Travelled : 27 miles to Col du Tourmalet in the Central Pyrenees
Visited : Cirque de Gavarnie.
Stayed : Col du Tourmalet, free carpark, no service, view to die for, N 42.54.528, E 000.78.772
Expenses : 31 days @ €77 per day
Must have rained during the night as it’s quite wet around the camper car in Gedre this morning, but the sun is up and the sky is a brilliant blue. Another cold night, but a T-shirt day as it turns out. We walk over to the tourist office just after 9, get some information on the hike to the Cirque de Gavernie and use the free internet to download the papers and post a blog.
It’s only about 9 kilometres to Gavarnie and the opportunity to pay €7 for parking. Camper cars can stay overnight for that amount, but we plan to move on. The Cirque is a natural amphitheatre formed by glacier and waterfalls from the surrounding peaks, all of which are over 3000 metres. It’s not an easy walk although it starts out that way. The second section of the walk from the chalet to the base of the falls was a hard uphill climb in loose rock.
Anyway the views were breathtaking and the whole walk takes around 4 hours. We were happy to be back in the Hymer with our feet up for half an hour. Anyway we need to be in Toulouse on Friday, so we decide to drive on into the next valley in search of Pam’s favourite Type of Aire, free ! We drive north to Luz-Saint-Sauveur before turning east and climbing again toward the Pic du Midi de Bigorre.
At around 1600 metres the road narrows, there are no barriers and it’s steep. There are large machines at work in various spots on the mountain. I don’t know what there doing and the Hymer and I are working hard getting up the hill and finding spots to safely pass the other odd truck or bus. Fifty metres from the top of Col du Tourmalet, we find a stop/go man with a signal who makes us stop on a hairpin bend. I had managed to keep the Hymer pulling well in second or third till then. So with Pam having suddenly gone quiet, we sit in the Hymer on an impossible steep hairpin bend, when our friend with the sign says GO.
Calmly doing our best handbrake start to Hymer eases over Col du Tourmalet at 2115 metres and into the carpark. The view is stunning and we call it quits.
Michael and Pam