Camping Les Pair-O-Knees (Pyrenees)

We are now in the Pyrenees just out side of Lourdes. We have been here for the past three days and we head off to our next stop tomorrow. We have been camping at a campsite Soleil Du Pibeste – set in a valley overlooked by the beautiful Pyrenees mountains. The weather has been so variable – with thunder and lightening storms one night (not much recommended in a camper with a screaming baby who wanted to feed every 1.5 hrs!!), and sun to get you sunburnt!

We arrived late on Fri and spent Saturday visiting Lourdes. It is a fairly big town and it has a definite ‘tourist’ population. We walked our way through the tacky street stalls selling candles, postcards, statues and of course…every size bottle imaginable for collecting your holy water. (from 30mls to 15L!!)

We visited the the local church where St Bernadette was baptised, the house where her parents lived and then down into the ‘holy city’. It is all very big, consisting of the large Basilica that is made of up three seperate churches one on top of the other. And of course, the grottoes. We saw the lines to queue for the baths and they were taking FOREVER (there were a lot more women than men). We didn’t line up – firstly because they had closed the line and secondly Narelle really wanted just to see the whole dunking thing more than she wanted to actually do it her self; Dave had the whole “..are they doing it for a cure; to cleanse the soul or just following each other like sheep?” They all did look like sheep in the stock yard meandering through iron pathways to what looked like pens to then be dunked; aussie sheep farmers would be impressed – luckily there wasn’t anyone waiting with branding irons!!

So we decided in the end to walk along the river that runs alongside. The water was so clear and pretty and we felt a more spritiual presence here, in our own quiet place – then with all the tourists back in the main square.
The were hordes of tourists, of course but they mainly consisted of elderly and sick groups and they were being pulled along on little wheelbarrow type chairs. They were hundreds of ‘helpers’ (volunteers) everywhere all dressed in uniform that looked more like a fancy dress costume of nurses from the 1940′s. To us both it seemed more like Disney in Paris than a Catholic church.
Dave has finished his second book for the trip (the first was “TV Nation” by Mike Moore which is a TV show that was on in the late 90′s on SBS and BBC2 in the UK. The second book is called “Cafe in Venice” by Dorian Mode; it is about a thirty something musician who makes it to the big time and then is tossed asside as only the music industry can do. He ends up in the desert contemplating the meaning of life. The book is very well written and so funny Dave was in stitches (much to the annoyance of Narelle) with tears flowing down his cheeks. Dave can highly recommend this book. It seems to be on the same wavelength to the way he is feeling; maybe its being thirty something and coming to that point where you start seeing the world through different eyes, maybe broken dreams and ideas that have not been fulfilled; maybe just fuled by lack of solid un-interupted sleep; who knows but we are becoming more and more like our parents…maybe because we are now ones ourselves.

Narelle is also onto her second book; the first book was purchased by Charlotte for Mothers day some five months ago; it is the first book she has read since Charlotte was born some six months ago! The second book is also a baby book called “the rise and fall of the yummy mummy” by Polly Williams. The first book was a lot tamer than the second and you guessed it Narelle enjoys the second a lot more. Having a baby in the UK both books tap into the baby scene of England and we can both relate to it so well.

Narelle here – I just got back from doing the dishes and read what Dave has written. Are you all asleep yet? Sorry that this blog has become our book review page! Just we are so excited to be reading again – feels like we were never going to get the chance ever again! Lottie is still waking frequently in the night, but usually, our evenings are our own with Madam being in bed by 8pm.To finish off – today we visited the Pyrenees Funiculare.It took us 1000m above and the views were awsesome.

It was hot and sunny when we went up and we took a tour (in french so it was very cultural!!) through the Caves up there. It was all very flat and probably the easiest caves we have ever walked through – we got to take Lottie in her buggy. (although she slept the whole way through – obviously she was too clever to listen to the guide drone on – French or not!).
The weather had changed fiercely when we resurfaced with freezing cold wind and yucky rain. It was a bit of a hike downhill again till we could get back on the funiculare to take us all the way back to the car. The views were amazing and we did something pretty touristy – so were are happy campers!

Well, enough gabble for now.. hope you enjoyed it!

Hope to update again before we leave France