Thursday 15th February 2024

No rush this morning as we are only heading to Lourdes; 3.5 hrs away with Peage, 4.5 without, so Peage it was. Christine took the dogs to the park, at 7am, to give them a good walk before we travelled.

They look worn out!

Today the sun was shining, skies were blue and the temperature had risen, all on cue 😁😁😁.  We shared the driving but I was at the wheel as we entered Lourdes.  Neither of us had any idea about the place other than it was a place of pilgrimage for many; not to sure if it will help my knee though!!!  We entered the narrow streets and found our hotel, again a dog friendly one in the centre of town, there was just one fundamental difference.  This was no ordinary hotel, oh no, Christine had booked a 5* Spa Hotel and when we arrived she seemed surprised it was a 5* one; yeah!!!!!   We knew it was up-market the moment we walked into the grand lobby area, no desk just one enormous, highly polished table with comfortable chairs for us to sit in whilst the formal proceedings were taken care of.   We were then shown the facilities; the restaurant, the Gym, the indoor pool, sauna and steam room and not least, the “bank” of jacuzzis before being escorted to our room, with a balcony but no view.  Our view was the street below☹️☹️.

River Gave de Pau

We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and fancied a snack to put us on.  We made the decision not to eat in the hotel so headed out, down the hill towards the fast flowing river, “Gave de Pau”.  It soon became obvious I would struggle so headed back to the car to get the scooter (named Solo) out, and off we went again.   Looking for somewhere to get a snack was a challenge, everywhere was closed for the winter, but eventually we found two places, an ice cream parlour and a cafe, this was our choice and though it wasn’t raining, it was cold so the cafe was the place we entered.   To be fair the ham and cheese panini we had were nice and fresh, so not all bad, though we did wonder if we would find a restaurant to have a meal later this evening, “open” 🤔🤔.

Most hotels on river were closed

Now we were on our way to search for the mythical woodland the receptionist thought would be suitable for the dogs.  Where the mythical woodland was located turned out to be a rather large carpark for a hotel closed for the winter!!!  Anyway it sufficed, the dogs had a good run.   On the way back Christine decided we had taken the wrong turning on our way to the mythical woods and headed up another hill to search for them; she returned rather crestfallen, as I had said, they were a myth!!!

Completely mirrored room, it was stunning!

Back at the hotel we headed to the spa area, giving the gym a wide berth, found the pool and in we went.   The pool was in a rather unusual surrounding, down in the basement of the hotel and to enhance its size, the surrounding  walls and ceiling were all mirrors; interesting.   Next the Jacuzzi, they were just outside on an adjacent patio, two were free so in we hopped, turned the heat up more, and enjoyed a nice long relaxing soak.   Eventually, and after we were wrinkled back inside we went and tried the steam room.  We were not impressed; too big and never got very steamy so headed for the sauna.  Again disappointed, electric and no coals to pour water over so didn’t get enough heat, oh well one can’t have everything, or can we??  Trip advisor will be interesting!!!!

Geoff enjoying the jacuzzi

Back in the room where we had left the dogs we sorted ourselves out and headed off to find a restaurant.  We had looked at the hotel menus but were not impressed with the choices or the 5* pricing that went with it for that matter.

Breakfast room

Having been down the hill earlier when we also scouted for restaurants, but apart from an “African Food” street place, nothing was open so this time we headed up the hill into the town area.   The choice of places was very limited, everything was closed so after walking or in my case, riding up and down all likely streets we found a Chinese open.  Note to self, keep out of Lourdes in the winter, still we did laugh about it all later.    The Chinese, certainly not on our list of places to go was actually very nice and his wine selection was great so not all bad, and they let us take the dogs in.

Sanctuary of our lady of Lourdes

Tomorrow we head “over” the Pyrenees, fingers crossed no snow🤞🤞but first we have to do some of the touristy things and visit the “Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes” made famous by the “Apparitions” that occurred in 1858.   Naturally I was also hoping for a miracle cure!!!!! See the caves and if time allows, get up to the Chateau Fort, high up on the rocky hill overlooking the town

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