20 September 2019
Today Mithyl left us to our own devices. We farewelled her at the bus station in Pau. We are hoping she enjoyed her holiday as much as we enjoyed travelling with her.
Not really sure what to do next and with no idea where we were headed, Grahame and I spent an hour at the local laundromat before wandering aimlessly around Pau.
We eventually found ourselves at the tourist information office with a vague feeling we needed to go into the Pyrénées for some mountain air.
The information lady gave us a map, suggested Laruns. Done!!!
Off we headed, via Lourdes.
I had been to Lourdes many, many years ago and remembered the beautiful setting surrounded by beautiful mountains. It’s funny what you remember: and what I remembered was nothing like reality, so it was a first, of sorts, for both of us.
We parked and joined the throng, many in wheelchairs, heading toward the “Sanctuary”.
We were amazed when we thought we heard music emanating from the ground beside us. The earth didn’t move, it sang!!
This needed further investigation!
A massively massive underground cathedral containing thousands of people, and a service for Cancer patients (I think). Lots of medi-cabs, nurses, medical staff as well as priests running the show. The sound we heard was the sound of thousands of people singing hymns underground.
We emerged from underground and headed towards the main “church” just as another service had finished. People everywhere.
Around the corner was a queue to touch the miraculous rock in the grotto where the original miracle occurred in order to make Lourdes an important pilgrimage site.
It was then we realised there was a church on top of the last church. And guess what? It had a lower level and an upper level. So all in all we visited four church/ cathedrals. Got our daily average up again.
The top level was a church on a church on a church on a church. Impressive!!
But we had mountains to see and it was time to move on.
Laruns is the main village of a group of little villages dotted around this valley. It’s most recent claim to fame was the Tour de France passing through in 2018,
and in the not so recent past was home to the guy who single handedly killed another bloke. Fact check: The guy was hussar Jean-Baptiste Guindey and he killed Louis of Prussia.
We booked into our gite and before being shown our room we were escorted to the main living area and shown how to use the spa and the sauna both located there!
Our room is quaint. A skylight above the bed allowed us to view the stars at night and the mountains in the day time. If you leant far enough out the other window there were indeed magnificent views of the mountains ( as promised in the advertising material. )
We took a quick walk around the village , found a bar and restaurant on the main square and settled in for the evening.
Perfect (except for the church bells!!)