Lourdes – Part 2
So the day after Mikes bikes race the weather started to clear up. We decided to take a family tour around town, and ended up at the Pic du Jer, and the funicular ride up the mountain, to the amazing views over looking the city, and where we took in a cave tour – Brodie and Sydney’s first…… EVER!
I wasn’t such a fan of the funicular ride up the mountainside. Being pulled up the mountain in a metal box that was over a 100 years old, by a cable, at a crazy slope (28-58% grade) was almost too much for me to handle. The views were spectacular but I could hardly wait to get off the funicular and back on to solid ground!
The cave tour at the top of the mountain was very cool. Brodie was super pumped to be inside a mountain….. even little Syd seemed to be excited about the adventure ahead. The tour took about 30 minutes, and our guide, Helene, was very informative and had quite the sense of humor. Other than the tour and the views, there wasn’t much else to do at the top of this very pretty mountain, so we decided to have lunch at the little cafe at the top, before getting back in line for the ride down on the 100 year old funicular. I was happy that it didn’t seem to be as nerve-racking on the way down as it was on the way up!
Now it’s totally weird, but during our visit to France, and in EVERY little town, there has been some type of carnival/carousel/trampolines, and Lourdes one was no exception. We had promised the kiddies for 2 days that we would go to the carnival – seriously 2 blocks from our apartment….. and tonight was going to be that night.
Well…..during the day, the carnival had packed up and left….. except, thank goodness, for a couple of the kiddie rides. Brodie was happy on his bumper cars, expertly driving to AVOID the other cars, and even teasing some of the other kids with a “drive and dodge“ maneuver (he learned this from Mike in our parkade…. teaching a 5 year old to drive!)…. all while laughing his head off! Syd was quite happy to go in circles, riding as many different characters and animals on the ride that she could on the carousel. “Just one more ride….. please“, well this too eventually had to come to an end…… and you know what…… it never seemed to end on a high note….. no matter what!
Oh little Syd……. sometimes you can be just too much….the tears, the drama, all over nothing…… but…….. we love you more than anything!
The Monday in Lourdes we woke up to beautiful blue skies and what we had planned as our laundry day…… Boo! We found an amazing coin laundry place not far from our apartment (I, at this point was missing our Paris apartment and its washer and dryer!) and we headed there first thing. The laundromat turned out to be one of those industrial type of washer/dryers places. I had ALL our laundry in 3 washers and then put it ALL…. yes ALL…. in one crazy huge dryer. The clothes were dry in 40 minutes! Totally awesome, we had it all done in record time and we were now heading to the Col du Tourmalet, to scope out our ” Le Tour de France” watching position, and head up the Pic du Midi for stunning views of the Pyrenees mountains.
We ended up spending quite a bit of time in Luz St. Sauveur on our way up the mountainside. Turns out they had trampolines and a carousel! REALLY…. I’m just sooooooo surprised by this!
Brodie was in total heaven, bouncing around in the Pyrenees, and Syd was pretty happy, once again to go in circles! We then made our way up the ever more crowded Col du Tourmalet as everyone was staking their coveted spot for when Le Tour was passing through in 2 days time. We decided to stop half-way up the mountain since Syd was starting to go a little crazy in the car (she builds up to her meltdowns in increments, so you can see them coming a mile away). Both kids loved the cows and sheep on previous stops on the mountain, so Mike thought this would be another great adventure.
We were at a ski lift spot on the mountain, as well as an area that looked like they gave kids lessons since there was one of those “moving carpets”. The cows and sheep graze relatively freely on the mountain however there are these little electric fences put up so the cows don’t go past a certain area. Well….. Mike thought it was a great idea to hop this little electric fence with both kiddies and go and visit one of these nice little dairy cows, that were wearing GINOURMOUS bells around their necks, grazing on the mountainside. I followed a bit behind, swearing at myself for being a “scardey cat”, and eventually hopping over the little fence, joining Brodie at the end of the “magic carpet”. Mike ventured off into the field with Syd in his arms to go and visit a French cow!
To say that this particular cow (with horns…. now…..does that make it a bull) was not happy to see Mike would be an understatement. The cow turned to face Mike did this weird little “hop” and made a crazy swipe with its horns at Mike and Syd. The cow caught Mikes hand with his horn as he turned Syd away. To say that we were relieved that the cow didn’t charge the two of them (because he SOOOOOOO could have) would be an understatement! It was scary for Mike, Brodie and myself all while little Syd took it in stride, feeling safe in Daddies arms. We are pretty lucky that the cow/bull didn’t charge Mike….. the day would have ended right then and there, on a completely different note! Guess the electric fence was there to keep the cows in…….. and the tourists OUT!
With Mikes aching hand, and another half of the mountain to go, we hopped in the car and made our way to Pic du Midi. We summited the mountain with crystal blue skies on one side of the mountain, and rolling, socked in cloud on the other….. this, as well as arriving late, cancelled out trip up the Pic du Midi. And now ” I ” was in a mood…. the only thing I wanted to do that day was closed…. Uuuugghhhh!
