Lourdes were only a few kilometres detour from our original journey so we decided to stop by. As soon as you get in Lourdes, you feel the atmosphere of this holly place. There is plenty of accommodation around, including campsites. Parking is mostly free, only in the centre you pay 1EUR per hour. We got there in the evening and managed to see a candlelight procession. It is quite emotional to see so many sick people all hoping to get health and praying for miracles. We didn't want to bother people in their prayers but decided to take few pictures. To our surprise no one minded, organisers even sent us to the front to get better shots. Everyone was very polite, there was no pushing or shoving. People actually respected each other which was very nice to see.
From March to October the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of mass pilgrimage from Europe and other parts of the world. The spring water from the grotto is believed by some to possess healing properties. The shrine has been visited by millions of people since 1860 and the Roman Catholic Church has officially recognised 68 healings considered miraculous.
The next day we were up very early in the morning, hoping to be one of the first people in the Sanctuary to take few pictures but to our surprise, place was already buzzing with people gathering in the church for all different masses.
We had an extra spare day in our packed itinerary, so we decided to take another detour and head off to Pyrenees which are short drive north from Lourdes and it was well worth it. We decided to go to Point d'Espagne. From there we took a chair lift to Lac du Gaube which was spectacular. The chair lift was 23 EUR for two people, including free parking.
From the chair lift it is approximately one hour hike to the lake where you can have a nice lunch or picnic. There is a restaurant there so we had light refreshments, had a nice break and headed off again.
Driving through Pyrenees, they reminded us Stelvio del Passo in Italy in some ways. The scenery was beautiful when suddenly fog covered parts of mountains. We needed a break anyway so we stopped to take some pictures. It was very hard to drive through the fog as the roads were very narrow and too many cars around. We were driving through one of the Tour de France legs and I can tell you, it is much easier to do it in the car. These guys truly deserve respect!!