Day 2: The Arrival
Our excitement grew as we flew closer to France. Hank kept a sharp eye on the map showing our progress and nudged me as we neared Ireland. "Mom, look out the window!" he said as I raised myself up to see. As I looked down...there it was...the coastline of Ireland! Hank looked at me with a big tired grin. "This is going to be quite an adventure," I thought to myself.
|Lourdes, at the edge of the Gave River|
unpacked. He was quite frusterated that he could not connect to the Internet and gave up and slept. We were told to not sleep more than an hour, as we needed to reset our body clocks for the time change. Since we tend to be rule followers, Hank and I did as told and took brief naps and then prepared for dinner. Dinner was held on the first floor of the hotel, set up in buffet style with numerous stations set around the room to accommodate the 300 people in our group. We were seated with our teams and Hank and I took seats at at empty table for four, not wanting to interfere in anyone's table arrangements. A couple seated at another table looked over and saw us, got up and immediately came over to us. "May we join you?" they asked. We nodded. They were a couple from the San Francisco Bay area and explained that they had come to Lourdes many years ago with their daughter who was a "Malade". (this is the name for the sick that the Order of Malta uses). Their daughter had blood cancer and was quite ill. They brought her here and she was better when she returned home. She was ultimately cancer free through treatment, etc. and they joined the Order of Malta and have returned every year since. We continued to have wonderful conversation as I told them of how Hank was chosed and the belief that his journey to Lourdes started long before the letter was sent to Fr. Russ, asking for a nomination to Lourdes.
|A walk in the village.|