June 30 to July 9 / Cauterets, Lourdes & Capbreton, France
The last few weeks in France were spent doing a few more typical touristy past-times, including:
Hiking in the Pyrénees
We stayed in Cauterets, a winter ski resort and site of a recent Tour de France stage. From there we hiked in the Pyrenees National Park at the Pont d'Espagne, and the Cirque de Gavarnie.
Pilgrimaging to Lourdes
While making a one-night stop at Lourdes, we visited the Our Lady of Lourdes pilgrimage site. Although we are not Catholic, it was still very moving to see the thousands of people coming there with their prayers and ailments and to hear the prayers spoken in so many languages.
Surfing in Capbreton
Our friend in Paris recommended staying in Capbreton at her friends' surf hostel. Although we are not surfers, we were game to try and signed up for some lessons. It was surprisingly hard, although the waves there were great.
Full disclosure: these pictures below of pro surfers are not us! But rather, they represent what we were aspiring to do. To be honest, after an hour of lessons, we had all just managed to stand up on the board, if only for a few seconds.
So I thought that I should practice a bit on a skateboard before our next lesson.....
Navigating the French Healthcare System
Not a good idea, as it turned out.
Once I saw the second elbow on my right wrist, I realized that my trip was over. The paramedic gave me some ice during the 24 km ride to a clinic in Bayonne, but it was 4 hours until the doctors put me under to reduce the fracture. I woke up with this splint and a sinking feeling.
Three nights, some new French vocabulary, and miles of red tape later, we were medivaced via Bordeaux, Amsterdam and Toronto to Ottawa.
Now i am experiencing the thrills and chills of the Ontario healthcare system, both as I await my own surgery and because Isaac also fell and broke his wrist once we were back in Ottawa!
Quite the crash landing, indeed! Still i am glad that this only happened during our last week of our trip, and that we only ended up missing the last 6 days of our planned itinerary.