Italy Morocco Pyrenees

May 2015

Part 12: St. Girons - Lourdes

Isn't it great when the weather is actually better than its forecast? Yes it is and that's the case as we leave Ripoll behind going North up the Pyrenees. Lovely weather, beautiful scenery, flawless tarmac, what more can I ask for?

Riding up the N260 is so nice but... let's be honest... there's no where you will regret ANY serpentine road around the Pyrenees. The oldest mountain range in Europe is a masterpiece and I repeat the previous comment on any occasion I am asked tips about this wonderful part of Europe. Have a look at my view to Serra de Montgrony during a short stop I had close to the French border:

That black spot in the sky on the right image above could be an eagle!

We soon get higher in spirit and altitude:

And also soon the conditions change dramatically with cold and fog:

Things clear up as soon as we enter France riding on the N20:

The view of the snowy peaks makes the scene even better:

We reach Col de Puymorens at 1915m - too nice to not stop:

We're not done with passes yet - next one, Col de Port:

As we enter St. Girons we decide that we had enough of riding for today. The town looks anything but unattractive:

After a bit of browsing we find a hotel we consider good value for money and I definitely can't complain about my bedroom's view:

What really catches my attention at the hotel, besides the impressive tall and elegant lady who manages it, is this time machine bar:

This place screams "come have a whiskey" to me and... yes, I don't resist.

I always enjoy walking after riding as the latter is not the most fit practise for the legs so... St Girons here I come. The backstreets here look like this:

The thing that defines this town though is its river Salat:

I am not into selfies but after big pressure from my fan base I might make rare exceptions like this one here in front of a cute store:

Buildings of old grace attract me effortlessly:

Next morning we have some nice breakfast before we jump on our bikes again. I have mine ready to go down at the hotel's garden:

We're riding on D618 absorbing the exceptional beauty of this part of Europe on a wonderful day:

We pass these cute French villages as we ride on the D4 by the river Le Lez:

Close to Orle we make a short stop - scenery is nothing to ignore: we go:

When you get a full black tire and your pictures are flooded by green you know you made the right choice:

That's what you see when you ride on D618 by the river Le Ger:

The following one is criminally blurry (speeding didn't help) but I just put it here to have an idea what we are riding through on this road:

One road later (D125) and one river later (La Pique) the view is different but still superb:

My eyes are full but my stomach is empty - seeking to please it results to this:

Lunch view wasn't bad either:

More passes on the way. Col de Peyresourde:

As we enter Garia we accidentally experience the local antique car rally. Such a joy picturing these old beauties:

The town is so beautiful too:

Going up the serpentine on the D918 answers to the 1 million$ question "can it get any better?":

Did I say we're done with passes? No - Col d' Aspin this one:

So many cows up there!

Next pass? Col de Turmalet. One of the highest paved passes in Pyrenees at 2115m. Very cold. Enjoy:

Time to go - that's me leaving this masterpiece behind:

Do you see the sign reading "Lourdes" above my head? That's were we head for our overnight on the last day of May.

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