Last day in Pyrenees for a while
We left Luz after a chat with our very attractive proprietaire of the site, Cathay. She speaks more English than she did two years ago, and is just as beautiful, tanned and slim. She appears now and again, but you never see her doing chores around the site, and the facilities are haphazard to say the least, and no hot water apart from the showers and no loo roll. But she is adorable, friendly and impossible to fall out with. She has just undergone surgery on her back, and desperate to get well again. She asked where we'd been, and said that the next we come, we will go up the Tourmalet together, as she cycles as well. We made it a date, she gave us a good deal on the site fees, and then we left for an Aire in Pierrefitte, just down the road to Lourdes. Ian chose to do the Hautecam, and I set off up the Cauterets valley to the Pont d'Espagne. The Hautecam is well-known for being steep with an average of 8% over 14km and a max of 11%. Not for me. The gradual climb up to Cauterets was a joy, with views up to the mountains dividing Spain and France. The last five kms were tough, with max of 11%, but not too far to the Pont d'Espagne, which is stunning. A small stone bridge, with a gushing waterfall powering down towards it. A cable car then takes you up into the mountains. Beautiful. Then the descent following the turbulent river back down the valley to the Aire, and the waiting crepe van, which I'd visited a couple of days earlier. Yes, two more Nutella crepes to take away, please! Feeling tired after five consecutive days of 3000' + climbs, so time for a rest. Well, not really. A three hour drive took us to our overnight stay to a site not far from Toulouse, at Nailloux,near a lake, with bull frogs serenading all evening, but at least no thundering waterfalls! Then off early the following heading for the Alps, arriving at 3.30pm ish.
The further we got from the Pyrenees, the weather improved, and the roads became much busier! The site, A La Rencontre du Soleil, is very well cared for, but 35euros per night. You have to pay for it being in the hub of the big alpine climbs. Never mind, hot water to wash up in and toilet paper too, wow what luxury!