France, Andorra, Spain - Summer '16

Summer 2016 was spent mostly... playing in the mountains smile

We did move a bit, but even then, it was just to another part of the mountains

This topic will likely be the last episode in a while because life seems to be settling down into a more easy way of life without much movement. Well, at least for a few months it will be that way. Travel pics will likely return next year.

18:26

Random walkies just up the hill from Gerde. Lovely shady track is good as it's pretty warm this evening.

20:11

Our butter dish (or what passes for one in the snail). Might have been a bit warm today wink

10:32

Spectacular day in the Pyrenees. Col d'Aspin, Arreau, Hourquette d'Ancizan, Sarrat de Gaye. Lazy 2000m of climbing wink

11:06

Tiny supermarket in Bagnères-de-Bigorre has nice select of local cheeses. Love taking random chunks from here. Yum!

11:20

This looks interesting. Maybe it's beer with a hint of bacon? wink

12:30

Drove up the Hourquette d'Ancizan. Opened the door to some new friends wink Misty but the change makes it interesting.

14:52

Drove up to Payolle for a stroll & ended up parking in the clouds. Still lovely, if a little chilly for summer!

19:10

Folks here are so generous. Another invite for roast dinner with Yorkshire puds & a nice drop of red. Yum! tongue Thx! grin

08:54

Out in the woods next to 'home' with the dogs. One is too shy for photos, the other clearly an attention seeker! wink

14:23

Bit hungover so easy spin up the Tourmalet as a cure. Only 46s behind PR. Maybe drinks the eve. before not all bad wink

17:55

Walkies at Col des Palomières. View behind to the North as you can't see the mountains to the South from here. Doh!

12:31

Bit of a traffic jam out riding today. Well, traffic of the bovine kind wink Glorious day up the Hourquette & Aspin! smile

12:35

Unlucky with a couple of punctures today, but I suppose there are worse places to have to fix one. Won't complain smile

14:58

Just back from cycling & served up this pre-lunch snack from my favourite warung kecil. Great recovery dish. Nom! tongue

12:54

Today's ride: Something short & sweet. Saving myself for tomorrow wink

18:56

Just out wonder in the hills. Lovely evening for it smile

19:00

Walking in tall grass didn't know a deer was hiding here. He jumped up & ran as I got too close (2m or so). Amazing!!

19:21

Ever been so hot & thirsty you'd lay in a muddy puddle & drink from it? What chasing deer for hours does to dogs! wink

08:45

Breakie by the pool - well, the first course at least wink Fresh eggs straight from the chicken coup. Yum!

11:43

Lots of fun at the TdF today, a highlight is meeting Didi The Devil just before the Aspin climb. What a character! grin

12:45

6s off a PR on the Aspin today. Think I could have taken those seconds with a sprint if it wasn't so busy up here! wink

12:56

Coming down the Aspin towards Payolle on TdF day. Few campervans parked there! Not us though - we're down the valley.

13:01

The infamous flamme rouge that would cause a little chaos later today. Luckily I made it under (& back) unscathed! wink

13:52

I often do quite well on the daily leaderboard. 8th up the Aspin today. Somehow I can't see this lasting though! wink

13:21

Another Indonesian gathering today. Loads of wonderful food. Thank you so much! smile Nom, nom, nom! tongue

14:41

Not sure this cake has enough cream filling. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.... wink Nom, nom, nom! tongue

19:50

After a large lunch on a warm day nice to go for a walk in a wonderful, shady, cool forest. Lovely and quiet. Magic!

20:45

Random summer evening view in the Pyrenees.

08:53

Same spot as last post, but this is the following morning. Another spectacular day in the mountains begins smile

09:35

Early(ish) morning walk at the Col des Palomieres. Looking down into those clouds, it's nice to be in the hills smile

18:43

Someone had a wonderful time playing in fields & the stream by the road today. Why dog folk can't have nice cars! wink

18:08

Woodland walk this evening. A little bit late in the year for flowers, but there's still some colour in here.

20:36

Awesome sunburst through the clouds out walking this evening.

08:37

OMG! Woke up this morning to discover we don't have any bread! Lucky this is France & 2 minutes later we're saved! wink

13:52

Another hideous day up the Tourmalet wink Long way round is so much better when actually eating & drinking enough! grin

12:25

Lunch date at Payolle. Special day or something wink The confit du canard & gateau basque awesome & very affordable! grin

14:05

I often ride this road but drove today. Traffic here can be tricky as you see. Imagine negotiating this on a bike! wink

14:13

Let's take a selfie! wink Oh... and another picture of the cows. Because you can never have enough pictures of cows! wink

14:32

Relaxing near Hourquette d'Ancizan. Joys of carrying everything everywhere: always have outdoor furniture to hand smile

15:51

Teenie, tiny little stroll near Hourquette d'Ancizan. Absolutely love it here. It's even good when not on a bike! wink

20:47

Watching sunset over a neighbouring cornfield. Air thick with pollen & insects. Lucky we don't suffer from hay fever!

