Travel to LOURDES!

Wednesday July 26th

  We have officially arrived in Lourdes!! After hours of tiring travel we finally reached our first stop on our pilgrimage. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for us for safe travels. We are sure many of you want to hear about our travel such as how our flights were, what Lourdes looks like, and our next stops on this pilgrimage. 

  On Monday morning we left at about 7:00am from Hilton Head Island to drive to the Charleston airport. We had a wonderful drive and saw the beauty of the low country as we drove. Once we got to the airport we said our goodbyes to our family and we headed to our gate.

  Our first flight was from Charleston to Charlotte and it was only about 45 minutes including take off and landing. We enjoyed the ride and there was only one complaint… the landing was a rough one!

  Once in Charlotte we grabbed some food, found our gate, and waited for about 45 minutes before we made our long flight overseas. We flew 8 hours from Charlotte to Munich, Germany. It was a long flight but worth it once we landed. We arrived in Germany early in the morning and had about 3 hours to spare so we grabbed some food and took a nap because we were already so tired from traveling.

  After a few hours in Germany we boarded our flight to Toulouse, France. This flight was short and sweet. The sky was beautiful and we could look down and see the french countryside. We safely landed and that was the last of the plane rides for a while. We found our luggage and we’re greeted by our group tour guide, Theresa. She directed us toward the bus and pointed out a quick sandwich shop for the group to grab a bite. We chose a delicious ham and cheese sandwich on a traditional French baguette. Simple and delicious!  The bus ride took us to Lourdes, France. It was a wonderful two hour ride with looks of pretty views of the Pyrenees mountains. The Pyrenees mountains are the mountains that separate Spain and France. We passed fields and fields of sunflowers.

  Once we arrived in Lourdes we headed to our hotel where we freshened up and went to dinner with our group. We went downstairs to eat at the hotel’s restaurant. The service was family-style and were impressed at the staff’s ability to serve a couple hundred people in a short amount of time.  Getting back to our delicious French meal…As an appetizer we had ham, cheese, and quiche then followed by a delicious turkey slice, topped with a gravy and bits of fresh bacon along with with lentils and potatoes. For a dessert we were served coconut pie. The reason we don’t exactly know what the name of the dishes are is because our server doesn’t speak any English!

The jet lag was getting to us, so we soon headed to bed.  When we woke up we headed downstairs for breakfast where we enjoyed croissants, baguettes, ham, cheese and coffee. It was delicious. Every meal we’ve had so far has been absolutely delicious. Once we ate, our group met in the lobby of the hotel to go to the Shrine.

  The grotto is where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette. This is a very holy place and is now home to the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary. As many of you are aware, Lourdes is commonly known for its healing water. Many people who are ill come and visit in hopes to be healed. The water is a symbol of cleansing - both physically and in your heart.

  When we got to the grotto we started by going to a Mass. It was so peaceful having Mass outside and in such a holy and historical area. Once Mass finished we explored a bit and took pictures by the River Gave, which is where the sacred water comes from. After that we headed into town to have lunch at a French cafe.

  At 2:00pm, we met our tour guide to start a tour about the life of St. Bernadette. We began by visiting the Pope St. Pius X underground basilica that was the exact dimensions of Noah’s ark, as if it were flipped upside down. The altar was very large and has the capacity to seat 25,000 people! After walking through the basilica we walked into town to St. Bernadette’s home and birthplace.

  We visited the house that St. Bernadette lived in until her family became poor due to a drought.  They had to move out of their home and couldn’t work and their only option was moving into the town jail! In the winter the town would move the prisoners out of the jail because the town believed it was too cold and extreme for even the criminals to stay there.  Their living space was extremely tiny especially for six people. They had one cell for six people.

  After we followed the life of St. Bernadette our group returned to the hotel for dinner. Tonight we had a cheese danish as an appetizer followed by a veal meatloaf (there was a much fancier sounding French word for the dish), with a side of roasted potatoes and roasted artichoke that was tender. For dessert we had pastry pie filled with custard. It was delicious and we were very happy to try new things that we otherwise may not have eaten.

After dinner many of us returned to the Shrine for the nightly candlelight procession of the Rosary. It was a beautiful experience and almost magical.  The sun was setting as the procession started and as it continued to get dark, the candlelight came alive to a beautiful glow. The procession consisted of about 2,000 people processing through the shrine with candles in their hands and while singing “Immaculate Mary”and praying the rosary.

  We finished the night with crepes and gelatos with the group. The town is so lively no matter the time of day! For instance on the walk back we passed a group from one hotel having an “Immaculate Mary” sing-off with a group at a hotel across the street! Amazing!!  We have had such a wonderful time in Lourdes and can’t wait to see what adventures that Burgos, Spain  has in store for us. We leave bright and early tomorrow morning for a 5-hour bus ride to the Spain countryside. We thank you so much for your patience with this blog, we are trying our best to post as often as possible. 



There are no comments yet - be the first one to comment: