51km of 1840km so far…
After my day off and the steak I had for dinner last night, I was feeling ready to conquer the mountain tops. Even if I woke up early, I had a slow start. Being a Sunday I had to buy supplies from one of the supermarkets in the city, as shops would be closed in the country side. A stop in the tourist information office and another stop in the boulangery for the second breakfast meant I was out of Pau at around noon. That was ok though as my destination wasn’t that far away, but I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be in terms of altitude.
Even if the visibility was rather poor all day long, I could see I was heading towards the mountains, so I was expecting to face big slopes at any time. After a while though, I realized I was cycling within a valley parallel to a river. I was still going uphills but it was only a minor gradient and in general the ride was easier than expected. On the other hand the scenery was just amazing, with mountain tops all around me, some inside others outside the clouds.
I had a quick stop for a lunch snack at Luvie-Juzon in a very nice location by the river. The village it self is very small and quite, with nice old houses.
I started cycling again and it didn’t take that long to get to Laruns where it was my primary destination and I knew there were camp sites. It was around 2am and my dilemma was whether to stay there or attempt the high col which was 18km away plus another 18km for the next village of Aucun. The problem was that I wasn’t sure if there are camp sites over there as it belongs to a different county and the tourist office didn’t have information about. I decided not to risk it and I checked in to one of the several camp sites of Laruns. To be honest I didn’t regret it at all. Laruns is a very nice little village at 525meters, surrounded by incredible mountains and only has bout 1000 inhabitants. The camp site I chose is right next to the river, which I can hear from my tent. A very nice contrast after the horrible camp site in Pau, where the only thing I could hear was cars.
After my shower and washing up, I went into the main square of Laruns to have a look. There I met a Portuguese couple and they were touring as well. Actually Pedro and Catia just finished their trip and they were heading back home in a Spanish city, where they live at the moment just on the other side of the mountains. We exchanged some stories and experience and they offered me valuable information about the cols I wanted to attempt as well as others that I should go through. They’ve done several trips in the area so they know it very well.