After about 3 hours of looking around we headed off to lunch and then to find a good spot to watch the tour come in to town. After wandering along the course for a while we decided on a spot about 75 meters from the finish line
. We also had a giant screen just to our left so we could watch what was happening out on the road while we waited. There was plenty of entertainment and give aways being thrown over the fence to keep the crowd amused which was all a bit of fun. Then eventually the Caravan of Crap came through with all the same floats as yesterday, except this time they weren't throwing anything from their vehicles - I guess they didn't want anything left on the course for when the cyclists came through. As the afternoon drew on the drama of the actual race started to unfold on the giant screen with the solo French rider riding out front being chased down by world road champion Thor Hushovd. With every kilometer that passed Hushovd got closer and closer until eventually he passed him and went on to take a memorable victory. Unfortunately they were nothing but a blur for a split second as they went by us doing in the order of 70km/hr. Eight minutes later the main peloton went through and then a few stragglers and that was it. It was an experience to be there but we preferred yesterday as a spectacle. One thing that did happen was we got on TV again. This time we will be on the intro to the SBS highlights package on Saturday evening at 6pm. Look for the 3 Amigos in the back ground at Matt Tomalaris does the intro. After the race finished we wandered around trying to get shots of cyclists and to see if we could track down Cadel. We got a few shots of cyclists including Hushovd and Thomas Voeckler who was still wearing the yellow jersey, but not Cadel
For dinner we chose a restaurant that was on the race course. It was a tight street with a steep down hill section followed by a right hand turn into the final 600 meters to the finish line. They would have been flying as they went past here.
For dinner we convinced Jeff to try snails for an entree and he actually liked them. After dinner we went back to the grotto which we didn't get a chance to see in the morning. There were still literally thousands of people around at 10:30pm, with the last mass not due to finish until midnight.
Tomorrow sees us move on to the next stage of our trip and start our rides in the Pyrenees. We are all trained up now and looking forward to it!
This was our last full day in Lourdes. After breakfast Tommy and I went to the church at the Grotto for mass and then met Jeff back at the hotel afterwards. We decided we would all go back to the Grotto and church to have a good look around. Now whether you believe in miracles or not, or you are Catholic or not this place does have an effect on you. It is so serene and peaceful. So many people all trying to do the same thing or see the same thing but everyone is patient. There are 3 churches here. The original church built over the Grotto, which has a much bigger church built over the top of it and then a much newer and grander church built in front of the 2 of them. We took our time and walked around all 3. We also bought some small bottles and filled them with water from the grotto for friends and relatives.