Tour de France

Well, I didn’t exactly roam France via my bike but via bus along with 5o other people.  This happened September last year.  This was a European pilgrimage where we go from country to country that included France.  It was a three-week long road trip.

Here are some of the pictures that I got from the trip.  Tried to recall what these places where… such a short term memory 😛

Chapelle Des Apparitions

We stopped by this small chapel along a narrow, provincial street in France where we saw the uncorrupted body of St.Margaret of Cortona.  It seemed puzzling to me since (from a little research) I thought she could be found in Italy because that’s where she was.  Or maybe I just heard the name of the saint wrong.  Geez!

I remembered something terrible about this place.  When we were in that chapel, they were about to start their 6pm mass.  So a church staff, probably the nun, asked us to worship OUTSIDE the chapel.  So there was no problem about that until the nun asked us to stop singing our worship song!  I didn’t think our voices were that bad.  What kind of people reside on that church?  When did our freedom to practice our faith taken away?  Strike One against the French.

? Street in France

Look at that restaurant on the right side of the street.  There’s no one eating at that time of the day.  It was such a quiet neighborhood.  And coming from a girl who lived in the city for the past 30 years, it seemed a little creepy to live in a neighborhood like this.  But I’m pretty sure, there’s more to France than this one.  And I found that out in Champs Elysee.  Anyway, this was the same street where the chapel was located.  There was a very light, almost non-existent traffic going on.  We saw five cars at most passing by.  I wonder where people go to make a living.

Our Room in Grand Hotel De La Grotte Lourdes, France

Our Room in Grand Hotel De La Grotte Lourdes, France

This is the actual room where my sister and I stayed during our 3 day stay in Lourdes, to join the 150th celebration.  I was surprised that this was a 4-star hotel when a 2-star hotel in my country looks a lot better.  Well, maybe I’m just not into stuffy old hotels.  Well, in this particular room, there was little space to move around but the bathroom made up for it.  The water closet was a little too spacious for me.  There were two elevators in that hotel.  One was a modern type of elevator and the main elevator was the old fashioned type which could also be seen in old buildings in other western countries.

Our dinner appetizer

Our dinner appetizer

Our first night at the Grand Hotel, Lourdes, we had an a la carte dinner.  This was my first real french dish.  This was bread or muffin in the actual dish where it was baked.  The color and the presentation was more than okay but I was so disappointed with the taste.  I didn’t even finish half of it.  Our local pan de sal was a lot better than this one.  It had no taste whatsoever.

I looked around the dining room located at the basement.  I was assuming they were serving us this type of meal because we were Asians.  All thought of discriminatory acts I heard about the European came flooding in until I saw that they were serving the same thing with Caucasians too.  I was wrong.  This was how their food really taste.  I didn’t finish all of it hoping that the main course would be a lot better.

And below is the main dish.

Main Dish

Main Dish

It was rice, salmon and some vegetables.  I only appreciated the rice.  The fish bones ruined it for me.  There were so many of them.  Now, I’m thinking whether French food is just all about presentation and nothing about the taste.  Or maybe taste is just relative?  And appreciation depends on the background of the person.  Because I just can’t appreciate this one.

St. Bernadette's Home

St. Bernadette's Home

Pilgrimages all around reached one of their destination, Lourdes France, the home town of St. Bernadette Soubirous and join in the celebration.  We were given a round cardboard to be hung around our necks while we do our own pilgrimages in the area.  We were supposed to visit by foot different parts of the town.  It was fun because you can go in groups and you can also go on your own.  There were a lot of Catholics from all over the world to join in the celebration.  Besides, it’s also a chance to visit the village where it was all happening.

The picture above was taken inside the house of St.Bernadette when they were still well-off until his father lost his job and they had to live in a former prison cell. It was all a depressing story until Mother Mary appeared to her in a cave by the river.

Incorruptible Body of St. Bernadette

Incorruptible Body of St. Bernadette

This one was taken inside the chapel in the convent where St. Bernadette was brought after the apparitions and where she died because of illness.  It was said that when she died, she was so frail looking and she looked as though she has wilted and has lost color.  But her body after she died, gained back the liveliness of her spirit when she was alive.

Above shows how close we can go to see her.  It was not much but it was more than enough.  Picture taking was not allowed but I took this picture without a flash so the nun roaming around didn’t notice… or maybe she did.  Ulp!  I just wanted to take “her” with me.  Because I may not be able to see “her” again.

Well, before I joined the European pilgrimage, I watched a French movie about her and her family and what happened before, during and after the apparition.  I was thinking that the trip was going to be a boring one.  I thought wrong, again.  The bus ride was boring.  The fact that I can’t plug and charge my phone or iPod was infuriating.  But the trip wasn’t disappointing at all.  I love the Europe trip I had with my sister and my mom.


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