Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Lourdes is right across from the Spanish border in France. A small town by the river Gave in the Pyrenes. Its perpetually foggy and misty here and it pretty much rained the whole time. This place is like Disneyland for the devout. Lots of attractions like holy rocks, holy grottos and holy shot glasses at the numerous gift shops. There was also a holy bath which I jumped in, but now that I think of it, I should have gone in the morning rather than right when the bath closed after 10,000 people had their junk in it. The town is really nice though, very green and pastoral and the people have a smalltown niceness about them.
Lourdes is a pilgrimage destination because a poor village girl named Bernadette had 18 visions of the virgin Mary at a grotto in 1858. So shortly after people started coming to this small town. Many people also come because apparently there are healing powers in the water. In fact there are a lot of people getting hauled around on wheelchairs, perhaps here on a last hope. Whats kind of amazing is the amount of money and manpower funneling into this place. There have been 3 or 4 cathedrals built since the visions and each are pretty big. There are also thousands of volunteers coming here to help manage the large number of handicapped people needing assistance.
This pilgrimage tour makes me feel like I'm in the Cantebury Tales, except that probably makes me the lecherer among the cast of characters.
After two nights here we boarded the TGV train, fastest in the world, early Sunday morning for a 5 hour train ride to Paris.
>On 2006-07-01,02:32:16 susan wrote:
>>that is a very impressive photo. the lighting, angle, composition all come together so well.