Saturday, 20 August 2016

Adventure 2016 - Part 2

And so, onto Pujo. Which proceeded in a standard way (this year was characterised by a great deal of swimming under water and collecting of pool weights):

And continued with being sociable:

The next day was forecast for rain, and indeed it did. But not deterred, we drove up towards Lourdes with two plans, to be decided once we saw what the weather was up to. We settled on the funicular up the Pic de Jer, a hill on the outskirts of the town known for its mountain biking trails, and a walk down.

We enjoyed the ride up, especially all the little details such as the "crate" for mountain bikes at the back. And then we enjoyed the view.

Then we climbed higher and enoyed some slightly bigger views.

There were an amazing number of massive birds, revealed to us by a passer by as black kites and griffin vultures. The black kites were gathering in groups of 20 or so and then riding the thermals to get them enough height to get over the mountains on their way south.

Then we had a merry skip down 580m of hill, following a fine picture guide and zigzagging through the mountain bike trails. We had fun checking up each trail that we weren't about to get flattened, but probably due to the weather, there weren't many bikers, and we mainly saw them crawling slowly along the crossing points rather than hurtling down the steep bits.

Another day, we indulged my obsession with the mountains with a circular drive across the Col de Tourmalet and a walk to see the Pic du Midi. The weather was sunny and warm in Pujo, but predicted an air temperature of 6 deg at the Col, and probably cloud cover. But it turned out rather well. The car told us it was 13 degrees as we squeezed out in the narrowest parking space by the side of the road, on a bend, next to a ravine. But the walk up through woods, alongside a stream was lovely.

Then the path widened out into a beautiful valley, and then up between two hills where we engaged in a "just over that hill" conversation. I always fancy just getting round the next corner, and not everyone wants to do that endlessly. But in this case, I did have an aim in mind that wouldn't count as a "long walk", but should still give us a good view. And in this case, the path led us to some fun things as well as the view; interesting insects and a herd of cows complete with cow bells.

And my aim, a bridge - Le Pont des Vasques (the bridges of cows!), was well worth getting to. It would have had a brilliant view of the Pic du Midi had it not been engulfed with cloud, but was still pretty good.

And then we took the long route home, across the Col du Tourmalet, down the most alarming hills and through the most incredible gorges.

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