JAN - MAR 2003
Tossa de Mar in Spain. The town was not accessible by road until 1880 but was a lively town trading in cork as far away as America. It is a beautiful little bay with a fairy tale fort and beach with little fishing boats.
Full nude bathing is accepted here in Tossa as you may be able to see from the girl front and centre.
Barcelona is a great city and quite easy to get around. The Rambla, a wide pedestrian boulevarde, bisects the city, starting at the waterfront and ending up approaching the Temple, still under construction, seen on the left.
This un-prepossessing girl, then a teenager, saw the Virgin 9 times and was supported by the church after examination. So began Lourdes, city of miraculous cures and now the centre of tacky commercialism. Bernadette was later made a saint and died in her thirties in a nunnery at Lourdes. Why so young for one who saw the family of God ?
Just to the right of the church steeple on the flat area between the river and the church (which is on a cliff) is the grotto (see below) where the visions were seen by Bernadette. Next to the grotto is a wall of taps from which you can fill your receptacles with the holy spring water. Past the grotto are the candle stalls for lit tapers (cost 2-10 euros) and the baths (17) that you can bathe away your illness in.
In this arena are held daily services and from which, torchlight processions begin during the 'season' from Easter to about August.
This is the grotto through which you can walk to touch the walls, view the spring (protected under armour glass) and leave a candle. There are chairs outside fro the hopeful to wait for a vision. The statue (right top) is where the young Bernadette saw the visions.
Spring water tap centre top.
Right behind Lourdes are the Pyrenees, full of skiing and hiking centres and only 30 minutes away.
The picture blow is slightly out of time sequence but I found this postcard of Carcassonne, a town we had visited before in 2002 and as it was such agood pic of the Ancien Cite, I thought it worth inclusion.