22nd October 2016. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France.

The sky was looking a bit dull today, we got the bikes out and cycled to the Tourist Information Office to find out about cycle routes, I was still hoping to see some flamingos.

The lady in the office looked completely cheesed off with her job, she told me she didn’t speak much English but did manage to force herself to find me some information on cycle routes.   Her only suggestion was to cycle the 34 km route to the next village and she pointed to a leaflet on the events taking place for the pilgrimage.

As we were mulling over where we were going to cycle we heard a cheerful voice greeting us and looked up to see Tim and Indi with their bikes.  We stood and chatted for ages, they’d only come over to use the WiFi so we were lucky we were there.  Tim suggested going for a coffee which ended up being a nice long chatty lunch.

When we’d finished Tim and Indi introduced us to the world of geocaching, it was brilliant, Tim gave us his phone to track down a point and it took us into a pretty public garden which we’d wandered past on our first trip into town but not actually ventured into.  Tim helped us find the geocache and then we went to the one they’d found earlier.

The fair was setting up in the area they’d previously found a geocache and we watched with interest as a huge skittish horse was taken out of his horse box.  They eventually managed to get him under control with some difficulty.

A crowd caught our eye outside the church, it was the beginning of the pilgrims’ procession.  According to the information online it’s “A pilgrimage, commemorating the arrival of the two Marys and Sara to these shores.  The reliquaries of the two saints are taken down to the sea in a procession. There’s a light and sound show on the beach in the evening. Statues of the saints, held aloft by the processional crowds, make their way towards the sea celebrating the miracle journey from Palestine…”

It was starting to look rather stormy so we went back to the Tourist Information Office to get our bikes and said our goodbyes, I do hope we can meet up again when we’re down their way.

It heaved down with rain in the evening and the light and sound show didn’t take place so we stayed snuggled up in our warm, dry van.

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