10:49

When you don't feel like going high, a nice spin in the foothills is the go. Super quiet roads and views like this.

19:37

Relaxing in shade of an old apple tree. It's laden with fruit, lucky not to be doing an Isaac Newton impression! wink

17:17

Wondered into the nearby village on a sticky hot afternoon. Ice cream reward for some, cool glass of beer for others.

09:19

Pratiwi's favourite alcoholic beverage. All the better at this very offensive price! wink #MoreBeerMoneyForMe tongue :P

19:59

As rock'n'roll as it gets in the French countryside: local singers at a campsite. At least there was free alcohol! wink

12:14

Another Tourmalet day. Up top then a little way down the West side for a 'different' - it's all relative wink - angle.

18:18

Think this is a Persian Silk Tree, they seem very popular in this area & are all in flower right now. Very colourful.

19:48

Bagneres-de-Bigorre fete. Few early snaps in the market hall with freshly sliced prosciutto, drinks & other goodies.

18:59

Evening snack: Beer, baguette, roquefort, rillettes de canard. Yum! While Pratiwi went for coffee & cake. Durh! tongue wink

15:54

Today's ride: Cloudy spin up the valley, but as usual, view from the Col d'Aspin fails to disappoint!

17:24

Do you suppose it's by chance that a German beer bottle fits perfectly inside this nice German beer mug? I doubt it.

10:43

Spotted in a local village: nice guy carrying a bike for a mate, or a bike thief! Around here likely it's the former.

19:00

Outrageously good dinner tonight. Soooo good & so much too. Had to take a doggy bag which was our lunch the next day!

15:47

Quite walk down a shady country lane. It doesn't always have to have an amazing view. Love the peace & quiet.

12:13

Today's ride: local loop then up the Col d'Aspin. Because, why not? Mooooooo! grin

12:05

We're staying in Quillan today, but took a little walk out of town to get away from it all wink

19:54

Family dinner in Quillan. I'm not easily impressed by salad, but... that's not bad! Prefer my choice mind! wink tongue

21:19

Entertainment in a little square in Quillan. This sort of thing is completely normal throughout summer in France.

21:37

Deserted village alley in Quillan at dusk.

22:38

Almond liqueur found in my sister's house. Yum! Fun fact: while it tastes of almonds there's actually none in there!

10:46

Today's ride: Col de Pailheres... with a few others to a warm up wink Beautiful & it's another one for horse lovers! smile

12:07

Today's ride: Plateau de Beille. It's OK, but not that pretty. Valley road super busy too. Think I've been spoilt? wink

16:25

Rest day stroll into Ax-les-Thermes & back. Lovely shady path along the river smile

12:32

Today's ride: 38km climb to highest paved road in Pyrenees. Plus Col de Puymorens. Plus Ax 3 Domaines. Fantastic! grin

13:27

Andorran pizza. It might be the middle of summer, but in the shade it's still a bit chilly up here so went down well!

11:23

Other side of Col de Puymorens & jaunt into Spain. Also passed a solar thermal power plant with huge mirrors. Cool!

13:20

Stroll round La Seu d'Urgell, a little Spanish town just South of Andorra. Working up an appetite for Sunday lunch.

13:51

Spanish Sunday lunch. Pratiwi had a big octopus leg that just melted in the mouth. Unbelievable how good that was!

15:24

Random scene from today's drive. Somewhere on the N-260 in Spain. OK - that's a long road. Near Guils del Cantó wink

16:43

Arrive at hot Spanish camp. Lay on picnic blanket in shade. Red walls of the gorge remind me a bit of Aussie outback!

11:47

Passing by Esterri d'Àneu so short walk around. Nice, relaxed place. Late morning & streets full of coffee lovers.

13:45

The C-28 in Spain, climbing to Port de la Bonaigua. Sadly am driving it today instead of riding. Very poor planning!

14:13

Hike to Estany de Gerber, past another two smaller lakes. This pretty high up in the Spanish Pyrenees, around 2150m.

17:04

Entering Val d'Aran from Port de la Bonaigua. One of the best parts of the Spanish Pyrenees we've seen. So beautiful.

