Ahh well, of course I could’ve been kayaking down the Dordogne or cycling in the Loire Valley, but hey, this really was another best day. This is just how I wanted to spend my time in Europe this time, seeing less popular places and in activities involving the local environment. I have not been disappointed.
This morning as I set off for my early morning walk through this delightful little ski resort type village (one Main Street and that’s about it) apart from being a bit lonely, it was raining. Not a good omen considering how much I had been looking forward to our big hike today.
Luchon is between seasons at present, no summer holidaymakers and no skiers so lovely and quiet, sans tourists with many places closed for the season which suited me just fine. I could explore the area peacefully and in detail.
As luck would have it, after M’seur and his partner had provided a really good breakfast of boiled eggs, croissants and a whole pot of coffee all to myself, the weather had fined up and only 4 of our group felt up to a rather strenuous hike up the mountain with our Cabillero, our knight in shining armour, actually he wears a ponytail instead of the shining armour, and still tends to be a bit of a ‘follow me I’m lost’ kind of leader.
Nevertheless, he keeps us on track with his google maps and is lots of fun, I know he kind of fancies our Greek Goddess but she wasn’t up to the hike today, I don’t think her stilettos would’ve made it, so him and I had a thing going this morning as hiking in the mountains is his favourite activity.
It was a pretty strenuous hike although only up to about 3600 metres, to a pretty little farming community overlooking Luchon. At first we were cloud bound, however by the time we reached the top, the cloud had cleared and we had great views to enjoy our picnic before hiking back down.
There were still many wild flowers in bloom, sheep with bells attached (reminded me so much of some of the best hiking I’ve ever done in Switzerland with Beda and Verna), cows, chooks, many birds, farm dogs and cats, just lovely being out in the countryside in a farming community.
Verna, there were many wild blackberry bushes, all ripe for the picking, I thought of you.
I went on ahead and enjoyed a peaceful hike on my own, time to reflect on life in general as our Cabillero realised that the pace was uncomfortably slow for me and I knew how to follow the signs, so sat and enjoyed the view at our picnic stop whist I waited for the others to arrive. (Lorna, the placebos you and Cameron have laced my Voltaren 50 with to sort out my lame leg, are not going to work, I hope you are training in Ireland for our Camino, ha ha).
Robyn and I hotfooted it down the mountain in military style precision, which gave us time to spend in the relaxing natural sulphur spa in Luchon. It felt so good, I have missed my swimming big time and probs upset the locals as I splashed up and down the pool instead of lying back soaking up the minerals. It was a fascinating place, we were able to walk through hot caves with all the sulphur fumes heating up the tunnels, like a natural steam room. Glad I didn’t miss that experience.
For dinner, we had thee most delicious local trout in one of the few little restaurants that was still open. The wine no matter how cheap in France is all good and again the meals I’ve had throughout France have been a gourmet delight.
Tomorrow we have a 5 hour bus ride to San Sebastian, I am looking forward to seeing San Seb, looking forward to some Spanish cuisine, and believe my Spanish is somewhat better than my French.
If I end up in some god forsaken Spanish jail, which is on the cards as Donald Trumps 1st cousin, one of my travel buddies, has now decided we are going to blow up her explosives (sparklers) on a beach in San Seb, please let the Australian Embassy know that ‘I didn’t do it’.
I’m a little afraid of the Spanish Law at the best of times, but perhaps I shouldn’t have encouraged Trump junior to get rid of her explosives before boarding another flight!
Wendy and Alan, you must be in Sydney by now. Enjoy Laurieton, I feel like I’m missing out on fun times, see you when I return. Enjoy my kayak Wendy, Alan there’s some smelly bait in the bar fridge and be careful which rod you take, only one reel is working.
Have fun Mum with Wendy and Alan. I believe you are almost fit enough to climb North Brother mountain at present.
So Cameron, you were all packed ready for your trip before I left, you must have fine tuned the packing by now with only a week to go. Pse remember to give Wendy the ANZ card and keys.
Time for a big shut eye tonight.