Monday, September 10, 2012

Neil in Lourdes: Day 1 - Friday, Departure Day

Got up at 5.00am! This was mainly because we were getting the coach from Northampton Cathedral at 7.00am and I needed to touch and move my passport 700 times prior to ever actually needing it.

Thankfully both Beccy and I packed last night so just the toiletries and the drama of shutting the case to do this morning.

Arriving at the Cathedral car park I went from not knowing anyone to chatting away as if I knew everyone in a matter of minutes – this is very unlike me as I prefer to keep myself to myself. Fr.Damian, the pilgrimage director entertained us all during the coach journey to Birmingham airport with jokes and prayer.

The journey by plane went very smoothly and before we knew it we were in Lourdes. We said au revoir to Sarah, a lady we had met on the coach from Nazareth House in Northampton, as she was staying in the hospital (with the best view of the Grotto and Bassilica’s EVER!)

Once we arrived at the hotel we soon realised that Lourdes was experiencing a heat wave and with no air conditioning in the hotel it was going to be, well HOT! We had dinner, all 4 courses of it, and headed down to the domain area in time for the torchlight procession. For Beccy and Sam (another friend we had made on the journey) this was the first experience of a Lourdes procession. We thought it would be best to watch the first time from outside the upper Bassilica – an amazing experience as we watched hundreds of candle bearing pilgrims stream around the domain area below us.

We stopped for a cold beer on our way back to the hotel but finally it  was time for bed.