As I had business outside Lourdes, I decided to go tabbing south through the Pyrenees first thing after my morning coffee, and join a road at one of the villages. There’s a cycle route that passes under the roundabout near the Pic du Jer roundabout, and it takes you miles deep into the Pyrenees countryside. At one point before arriving here I entertained the idea of reaching the Spanish border on foot from Lourdes, but that turned out not so easy.
I started out walking at a brisk pace, knowing I would typically cover quite a distance within several hours. It soon became pretty uncomfortable in the 26 degrees C, and a couple of blisters were forming about a third of the way in. As the ranges opened up I was tempted by curiosity to keep going… and going… and going.
Eventually I came within sight of the Spanish border, but it’s definitely much further ahead than it looks, and there’s no way to cross it without climbing equipment or through a main road many miles to the West (I think).
But what an impressive sight this was! Far off in the distance I could see mirages, and at the same time ice on some of the peaks. The strange thing was the temperature fluctuated by about 5 degrees C along the way.
Much later on, back in Lourdes, I dragged my sunburnt carcass to St. Bernadette’s old house, the place where her family lived before they fell on hard times – the place I almost forgot to visit – and there I met the owner, a relative of Bernadette. The resemblance was immediately noticeable, especially the round face and the eyes.
The house is actually quite big in comparison to what most people can afford today in Britain. Some of Bernadette’s personal items are on display there – a veil and several prayer cards, namely, and the bed in which she slept near the window. On the wall were pictures of the Grotto as it was before the Notre Dame was built. It turns out the ‘rock face’ was actually an opening into a small hill, on which the Notre Dame is now built.