Thursday

Bagnere de Bigorre, Pope at Lourdes, Busy, 49.2 miles

Fairly early rise today, left camp at 0830, to Lourdes. Got through Trebons ok, still a terrible road surface here!
The police appeared at the turn off to the D937 Montgaillard, still miles from Lourdes and here they are, watching the traffic.


this house is for sale, in the mountains near Lourdes, couldnt you just....

On the roadsigns "Lourdes" has been covered with black tape....why? Do they want to keep people away? Good job I've been down here before and can remember the way.
A few miles later and the police are thicker on the ground, cars, motorbikes, minibuses, all buzzing around, and here I am again with the same trailer, still anonymous, riding into town.

Lourdes, Southern France.

When I got there the place was empty, I mean EMPTY...nobody but police, 6 people sat in the park next to the fountains, 3 or 4 cars at the lights, and a public transport imitation steamtrain with a few people on board.
I was expecting crowds of people, queues of traffic, blaring horns and overheated irate stressheads, but there's nothing here, and the police arent paying me a blind bit of notice, nice!
Straight around to the backdoor and the road is closed at the level crossing, a ford transit sized fire engine is waiting to be let through, the gates open and I went through with it, alongside, so far so good, the policeman didnt see me.
300 yards later and I'm at the fence again, looking over the crash barriers, I'm the only one on the road, maybe 15 people on the footpath, I quickly lean up the bike, hop over the barrier, and there's the Pope, 200 yards away. He's on stage with a crowd of thousands watching from the field. So this is where everyone is.

I'm there perhaps 10 mins when the plain clothes police turn up to inspect the bike with one of them staying to guard it, then the mounted police arrive - give it a look over and tell everyone off for climbing on the fence, still nobody touches or moves my bike. More police, blue ones this time checking it out. Took some photos and watched for about half an hour, then owned up, ok its mine, was ordered out of town, ha, politely but firmly, ok you have seen him, now please go! No hysterics, no stress, just a weary guy in a suit and tie in 34 degrees heat, Class!!
Leaving town I bumped into an english cyclist, heard him asking directions in french worse than mine!! rode with him until Arudy.
He'd been here 6 weeks and was more than a little pissed off. Couldnt get along with the french. Hadn't brought enough gear with him to make himself comfortable. Had quit his job as a warehouseman to come here, try something a little different for as long as he could. I think I persuaded him to return along the coast to St Malo, maybe he'll find better luck up north, they are a little friendlier there.
Temperature today off the scale on my thermometer, thats more than 51 degrees in the sun, found a site in Buzy, nice small village 15km SE of Oleron st Marie, crashed to sleep again, too bloody hot here.
Very quiet site, families, rural and up in the hills.
Just started to write this and some bloody fool teenager decides to try and jump over my tent, he landed 2/3 of the way across and slid down the side. I erupted, too tired, too much heat, and don't need this bloody fool ha!! Hey Fck off!! in too loud a voice (I was in the tent) sent him running, cant see any damage but I'm not looking forward to the next rainstorm now. Walked over to his van fists out and gave him a bollocking (I had to look up, he was taller than me ) he had 2 mates there with him egging him on, lets see what happens tonight. Then an apology to an english couple for the language, they said they saw what happened...but didnt think there were any other english here until I shouted, not good, they didn't come here to listen to that!
Route today, Lourdes D937 St Pe de Bigorre, L'Estelle Betharram,D35 Asson, Bruges D394 Arudy, D232 Buzy. V good dolmes on the main road, excellent.
49.26 miles in 4h 20min riding.

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Good luck with your own journey.
Thanks for visiting,
Rob.