We hung out for awhile and then decided we would make our way down the mountain and stop in a cute mountainside town for dinner. We ended up in a town just before Luz St Sauveur….. I think it was Estrre but not 100% sure. The restaurant was right on the side of the road that the tour would be passing through in 2 short days. Dinner was great, but both kids were crabby, so we ended up playing in the park across the street before heading back in the car for Lourdes.
Tuesday had bright blue skies again and we were definitely gonna make it up the Pic du Midi…. without question! Mike wanted to cycle up the Col du Tourmalet in the sunshine so we packed the bike, a change of clothes, and headed to Luz St Sauveur to drop Mike off. The kiddies and I hung out in our FAVORITE mountain town, for some bouncy trampoline,and spinning carouseling fun, before making our way to the top of Tourmalet then on to the OTHER side of the mountain for lunch……. where we would meet up with Mike.
The day before Le Tour, on one of THE MOST FAMOUS HC category climbs in Le Tour history = complete CHAOS trying to get up the mountain! On a road that normally might fit cyclists and one car, in one direction only, now had campers, tents motor homes ….. all parked by the side of the cliff, and any other spot they could possibly STUFF their vehicle into! To say I was stressed driving up the mountain is an understatement. Mikes parting words of encouragement were……. “DO NOT drive off the side of the mountain”….. and just so you know……. it could easily happen people! With no guard rails, there really is nothing between your car and a huge plummet off the Col du Tourmalet! I was totally crossing my fingers that this didn’t happen! I did make my way up, and at points thinking, “I hope we are 100% covered for accidents” as it was super TIGHT in some spots.
I was relieved to make it to the top and descend the other side until I spotted the herd of cows just hangin’ out in the middle of the road. This sight got ROARS of laughter from Brodie as I made my way weaving through meandering dairy cows on a mountainside road, all while talking to them…… ‘do not back up’, ‘please dont move!’, “If you move, you’re gonna be hamburger meat”.
We found a great parking spot (always a concern when not really knowing all the parking regulations and signs), and then we had a great lunch, with Mike joining us after his cycle. We then made our way to the Pic du Midi gondola…… FINALLY! Wow… it is a far and long ride to get to the top. I will admit that for some reason, on this trip, I haven’t been so good with the mechanical things,….. you know…… those mechanical things that pull you up, or across a mountain. So WEIRD! Anyway……. I was scared going up the mountain, deep breathing was used, and I was thankful once we reached our destination and I was no longer suspended 10,000ft above the mountains by a cable!
The views were absolutely amazing! Wow… seriously, STUNNING!
At the top Mike didn’t really get that close to the edge and barriers as I, and he barely looked around. He hung back with the kiddies till we sat down at the cafe to grab an afternoon coffee “high in the sky”. As we were talking about him not having a good look around and I said to Brodie “Daddy doesn`t like heights” to which Mike replied (and Brodie thought was beyond HILARIOUS and repeated on a daily basis………)
” I’m not scared of heights….. I’m scared of dying”
This MIke Bain quote was reference to a “man-made fence” randomly giving way at 10,000 ft. and plummeting downwards towards death. Hello….. you just took a 10 min tram, with all your faith in a “man-made cable crossing” ( and he gave ME a hard time for being scared on the crossing).
We all made it safely down off the mountain, and it was a day of accomplishments for everyone. Sydney got to ride her carousel, Brodie got to jump on trampolines, Mike got to cycle up the Col du Tourmalet in the SUNSHINE, and I got to the top of the Pic du Midi. For dinner we had the most amazing meal at a bowling alley in Luz St Sauveur. I had seriously been wanting a goat cheese salad just like the one I was served in the “Bowling Alley” for weeks….. and without any luck, so I was happily surprised where I ended up FINALLY getting my salad! We got amazing Tour de France viewing information from the guy who owned the trampolines (and whom is also a ski instructor on the Tourmalet in winter). All in all, it was a great day in the Pyrenees Mountains!
And just so you know….. mountain towns in France, well they totally ROCK!
Enjoy your Daily Dose
Hello….. I’m over 100 years old! The Pic du Jer…. not Mike 😉
the funicular for our journey up the mountain
Here Sydney…. Look at this!
Over looking Lourdes
Funicular Tram for the ride down!
Luz St. Sauveur trampolines
Col du Tourmalet
The cow/bull that had enough of tourists and swiped Mikes hand…. OUCH!
Safe ground from the cows/bulls on the “Magic Carpet”
Die hard fans waiting days for Le Tour to come through….. we are SO IN on renting a motor home next time and joining in on the PARTY!
The beautiful Col du Tourmalet….. and one of the grazing herds.
There is a carnival in EVERY town!
Bumper Cars and LOVING it!
Circles, circles and more moving circles! I LOVE IT!
Hello clean and beautiful Industrial laundromat….. seriously AWESOME!
The CRAZY dryer…. 3 loads …. 40 minutes ……DONE!
After a great climb on the Col du Tourmalet
Pic du Midi
Gondola ride overlooking fab hiking trails
Just like MOM and I soooooo LOVE it!
The drive down the Col du Tourmalet
Yummers …… and in a bowling alley…… in a small mountain town of all places! Seriously in LOVE with this salad!
After a long day……
…… but so not wanting a rest!