Started by first going to Arudy's church when I heard the bells. Two altar guild ladies helped guide me to priest's house where pilgrims can stay donativo (free, donation) but I didn't learn about until it was too late to cancel this hotel. You see, Lourdes information center at the basilica has a list of pilgrim places to stay if you ask them.
I noticed that this little town has had a few pilgrims visit from world wide. Three pins were from LA. I asked how many pilgrims he hosted and he said 5-6 per night the last few nights. I thanked him and went to have breakfast at the hotel.
Breakfast was huge. Best croissants of the trip yet, and France has the best in general. Kiwis were perfect. It cost 7.90e but that's cheaper than breakfast at home and not much more than just coffee and croissant in France.
In the rain, I headed out of town. Gorgeous Pyrenees views from along the road.
Met my first fellow peregrino as she rested from the rain and snacked. Also saw a funny-to-English-ears brand name.
I hung out with these friendly horses when the rain paused. Also the caterpillar. Sorry the photo is blurry but it kept spinning in the wind.
What does it eat while in a cocoon? I wondered what it felt like to emulsify and transform into another being that was in you and yet you had to die of your old self before you could get to the real self. Was Thomas Merton a butterfly? Am I building my cocoon as I type?
In Oloron-Saint Marie, the towering Eglise Notre Dame had intriguing battle figures from Jean d'Arc to child Christ in armour to these Crusade symbols. Jarring to my sensibilities.
I smacked and let my feet dry in the center park by this gazebo. When I noticed the homeless man sleeping in the picture, I thought that could be me staying out of the rain. If he weren't asleep I would have liked to shared some food.
Whether it was the pretty river views or the sturdy cathedral, I compared the images to the history I read about this small city. My fave images though are in a video:https://youtu.be/eph12yjrer8
It was cute until I had to walk past where they had been. Pungent hopscotching for almost a kilometer.
Some charming boys were playing a ball game of some sort in this village of Esquiule. They stared as I walked by. I said bonjour but they looked puzzled. One boy wanted to return to the game and bounced the ball high. I laughed because I liked how his priorities of fun were not to be disrupted. The other boys turned, turned back, then turned towards their game screaming and laughing as though I never existed. I'd have offered candy and taken a picture if that didn't seem so inappropriate. What a shame that we can't be nice to kids any more.
Finally off the busy highway. It's been brutal having no path and not even a shoulder to walk on, as cars swerved all day long to give me room. Those who didn't give me room, well at first I was irked and scared but then I prayed that they or their families never had to walk in fear like this. Literally hours today was spent on that type of road, so this was not easy.
This farmer gave me a puzzled look as I walked past. I thought hey I'm not the one out walking my cow instead of a dog or spouse.
Instead of the ubiquitous the crucifixes everywhere, Our Lady of Lourdes was in a wooden grotto beside the road.
Finally I got to Barcus, a town of rolling hills. The hotel is also the fancy restaurant for the region so I decided to eat one good dinner in my stay in France. Here are the menus:
Pricey for a pilgrim but it was my special treat. So I ordered the least expensive fixed price menu.
La Poule au pot en terrine
Then Tournedos de Cabillaud (it had a Navaje which I loved on Camino in Melides) and lots of morsels of seafood
Finally the Charlotte
It occurred to me as I did evening prayers that much of today was about food. Abundance. Lack thereof. Transformative. Cultural. Farming.
And I was surprised that the food in my thoughts served up lots of food for thought.
May your journey of healing be fed by your hunger for reconciliation and rest.