DAY 7, MAY 24
(SAM) The next morning Jon and I went to the 6:00 English mass in the grotto. It was still dark and there were very few people. The mass was said by an Indian bishop who kept saying the wirgin Mary. This would be our last visit to the Grotto of Lourdes so we lingered awhile and lit a devotional candle. After we O.D.ed on Lourdes water, we went back to camp and took a nap before we hit the road again.- Vermin dog ate the rest of our dogs.
(CHRIS) Well, the original plan was to drive to Spain via the national park in the Pyrennes, perhaps stopping for a hike while in the park. However, the roads through the Pyrenees were impassable and the plan (my plan mostly) failed. But we had a beautiful drive on a curvy road to the town of Gavernie. This was a bit of a tourist trap, but we avoided the usual pitfalls by not spending any money here. One of the main attractions was horse (SAM) ass
(CHRIS) riding up the trails very
(CHRIS) even better views of the mountains.
We hiked from the town up a trail into the snow-capped peaks. We never actually reached
(SAM) the top, snow but we did have a great lunch at the Pyrenees love shack.
(CHRIS) It was a fun hike and Matt says it was his favorite part of the trip so far. There were bubbling creeks (but no bubbly women as we had hoped), green pastures, donkey chips, and rocky switchbacks. Our total hike up (far above the town) and back down was under three hours. It was an incredible view. We ate pitas, cold cuts, grapes, chips, and Lourdes water on top.
At the bottom, we said rosary in the town chapel of St. Jacques. After gathering more water, we tried to head into the Pyrenees, squeezing past asses and pedestrians as the road turned to dust. The people were saying things to us, but for some reason, they all spoke in French, so we drove on until the "road" turned into a thin stone footbridge. Then we had to drive back past all the asses and people who had apparently told us before not to go forward. Now we perceived their "I told you so" complexions as we pretended to have known all along. I myself....
********NEWS FLASH! Sam just burped! Sure it was a small burp, but it was only his 4th ever 5-25-95 7:20 p.m. (signed) Chris Foley, Samuel H.S. Aronhime.**********
pretended to be British as we passed. Telling all, "Cheerio!" So we headed back to Lourdes (pronounced Lurd or Luurd or Lood), town of returns, Lourdes, place of miracles, Lourdes, (with rock beat) town of 15,000. We turned west before Lourdes, capital of hope, but soon our road was found to be closed. The road was soon blocked by a herd of goats. It was foggy, curly roads through back door towns where no tourist had ever roamed (and very few non-goat inhabitants either.) It was interesting, but the slow roads (none of which were on the map) and lack of knowledge of where we were became tedious.
Finally we hit Pau and headed west on the highway. We stopped for gasole (diesel) and groceries. Shortly thereafter, we were riding along the sea and we stopped at a beach to make sandwiches. They were ham, lettuce and tomato on moldy bread. The secret ingredient was French mustard. Here to tell you about the mustard is Matteo.
(MATT) The mustard was to combat the dryness of yesterday's sandwiches. So we all poured on extra mustard. I put on two full layers of the juice, as did the boys. Jon, watching carefully as he prepared his own sandwich, noticed that Sam, Chris, and I had watering eyes and were doing a little dance as we ate our creations. The mustard was loaded with horseradish, but it was soooo good. We kind-of overcompensated for the previous night's dryness. We had ham, lettuce, tomato, and mustard. After the feast, we pushed ever on. Sam drove 'til about midnight and we pitched the tent on the side of the road. Chris and I slept in the tent, half expecting to be kicked off in the night.