Pages: 1 [2]  All   Go Down
Print

Topic: Easter in the Pyrenees  (Read 6509 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 55
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 14814

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2016, 05:28:41 PM »

We were entering a steep, mountainous area and the road was narrow and twisting - and full of traffic. But the views outweighed any inconvenience that the cars brought on. Hillside villages and trestles lined the roadway, and in between those were steep, tree-covered mountains.


Sirach, France


Walled town of Villefranche



The drivers were getting crazy. So many people trying to make insane passes and shoving themselves in front of other cars. We did our best to stay out of the way, but too many times the cars expected us to pass on corners that were inappropriate and then they drove slowly when it was impossible to pass. It was with relief when we reached a point where the traffic thinned and it was just us.



We found the hotel but only through the wonders of technology. I had an address in the town of Font-Romeu but the street would not show up on my GPS. So while I was still enjoying the comfort of my couch I did a Google map search, which at least showed the road. I used Street View to look at the corner, found a building and moved the camera around until I could see an house number. I then put this address into my GPS, knowing that when I got there in person I could look for the hotel signs I saw on Street View. Hooray for the digital age!

We parked the bikes and took in the view: it was almost sunset but there was enough light to give us a sense of where we were. In the distance were the peaks of the Pyrenees and in the foreground was the Odeillo Solar Furnace. This was another item on my list but I admit that I had no idea it would be in our front yard!


Hotel Le Romarin



We opted not to eat at the hotel and instead made our way into the town of Font-Romeu. This was not as easy as it looked on Google (I guess technology still has some work to do). We ended up getting on the bikes, as Font-Romeu is basically one massive hill town, and the town was far above us. We parked the bikes in a little grassy area and went off to find dinner. Pizzas for everyone! By the time we were served, ate our pizzas and paid our bill, it was very late indeed. We walked back to the bikes to go home when Dan called out "Colleen, your bike fell over". It turned out that the soft grass wasn't enough to support my beastly BMW and it had tottered over. There was no damage done and unfortunately, it was the first time in days that I didn't have a camera with me. Looks like I'll have to wait a while longer to get a shot of the amusing stickers I put on the bottom of my panniers.


Day 3 - guess I need to get writing!
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
Sport-Touring
Advertisement
*


Remove Advertisements

GvG
*

Reputation 3
Offline Offline

Motorcycles: STR
GPS: The Netherlands (aka Holland)
Miles Typed: 202

My Photo Gallery




Ignore
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2016, 06:27:58 PM »

Somehow it made me think you might like this: Guédelon Castle
Logged
R Doug
Rain is my first name.
*

Reputation 158
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '06, '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '13 R1200GS
GPS: Clemmons, NC
Miles Typed: 12003

My Photo Gallery





Ignore
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2016, 08:10:47 PM »

Edelweiss!?   We don't need no stink'n Edelweiss!









Not when we have DD and Dan!
Logged
Advertisement



Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 55
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 14814

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2016, 01:19:32 AM »


Somehow it made me think you might like this: Guédelon Castle


That's cool! I had heard of it, and we even discussed it on our trip, but I couldn't remember any of the details - only that I'd seen a couple of minutes of it on the TV a while ago. Thanks for the link  Bigok
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 55
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 14814

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2016, 12:54:37 PM »

Day 3



The plan was to sleep in, except for Matt who stated that if the morning was sunny, he was going to run down to his bike for a "beauty shot" (he just bought the bike, so he's still in the "Honeymoon Stage"). Fortunately (?) for him, I woke up at dawn and saw that the sun was already making progress into a blue sky. I woke up Matt (and Dan too, in the process) to let him know that his beauty shot was waiting outside.

And so began our day.


This is who greeted us last night at the hotel




A better view of the solar furnace

The plan was to go to some local Roman hot baths last night, but because we had arrived so late and it was dark, we decided to put them off until this morning. We packed up the bikes and made short work of the fifteen minutes it took us to get there. I really do like this area of the country...





The baths were in the town of Dorres, a tiny village further up the mountain from slightly less tiny villages. Fortunately there were signs for "Les Bains Romains de Dorres" as we had to travel through the village and out the other side before we found the parking lot. Sorry: no photos, since I had to concentrate on the GPS and the narrow roads.


Dorres cemetery

The baths are claimed to have been used by the Romans, but if so, there isn't any evidence. And while it had great reviews on Trip Advisor, I admit that I was surprised that it was such a small place. Fortunately it was more so "quality over quantity", as the setting of the baths were outstanding. The bathhouse could have used a little attention but it was clean and there were lockers available for my gear.


