25.06.2012 30 °C
Yes, you read that right....camping in the chilly Pyrenees...completely ill-prepared of course. Ross mentioned that we decided to just treat this as a long holiday but after a few days living it up (kind of) in Barcelona (which I won't describe as most of you have been and those that haven't, should ...it's as cool as London, but with a beach and some weird and wonderful Gaudi), we found ourselves in Decathlon buying a two-man tent, a blanket and some bed linen. I had an urge to see the Pyrenees, get a 'lakes and mountains' fix, and Ross was lovely enough to humour me despite his craving for the sun & the coastal route.
So our road trip began with an immediate detour North, heading for the Parc Nacional d'Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici (imagine trying that one when navigating...I just pointed at the map). As we climbed altitude, the scenery just got better. We passed through lots.... nondescript poor- looking towns - probably once prosperous but now riddled with closed-down units; arid farm plains; vibrant fruit farms and vineyards; on to magnificent mountain landscape clad in pine trees. Blue skies and warm sun, yet the air smelt of Christmas. Neither of us had visited Alpine territory outside of the ski season but it definitely won't be our last.
After driving through several ski resorts and alpine villages, we arrived at the town of Espot and decided to camp (don't laugh). The sun was still out but it was getting chilly and we wondered how we would fare being such amateur campers. We found a fantastic spot next to a roaring river. I knew we were privaledged to be able to camp at such a spot and in fear this may be our only chance, we / I thought we would ignore the fact that it gets cold in the Pyrenees at night! Dinner was a tin of sardines, a french stick and a bottle of red wine (we lacked equipment). Freezing it was, (and silly) but the only thing we lost was sleep, and to wake up to the river in front of us was worth it.
The village of Espot is quaint, afluent and historic with some great walks, but we headed up to the Sant Maurici for a trek. This place is amazing, and certainly gave us a lakes and mountains fix. Waterfalls, freshwater streams, salmon rivers, beautiful azure blue lakes, pine forests (Ross spotted deer), awesome peaks and some very cheerful ramblers on the way made for a fresh interlude.
After all that we are back in the baking hot sun driving South along the coast, currently in Tarragona (but very ready to be leaving tomorrow morning). Next stop, Valencia.
Love to everyone,
Charlie & Ross