No1 on My Bucket List ……

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6th October 2017 – 15th October 2017

We promised two sets of special friends that we would visit and so we de-camped for over a week, visiting them both. Debs & Gaz live 40 minutes west of Limoges having moved to France 12 years ago from the UK with their two girls, Charlotte and Catherine. Chloe the dog was also fully entertained with Charlotte’s Labrador Rossco – a 4 year old bullet charging through the house. We visited the lovely town of Angouleme whilst we were there, France’s cartoon capital, with comic festivals and amazing paintings on the sides of buildings everywhere you turn. To top it all we were drinking and dining outside in mid October. Oh, this is the life ! It was lovely to visit, spend time with everyone, eat, drink, more eating and more drinking until we departed.

A day in between staying in a small hamlet we then made our way South to stay with another set of dear friends Lynn & Dennis. Both retired and living in a lovely part of France with their dog Tilly, this time a golden Labrador with the longest legs I have seen on a Labrador and the best eye liner around her eyes ! We had a wonderful stay relaxing, eating and learning from a master how to make the perfect bread rolls. We visited a couple of restaurants for lunch the popular Plat Du Jour in France, a 3 course lunch with wine that works out cheaper than a pizza in the UK – how does that work ?

We loved staying with both our friends and it is so nice to be able to spend some quality time with people that mean so much.

16th October 2017 – 18th October 2017

Lourdes

Ok, so I have had to put our visit to Lourdes in bold letters because this is a place that I have wanted to visit for a long time and to be honest has been No 1 on my bucket list. David asked me where I wanted to visit on our ‘Once in a lifetime’ trip and all I said was Lourdes. We stayed very close to the small market town lying at the foothills of the Pyrenees, got up early, well early to us retirees ! David set up our bikes and Chloe’s trailer (photo to follow) and we were off. We didn’t even get out of the campsite and Chloe’s trailer had a puncture. So instead of cycling we caught the bus (no dogs allowed but with Chloe fluttering her long eyelashes she was on !) We arrived in the centre and I had read a lot about the awful tacky shops selling everything you could possibly think of relating to religion and it was true. Nothing very tasteful, but it is nothing any different to anywhere else with a huge attraction. Lourdes has the 2nd largest hotel capacity in France and over 200 million people have visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.

What we didn’t know though, was that you could not take dogs into the area, David waited outside. It is a very beautiful place to walk around, it brings a great sense of calm. There are people from all over the globe visiting and it was humbling to see their faith displayed. The highlight for me was the torchlight Marian procession at 9pm, which we returned to in the evening minus Chloe the dog. Thousands of people lined up with their lit candles and wind down the street to finish at the Esplanande where they line up in front of the sanctuaries. This brought tears to my eyes to see hundreds of people in wheelchairs, nurses and nuns followed by a river of light. I loved Lourdes. David did say it was very beautiful, in a peaceful setting but not somewhere for him, but worth a visit to see a smile on my face. I love him.

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