RIDING THE PYRENEES
Well, we were back at Le Poulsieu (our midi Pyrenees helpx base) last Monday. Did a couple of days work around the house and then headed off on our motorbike for a run through the Pyrenees for a few days.
Our planned trip was to Barcelona and down the coast from there but our HelpX host, Michelle and some of her guests, suggested we do the scenic route through the mountains for some spectacular riding and views. We took their advice and at the last minute changed our plans and headed off in the opposite direction with just a few starting directions and a quick look at the map to earmark some place names so that we knew we were in the right general direction to cross the Spanish border over the top of the mountains!
Our phone sat navs are always available (thank goodness for our excellent mobile WiFi) in case of losing our way but we do like to “wing it” because it’s amazing what you discover when you get lost sometimes! We do enjoy the unexpected pleasant surprises …. sometimes we get a few unpleasant ones to deal with too. But it’s all part of the experience and learning curve in our new way of life.
Needless to say, with last minute changes of this sort … all the usual research on weather (very needed when riding on a motorbike) places to stay along the route etc etc, all fall by the wayside! You head out on a wing and a pray and the knowledge that you will make it because you have each other to rely on!
YOU CAN’T PREDICT THE WEATHER
So … 40 minutes into the ride … We hit our first mountain thunderstorm! And spectacular it was! When the rain first started we started looking for a place to pull over to put our waterproofs on before it got too heavy. But we were on mountain roads, twisting and turning continuously with no lay-bys. So by the time we came across a small section where it was safe to stop, the rain was already quite heavy. Fortunately, opposite the lay-by was a farmer’s wood shed with a small undercover roof section. We hopped off and ran for cover to wait it out. Thank you to that unknowing farmer! And boy did it chuck it down! Over an hour we waited for the heavy downpour to stop and the road that had become a river in minutes to settle down to being ride able again.
We rode the rest of the day in waterproof gear through intermittent rain and odd spates of sunshine, but to counteract that and put us in amazingly high spirits, were the spectacular views and enjoyable riding surfaces with amazing corners, twisting and turning, so that you alternatively saw where you had been and what was to come!
WORDS DO NOT DO NATURE’S BEAUTY JUSTICE
The immense beauty of nature astounded us and continues to do so wherever we go. This ride in particular was absolutely amazing! We were enjoying the mountain roads with all its twists and turns and magnificent, breathtaking views so much that we ended up taking a 2 day ride through the mountains to get to the Spanish border! It was only actually about 3 or so hours away from our starting point!
We found ourselves (by accident) on the Tour de France route. We had found an Airbnb to stay at as the day was suddenly at an end and it was on the route! it was only a couple of weeks before the race so there was loads of activity and preparation going on.The following day,after we left our lovely French Airbnb hosts, we continued on that route all the way through to the top and then through to the Spanish border What an amazing ride!
The views just got better and better. Every corner we turned produced more spectacular and breathtaking views than the one before. Words cannot describe the scenery and wonderful feelings that mother nature gives us … totally for free … if we simply take the time to go and see!