knock out some stunning churches. The sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes has to be on a top ten of some sort. Wow!, the effort, the skills, the devotion it must take. Lourdes town is fairly un-remarkable, to say how many thousand people must walk through it down to the Church. The obligatory hordes of tat shops all selling the same plastic junk from China. We looked for a nodding plastic Jesus mounted on Abalone shell to stick on the (‘Dash-board of my car’)…our Charlie, but we couldn’t find one, those who like the movie ‘Cool Hand Luke’ will know why. ” I don’t care if it rains or freezes….” Another day, another shrine. For obvious reasons, Lourdes draws heaps of old, ill & disabled people from all over the world, some of these people have trouble just walking, so why (Catholic Church & Lourdes tourism) don’t you have a free shuttle from the major car parks & train stations? Maybe it would put all the tat shops out of business if people were delivered directly to the church? I should imagine these little streets are jam-packed in the height of summer, worse than Mont-Saint-Michel, if that’s possible.
God & China have now crossed me off their Christmas list and that’s fine with me. Rant over.
“Don’t park your bikes there…it’s against God!..”
We got a finger wagging from Church security for chaining our bikes to one of the lamp posts within the ‘Lourdes Church park’, no bike racks to be seen and a nice big sandwich on the way back, another “top day”, back to Charlie & another planning meeting.
The N230 runs almost all the way to the south coast, €1.75 in tolls & has some corking scenery (google earth) but it would be good 5-6 hour run, so we decide to stop in the middle for a couple of nights in the Pyrenees & chillax a bit after our busy time in Lourdes. It seems like we will never get off page 28 of Camperstop Europe Guide?, but it is a big area. First stop, an Aire, Bagneres-du-Luchon, 1 night advertised as €4 but the ticket machine was broken, so it’s free (€4=a pint)…just before the French/Spanish border. Then again the quandary, do we go for a Camperstop (car park in town) charging €6 pn (2012 quoted price so it may be €10 pn now, it may also be full when you get there!) or go for a Camp advertising “with access to unusual and beautiful landscapes, traditional & culture, mountain sports, fishing & mushroom collecting in autumn.” at €16 pn. with all services? …well you would, wouldn’t you? Get the chairs out. (ACSI 2548 Camping Baliera, it is.)
After 2 days of R & R and a bit of skulking about, the cycle tracks were as non-existent as the mushrooms, so we head off to the coast. The weather is set to be hot & sunny, so straight in this time, looking for a heated pool on a camp site. There are loads of camp sites open, but most of the pools around Barcelona have been switched off, we find one advertised as heated for at least another week, and our guess is, the site will not be too full, a swim every day for a week will be great. Why is life never that simple?, we show up late Saturday afternoon to find that the camp is “almost full” & “you’re very lucky to get in, because of the Spanish bank holiday on Monday!” Don’t the Spanish ever have a week-end at home? Every time we hit a camp site at the weekend, it’s full of Spaniards!! Even the French ones!! Guess we will just sit it out till monday, they’re not a bad lot.
Have a good week…ho bugger, it’s Monday again!
And finaly, Yum Yum…