Friday, May 22 - Oloron and Pau

This was the day for our transfer from the coast to the interior. It was a long ride because we had to go first to Pau, our ultimate destination for the day, to pick up our new guide, Gabrielle Doucinet, and then back to Oloron, our intended intermediate stop. As a result the schedule was screwed up and we can't remember when she gave us a lecture on the People and Pastoral Life of the Bearn, the area of which Pau is the capital. I suspect it was before lunch at the Hotel Alysson. She was good and spent a lot of time discussing the pastoral life of the area. She had a good presentation with computer graphics and a projector, and had taken many of the pictures herself.

The hotel is luxurious and the lunch was excellent, ending with a platter of famous local cheeses for tasting. After lunch we set out to visit La Cathedrale Sainte Marie. (It is no longer a cathedral, just a parish church) The city with its cathedral was an important stopping point for pilgrims on the road to St Jacques de Compostelle. Begun in the 12th Century, it was greatly modified over the years. A porch with tower protects the ornately carved 12th C west door, however, the most important feature of the church. Inside the structure is mostly 14th C but the altar surroundings are 18th C.

We spent some time looking at the buildings surrounding the church, including a modern sculpture and then went on to Pau and our new hotel, the Best Western Hotel Continental. This was extremely comfortable with a large room and bathroom. I spent some time searching unsuccessfully for an electrical adaptor and took some pictures while doing so. The French love fountains in their public spaces and they had them here too.

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