The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Greeting from Andorra, deep in the Pyrenees

I am loving these Pyrenees (but then I like most mountains).

I left Lourdes early in the morning. It was a little scary getting Odysseus out of the underground garage with its steep, twisty ramp of a driveway, but he was as excited as I was to be headed out toward the mountains.
It is absolutely beautiful in the Pyrenees. They are rugged and covered with snow. That was not exactly what I was expecting. For some reason I thought they would be a little drier and more sedate.
Each curve brings a new vista. It was beautiful, and so was the day--- sunny and dry for a change.
It is open range up there. I got a kick out of all the sheep---

And the horses---
And the cows, too, but I didn't want to stop to take a picture of cows. If you've seen one cow, you've seen the lot (as the British say)
There were hundreds and hundreds of bicycle riders too. The Tour de France comes right through here, but I think the riders I saw were just average people (both men and women) out for some extreme exercise. I was really impressed with what they were doing.

They sure had muscular looking legs. And they didn't even seem out of breath. Quite the physical specimens, they are.

Look at how steep this road is----
The word "Col" means "Pass".
I bet this guy wouldn't be frozen stiff if he would put come clothes on---
I kept trying to find a Col through the mountains that wasn't closed because of the snow. I had no luck at all.
Guess I will have to go back down and try another Pass. This could last all day---
I loved all the waterfalls. There were sure a lot of them----
I couldn't keep my eyes off the rivers. Every valley had one that was just perfect for kayaking.
This was the picture I had in my mind of the Pyrenees; tiny villages in mountain lanes.
I stayed at a campground near one of these villages last night. I had about given up on finding a pass open through the mountains, but a German man camped next to me knew of one that he was certain I could get through---

I asked this bicycle rider if the pass was for sure open. He said it was (I think he is carrying a little extra beer around his middle).

So here we go: up past more whitewater streams----
And more sheep
But soon I am through the Col, and "Hola, Senoritas" , I'm in Spain.
The roads were wonderful, and the temperature soared into the 90's. There was hardly any traffic, and I had a great time motoring along, just Odysseus and me.  I took a few pictures, but for some reason I can't upload any more into this report (campground WiFi is often a hit and miss sort of thing).
I can tell you that the part of Spain I came through is a lot more dry than the French side of the mountains, and so there was a lot of irrigation going on. Corn is coming up, and hay is being mowed now and laid out in long rows to dry.
There are almost no passes through these mountains that are open, although there are several long tunnels that get you through. Not much to see in tunnels, however, so I headed for a place that I wanted to see anyway, the tiny country of Andorra. And that is where I am tonight; in a campground overlooking the city. I can get through the Pass here, and tomorrow I will head back to France.
It is getting late -- 11 pm. Time for a shower and off to bed.

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