2012 Driving Europe travel blog

Vicki get her sample of Lourdes water

View from bascila with castle in background

People waiting to bathe in the water

The bascilica

Well just another day driving around the back roads, checking out the small villages.

The exception was the stop at Lourdes. Arrived in the town at around 1pm when everything was closed including the tourist information office - got to stop doing this! Some confusing one way traffic in town and we stopped just outside the town to have something to eat and drink out of our picnic bag. A bus pulls up next to us and we ask for directions to the religious site. In the end we have group of people giving us directions and they even give us their map of the town. We were only a couple of minutes away from where we wanted to be.

Lourdes is of course the site where Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on a total of eighteen occasions. Lourdes has developed into a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of miraculous healings. Today Lourdes has a population of around 15,000 but is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season. With about 270 hotels, Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels per square kilometre in France after Paris.

The place was packed today with people lining up to get a blessing or bathe in the water. Over the grotto a basilica has now been built.

There is also a fortified castle on the hill overlooking the town.

The stop for tonight is a place called Amou.

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