Saturday, September 22, 2012

An Adventure in French Basque Country Begins

As Edith and I were exchanging emails prior to her visit last month, she expressed an interest in the French Basque country. That was all the incentive I needed to plan an adventure in an area of France that I had never visited...the Pyrenees. Having Edith as a navigator (she is an excellent map reader; not everyone is, you know) made traveling all the little backroads so much easier. After driving past fields and fields of fading sunflowers, we pulled off here just outside of Fleurance to eat a picnic lunch and mark the rest our route on the map.(Note to self: I will return here in early  August next year to see all the sunflowers in full bloom. Those in the field just beyond the pond were just beginning to droop and wither.) We opted to skirt the bigger cities of Auch, Tarbes, and Pau. At Pau, though, we had to make a decision...visit Lourdes (with all its tourists) and take a tiny, winding mountain road over into the Ossau Valley or drive through the Jurancon wine country to Laruns and eventually end up at our destination for two nights, les Eaux Chaudes. We chose to skip Lourdes and take the easier route.

The beautiful verdant valley south of Pau gradually narrowed as we approached Laruns, and soon we began seeing the rugged peaks of the Pyrenees towering all around us. The road out of Laruns also narrowed as it wound its way up the valley towards the higher elevation at les Eaux Chaudes. I knew it wasn't going to be your typical drive in the mountains when we were flagged over to a stop just before we reached our destination. As we watched, a large herd of horses made their annual winter journey down out of the mountains to fertile valleys below. They were willing, however, to share the road with a team of Spanish cyclists!

I can't help myself...I'm a mule person! He and I invite you back as I share the rest of our Pyrenees adventure over the next few blog posts.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait - and you've picked a perfect time of year to go!