20:15

When in Spain... grin Loving this tapas bar in Urtau Arties (Valle de Aran). It's an amazing place! Nom, nom, nom! tongue

20:21

Didn't know what this dish was, but took it anyhow. Turns out to be deep fried cheese with jam on top. Soooo good! grin

20:44

We came to this place for the tapas, but could be worth another visit to try the steak. One of the smaller ones!

21:06

Time for desert. Guess I'd better finish this Sangria first! wink grin tongue

12:31

Today's ride: Port de la Bonaigua. Side trip to Pla de Beret had fantastic views of the Val d'Aran. Lovely place smile

11:29

Today's ride: both sides of the Col du Portillion plus Superbagnères. Spectacular... & the descent is ballistic! grin

12:55

Spotted in a local store: Bigourdan Pin Cake is made of many layers spooned over it as it slowly cooks. Yummy! tongue grin

15:57

Early dinner/late lunch. Kale & rice &... not quite sure what my chef has presented here but it was really good! smile

12:28

Listed among best Pyrenees rides, Cap-de-Long is indeed up there. Literally! This lake is higher than the Tourmalet!

13:21

Lac d'Aumar & Lac d'Aubert. Sometimes I'm asked why cycle so much? The answer: to be able to get to places like this!

13:38

Route des Lacs descent one of most technical I've done. To finish hit up Piau Engaly because, why not?! #EpicDay grin

17:31

After an epic day on the bike, beer o'clock. And what a bottle: Alpirsbacher Kloster Starkbier. Cheers! grin

10:55

Beautiful day for a recovery ride in the vallée d'Aure. Full on 'recovery' too, my heart rate average was 88bpm grin wink

12:12

Post-recovery, recovery wink Cheers from Saint-Lary-Soulan! grin

12:06

Pratiwi hasn't been up this road before but quite likes the view. Maybe she should ride a bike more? wink #FamousClimb

12:30

Another wonderful summer's day up near the Hourquette d'Ancizan. Always nice to stop & say hello to the locals.

15:44

Wondering around in the woods near Payolle. Still pretty warm in the sun so it's nice to be in this shade.

14:40

Walls of snow in Spring, walls of corn in Summer. Just love the variety of the Northern seasons. Although - ask me again mid-winter! wink

10:53

Little trip to market today. We didn't pick up much, but how good does this slab of pork look? grin Nom, nom, nom tongue

14:31

While it might be a little cloudy down the valley, another glorious day up the Col d'Aspin. Simply love it up here!

14:16

Pot of 'industrial' desert with a few added Brambles picked straight from our hedge. Nom, nom! tongue #SimplePleasures

09:29

Breakfast time! Rest day otherwise there'd be eggs in there too. Love fresh bread & croissant in the morning. Yum! tongue

19:13

Spotted this deer on a dusk walk. He stood looking at us before slowly walking into the corn. Magical. #DodgyPhonePic

19:18

Evening walk between the cornfields. Val d'Adour, French Pyrenees.

12:45

Top of Hautacam: Blue skies & views for miles! Well, it's the Col de Tramassel actually, but you knew that, right? wink

12:05

After yesterday some recovery needed so gentle spin to the Hourquette. If you call 1000m+ climb up here recovery wink

13:59

Glass of rosé with lunch. In a beer glass. Because that's just how classy I am wink Cheers! grin

10:59

Spotted in local motorhome dealer: 'Crossover' model of our snail. Think it takes bit more than fat tyres though! tongue

12:56

Quick lunch stop. Tried Parisienne Bruschetta to discover it's cheese on toast with ham! wink Very nice though. Nom! tongue

21:00

A full fridge. And yes, light inside is blue so our whole place looks funky if no others on when you open the door smile

09:52

Bit of exploration & finding the limit of what's marked as a road. Still got those MTB skills, even on 25mm tyres! wink

09:35

Visiting the market hall in Tarbes. So... here's the obligatory 'piles of bread & cheese' pictures! wink

11:28

Eating figs straight off the tree. Yum! And... erm... nom, nom, nom, nom! tongue

12:57

Another difficult day in Southern France wink Hanging with friends while they force food & drink on us. Thanks guys! grin

07:57

First snow of the season fell on the Pic du Midi couple days back & more yesterday by the looks. #ViewFromOurDoorstep

07:58

It might not officially be Autumn for a few days yet, but it's certainly coming. Beautiful colours this morning.

13:56

Gathering for a birthday celebration in Toulouse. Lots of Indonesian food & french gateaux. Oh yes! Nom, nom, nom! tongue