|Day 5 - Wed 15th Jan
We were planning another night stop on the way to Lourdes but as it was mostly motorway driving we made good time & carried on past our planned night stop all the way to Lourdes.
The weather was fine & sunny & despite the remarkably high number of lorries we cruised most of the day at 55mph. Presumably we were on the main route to Bordeaux & Spain which would account for the high lorry traffic as they wouldn’t want to use the Toll motorway which ran alongside us most of the way.
We stopped off at a Retail Park for a toilet break & a bit more diesel late in the morning. We had expected to find a toilet in the big supermarket but after walking all round inside & not finding one we came out & were just giving up when I spotted that we were standing right beside a fancy little unit in front of the store.
We did stop at the Aire in Mont-de-Marsan where we had planned to stay for the night. The Aire was right beside a Bull Ring which was most unexpected, I wasn’t expecting to see one before we got to Spain. Anyway we had made good time so decided to carry on the extra eighty or so miles to Lourdes.
Now we started seeing the snowy tops of mountains in the distance as we got closer to Lourdes. Still no sign of snow on the roads, in fact the weather is remarkably mild considering it is the middle of January. We made it to Lourdes and found an overnight parking spot next to another motorhome just outside a sports hall. No facilities but nice & safe.
As it wasn’t completely dark yet we walked down to the river to the Holy Shrine & church only about a mile away. It is a lovely site with the river bending around a very large area with a church perched high up at the end of the open parade area. The little grotto where St Bernadette experienced her visions is in the bottom of the rock on which the church is built an right beside the river.
It was very quiet at this time of the night & at this time of the year. When we came in 1994 the town was packed with pilgrims but tonight we were almost alone so we just wandered around until we got hungry & headed back to eat & sleep.
Mileage today - 286
Total Mileage - 898