A bath with a view


Granite bath carved in the 1840s


One of the smaller pools

The sun was bright, the water was about 37 C and the view was captivating; it was all very relaxing. Unfortunately about twenty minutes into our soak, half a dozen children came to the pool and proceeded to play. Despite the mothers' frequent admonishments to stop splashing, they continued to splash. Eventually we decided that we'd had enough of the sun, the water and the kids, and crawled out of the water. My desire to wash off the sulfurous water was quickly squashed when the realized that the showers had no hot water. Nope, I'd be just fine the way I was.

We got dressed, walked back to the bikes and planned our trek to Carcassonne. Based on the GPS, we would arrive mid-afternoon and could spend the day walking around the city. As Carcassonne was rumored to have a large castle at the top of a hill, I figured that we would have plenty to do.


Leaving Dorres


Post-thermal bath ride
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 55
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 14814

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2016, 01:27:57 AM »

Detour!

Just minutes after leaving Dorres and heading for Carcassonne I saw the sign: "Llívia."  During my research for this trip I had seen that there is a small "island" of Spain within the borders of France. What?

I had no idea that we were so close but naturally we had to go, considering that it was just down the road. And what a road!





The transformation between the quiet, sleepy French villages and the bustling, cheerful Spanish town was impressive. Traffic filled the main street, people filled the sidewalks and the market was filled with local goods. We had to stop. Besides, it was almost lunch time; what fun to "stop in Spain for lunch."


Bikes parked for lunch


Llívia







After a quick stop at the market, where we picked up some very tasty and fresh vegetables, we crossed the street for lunch. We went from trying to communicate in French (with Dan's help) to having to communicate in Spanish - which none of us knew. We fumbled our way through lunch - which was very good, by the way - and then fumbled our way out of Llívia. The GPS wasn't clear and we ended up going the wrong way on some one way streets. Oh well - we have tiny little motorcycles, right?







My god but the day was perfect! Just cool enough for the gear we were wearing, a brilliant blue sky and fantastic scenery. And our bellies were full after a good Spanish lunch. It was time to head north!


My fan club


Some skiing was still happening!


Lac de Matemale
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 55
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 14814

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2016, 01:31:13 AM »

Pretty soon the valley became a narrow ravine. We had left the Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes behind and were now rolling through the French countryside - albeit a very mountainous countryside. There was very little traffic here and I enjoyed leaning into the corners much more than I have in a long time.



Oddly enough, for as remote and desolate as this stretch of road was, there were frequent habitations along the way, although to what purpose I am not sure. Often there was a small house or two, and then a large, stone structure wedged between the ravine wall, the river and the road. Are they still in use? Are they just closed for the season? Are they operating and I just can't tell? What are they operating as? I need to do some more research...

Ok, a little research later and it appears that they were thermal spas, used up until the 1960s. These big buildings seem to be former "établissements thermaux", hotels for people willing to enjoy hot mineral baths that were popular at the end of the 19th century in the region. Up until the sixties people would come there to enjoy the sulfurated water from the nearby sources. But with the change of vacationing habits and the construction of a motorway to bypass this road, the spas fell onto hard times. Some of the, however, appear to still be in use.






Historical view of the same hotel



Sometimes there was more of a community, but as you can see, even then the cluster of buildings was quite small.



And for long stretches there was nothing at all, except for the trees, the rocks and the river.










ok - too many pictures. For the rest of the trip, you can find it over here   Bigok   I still have to put Day 5 together, but that should be done tonight.
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 55
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 14814

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2016, 03:33:53 PM »

Ok, all done.  Smile
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
PatM
*

Reputation 19
Offline Offline

Motorcycles: BMW R1200RT 2016
GPS: Montreal, Canada
Miles Typed: 928

My Photo Gallery


On the road again




Ignore
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2016, 04:02:35 PM »

Great ride report. Thanks for posting.   Thumbsup Thumbsup
Logged

Ride safe!
tomss25
*

Reputation 0
Offline Offline

Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: R 1200RT 06 Piedmont Red
Miles Typed: 41

My Photo Gallery




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2016, 12:12:36 AM »

Thank you for the pictures and ride report.  I lived in France as a military brat, sometime ago.
Logged
extrapolator
*

Reputation 1
Offline Offline

Motorcycles: Kawasaki ZX14R
Miles Typed: 60

My Photo Gallery





Ignore
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2016, 12:06:07 AM »

Very enjoyable to see and read about an area like this I may never get a chance to visit.
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]  All   Go Up
Print
Jump to:  



ST.N

Copyright © 2001 - 2013 Sport-Touring.Net.
All rights reserved.

 
SimplePortal 2.3.1 © 2008-2009, SimplePortal