Monday, 25 June 2012

One wheel in Italy and one in France

Col dAgnelli
One wheel in Italy and one wheel in France aka the ascent of Col d'Agnell/colle d'Agnello.
12 miles up the Queyras Gorge, before we start! The gorge was steep-sided, a narrow,little road hugging the rock face all the way up the gorge to the old town of Queyras, with its 13th century fort/chateau, perched high on the hill overlooking the old town, with snow-capped mountain views in the far distance. We climbed on and on up to the meadows/prats/prads, covered in wild flowers and buzzing with insects. On and on as the road climbed through the little villages of Pierre Grosse and Fontguillard and views up the mountain road ahead. Italian motorcyclists sped by, and punishing gradients of 9% made the ascent feel tough. On and on and eventually reaching the summit, with the sign that you are no entering Italy. Breathtaking views down into the Italian side tempt you to want to explore further, but it's another 25miles back and no time to hang around. A quick bite of the packed butties and off back down the hill, with snow-capped mountains of the Ecrins mountains in the distance. A couple of beers break up the journey back, but couldn't relax too much as there were motorbikes, Italian speedy drivers and tunnels to contend with! It's been a hot day today, 30 deg, but still cyclists are starting up the mountain early afternoon. We aim to be done and dusted for about 2pm, back before it gets too hot and resting with a couple of beers! Ian had a day off with me today, taking his time! Both of us felt like discharging batteries, and felt that it was time for a day off tomorrow, so no Col d'Izoard. That will have to wait for next year! The campsites OK, but too far to walk into historic Guillestre, where we've visited before. Probably wouldn't come back here again. By contrast, would return to Barcelonette, where there are more unclimbed cols to explore, and easy reach of town, from a very pleasant site. Off to Bourg d'Oisan, for a longer stay in more familiar surroundings. It's been good though, returning to places we've been before, and mixing it with new, unknown locations.

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