Col de Peyresourde and Bagneres de Luchon
A short but steep day for Ian over the Col de Peyresourde, and a convoluted drive for me north to Lannemezan, east and then finally south to Bagneres-de-Luchon, another town celebrated for its “Therme” or spa. Most of the towns around here are once-famous spa towns with “eaux vives”. Lovely grand hotels, many sadly now closed. Sanitation isn’t such a big deal now and clean water’s everywhere, so these once much visited places seem quite sad and empty!
Talking of “sad and empty”, I had a long conversation with the proprietor of the camp site before I left. He’s been running the site for over 20years and has never known it so quiet. We were the only people on site last night, and nobody booked in for some time. Now we like it like this. We’ve never booked a site and they’ve always been extremely quiet, in contrast to the aires which have been surprisingly full! The guy was really depressed about the future, saying that the economy has put most people off going on holiday, and I didn’t tell him about the situation re: aires! He even suggested that we could do with a war to give people work and prosperity! Interesting!
Anyway off to an aire near centre of Bagneres-de-Luchon. Free overnight accommodation (but last night’s site only cost 13euros), and good to be in town tonight, as we’ll be in the middle of nowhere tomorrow. As usual aire nearly full! We aim to have a meal in town, if we’ve got overnight stay for free, and anyway, we’re ready for a meal out by then! Ate quite cheaply at a local brasserie. Great, fresh food- salmon, fennel, pepper and rice and fruit salad to follow.
That afternoon, I went for a cycle just up and down the valley, a fast 20miles, averaging 14.6mph, fastest I’ve done so far, thanks to go-faster bib-shorts, or pervy-pants as I like to call them, which Ian bought me for my birthday some months hence!!