To Pyrinees and Back, Pt III
Day 14: Lac d'Oo
Located in Luchon valley of the French Pyrinees this lake has an artificial origin and water drops into it through a 273 meter waterfall from Lac d'Espingo higher up. We parked overnight down in the village and hiked to the lake early in the morning but we saw many people returning with tents and it felt like a better idea to wake up to these views and meet the sunrise there.
On the way back down we found a spot below the bridge to the refuge where it was reflected in the river.
The weather was getting moody again and Juan was covered from head to toes.
Descending back to the parking, pleasantly tired and hungry we had lunch in Le Mailh d'Astau which is just on the opposite side from the parking. It's a family owned place, food is good, cooked with local products and cafe gourmand is even better.
Day 14-15: Loudenvielle
The road to Loudenvielle is among the most scenic mountain routes we've experienced!
We were already into the 3rd week of our honeymoon trip, trekking and hiking in the mountains and still hadn't a moment to relax. Where did we have to go next ? Balnea Spa! Through my research I found out how marvellous it was and there was no excuse not to visit it. But before that I had to hike more hills and make my photo report of the village.
Genos is the village neighboring Loudenvielle on the north-western side of the Genos-Loudenvielle lake. It welcomed us with the rainbow.
We had an atmospheric afternoon conditions with low clouds.
Between the two villages we found a beautiful road curve to shoot the camper, Juan had to make several drives back and forth until I got the right shot.
The same road curve in the twilight.
Sadly, camping site was closed due to low season, thus we parked in Genos along the road and not far from the lake. At sunrise I just needed to step out of the van and face a fog fiesta with the Genos castle.
My excitement was over the rooftop!
Fog and reflections game altogether!
When I finally finished shooting, it was time for a morning coffee which I got in L'Escapade cafe in Loudenvielle. Frankly speaking, it was too overpriced and not so good tasting. My coffee quest of the villages continues.
Now it was time to put the camera aside and dedicate the day to Spa relaxation!
After the dinner in the same L'Escapade cafe, we decided to continue our way to Ariege Pyrinees and check out Foix with its castle.
Day 16: Foix
It's a 2 and a half hour drive from Loudenvielle to the north-east of Pyrinees, both toll and toll-free roads are available. And since we were driving in the dark, we couldn't see much of the scenery.
Camper van parking in Foix was full and the only reasonable spot we could find was in the parking de la Vigne. Sunrise viewpoint at Croix de Saint-Sauveur was within 40 min walk uphill. By far Foix was the biggest town we visited in this road trip.
Even though my body was getting tired from daily hikes, it was still well worth the view.
Of course, this hike was rewarded with the proper coffee, quiche in the French café and a walk in the street of umbrellas.
Exactly in Foix I ran out of space on all my external drives to do my daily photos backup, and we resorted to visiting E.Leclerc commercial center in search of electronics department. Thank goodness, they had Sandisk SSDs that came in very handy! If you ran into a similar situation, you know where to look for things. :)
Sunset mission was yet another hike uphill but on another side of the town. The place is called Table d'orientation Terrasses du Pech and it's quite tricky to notice it from the street. The entry to the trail up starts in the small passage from the street and I passed it by 2 times before I realized it.
Peculiar fact about the castle illumination at night - it's not orange, not yellow, it's purple!
You can judge it for yourself but I preferred it lit by the sunlight :)
With this sunset we said goodbye to Foix and headed to Roquefixade for the overnight stay.
Day 17: Roquefixade
Yes, another place with the castle! In my last 2 days of hiking I didn't even bother to change to my hiking boots and continued walking uphill in my sneakers :)
Hike to Roquefixade was the last push. And boy was it worth it!
A view of the small Pyrenean French village from the bird's eye.
When descending back to the village I located a hostel Gite d'Etape de Roquefixade with a small cafe inside. I swear in this small place they served the best coffee which cost only 1.2 euro!
Then something happened. A basque photographer Juantxu, a friend of mine, was inviting us for some beers in San Sebastian. It wasn