It was a long and treacherous 22-hour journey to Lourdes. We climbed the hills, walked the terrains and – okay fine we actually took the plane.
But we did take 22 hours to get to the hotel and start to settle down. After a 12-hour flight from Singapore to Paris, then another two hours to Pau with a three-hour wait between, we had to take a taxi (pre-booked already) to travel to Lourdes. It was a very tiring day.
So that was day 1. And we had maggie mee for our first meal here because the restaurant at our hotel was fully booked.
First impressions of Lourdes – the weather is lovely, like air con temperature, and the skies are so blue and nice!! It hasn’t rained yet so that is super good.
I think we’ve also kinda established somewhat of a routine, since it will suit my cousin who is special needs, better. 9am mass every morning at the main Sanctuary where the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is at. Interestingly, there are 3 churches built on top of each other and the place is so huge that it almost seems like a park, with pilgrims praying along the river with their rosaries and some holy ducks.
You’ll see pilgrims filling up their bottles with holy water from the spring that St Bernadette foretold about. Many also carry candles to offer them to Our Lady.
To see so many people from all over the world just in this one area is quite amazing. Though I am not quite sure why I am here and will be here for the next 3 weeks, so many of the others are here for healing and to experience God – and sure enough, going to Momma Mary is the surest and best way to be closer to Jesus.
Masses are also held in English, and the five official languages of this place include French, Italian, German and Dutch. On Sunday, we saw about 48 priests along with the Bishop entering for mass to be said at the Grotto! It was quite a sight for me since wow 48 priests at one area attending the same mass is quite something.
It has been quite okay so far. I haven’t really explored the whole Sanctuary and explored the town yet. We did go to the market and Carrefour today, Day 3. My absolute favourite places to go to (supermarkets) when overseas, and even back home. We bought so many things from the supermarket and missed the bus back to the hotel by 10mins so we had to take a 20mins walk back with all our groceries down the hill.
Food wise, outside restaurant food can get pricey especially with the 1.6 exchange rate compared to Singapore dollars. Then again, I haven’t really tried anything exotically French yet. However, supermarkets have great steals at times. Like these macaroons for £5.35!!
As mentioned, we also went to the market but we didn’t not buy anything as most of the shops were closed (don’t ask why they’re closed on Mondays). Unlike our wet markets in Singapore, these French markets are clean and the smell is cheese is so strong you feel like you’re eating them.
Baguettes do get stale quite easily and I think it is because of the weather too. But the little shops look really quaint that you may want to buy everything!
I think to stop this post from getting any longer, I should stop here. 😂 I’m sure I’ll have loads more to say from this kind of small town over the next few days. Tell me what you want to know – from the churches and what to do, to accommodation and food – and I might just do a post about it!