Die restlichen Pyrenäen (The rest of the Pyrenees)

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Equipped with a packed lunch of the lovely hostel warden Monique, whose heart still longed for Brazil, I headed for the pyrenees once more. Already before arriving Lourdes, I knew that with one crossing I would not have done them justice. The route I’ve picked from the map was one of the few crossings without any tunnel, but it counted with seven mountain passes, five of them in the Hautes-Pyrénées on the way to Seu d’Urgell and two in the Pyrénées Orientales on the way back to France. It turned out that the first two passes, Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde belonged to a part of the Tour de France: the road was marked with encouraging phrases and crowds of passionated racers attacked the hillsides à la E.Merckx. But I didn‘ meet a single touring biker. The forth pass, Bonaigua, with 2072m the highest one, showed me its teeth: just after the top, the sky opened all its watergates. In situations like these, you may don what you have, two jackets, rain pants, gloves, but it doesn’t help, the wetness gets to the bones. The wind whips you the freezing rain into the face, your knees start to shover, your reasoning slows down and focuses on one thing: get out of here. Your dumb hands clench the handle bars, you slide down among the streams and eventually you come out of the clouds and the sun smiles again. I did not camp out that night.
Even though it kept to be rainy all these days, I had more luck on the next passes. And I happened to think that there is probably nothing more joyful in the world than sailing down these beautiful green hills. Maybe climbing them.

From Lourdes to the last Col de Lineas, I’ve cycled for 489km and 8.026 height meters.
Karte folgt.