Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Saturday 25 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 41 - Setcases (Hostal Restaurant Ter) to Beget (Hostal el Forn)

 
 
 
 
 
Distance: 22 km (Cum: 697 km)

Ascent: 1100 metres (Cum: 39450 metres)

Time taken: 7.1 hrs including 0.7 hrs stops (Cum: 286.1 hrs including 56.7 hrs stops)

Weather: the usual blue sky start but very soon clouding over to remain cloudy all day, foggy higher up.

Well, last night's meal was fine - soup, sausage and omelette with the local 'bread rubbed with tomato' specialty, and flan. We were the sole diners in a restaurant for over 100 covers. A stroll around town confirmed that we should never again accept a recommendation from a German named Martin. (Sorry Martin!)

The matron looked a bit shocked when we appeared as arranged at 8 am for breakfast. Anyway she disappeared for some time and eventually came back with a big tray of toast, butter and jams.

Then there was the tearful (well...) farewell to Tobi, who was heading off to Barcelona. I enjoyed our week on the trail together and I hope that after this little interlude he's successful in moving his life forward. He's certainly grasped the basics of backpacking and I'd be more than happy for him to come along on any of our future trips. We will keep in touch.

So it was nearly nine o'clock by the time I set off up the path to Mollo. It was already clouding over. Today was probably the first time since Day 5 that I haven't applied sun tan cream.

The path climbed steeply through beech and birch woods. It was relatively cool and fly free, though I can't be noticing the biting insects, having woken at Núria to discover I was covered in bites. Anyway, for the first time since Benasque my first aid kit stayed intact this morning, so I must be just about back to normal.

700 metres was gained by a mixture of grassy 'rides' and steep 'thrutches'. Surprised Jays flew out of the undergrowth.

Yesterday's summits offered an occasional glimpse, poking out of mist laden hillsides. I was moving quite fast, spurred on by the cool breeze and the forecast of rain. The height was gained, the views were observed (a bit Welsh) and I descended into the hot cloud that lay above Mollo. That'll be steam then.

The lovely contouring path was empty apart from the tweets of the pipits and the gentle rush of the wind. Hazy woodland views lacked the jaw dropping element that would have made me pause more often on the gentle descent to an excellent picnic bench and water point in the pleasant town of Mollo.

In fact the path passed through an area of cloud reminiscent of the stuff I've encountered twice en route to Canigou.

I could have enjoyed a restaurant meal, but I've been picking up random bits of food since Encamp and it was about time I made inroads into what by now was a big bag weighing nearly three kilos!

The afternoon was spent leaving Mollo via what appeared to be a stream bed, then rising through deciduous woodland to an open area with views towards mist laden forested hills. 

A text message from Markus maintained my contact with the outside world - not long now, Markus, I hope you are as excited as I am. 

Beyond a small cave the newly waymarked path wound its way through some Very Dark Woods to the Beget gorge. It was slow going on the narrow, sometimes slippery sometimes precipitous sometimes both path that eventually led me at 4 pm into the pretty village dominated by its church. Whilst the views had been minimal, the last two hours of walking had been along wonderful ancient paths, crossing the gorge by way of ivy clad single arch bridges that look as if they have been there for ever. Brilliant.

Beget has several hostelries, but at Humphrey's instigation Sue had booked me into Hostal el Forn. I crashed out for a while with a coke in front of the Alp d'Huez stage of the Tour de France. I wondered whether Susan and Roy would be watching as they are somewhere nearby in the Vanoise.

I got the last available room (good thinking HMP3). It's a good one. I'll report on the meal next time, as the wifi doesn't quite extend to the room and I won't be able to access it tomorrow as I'll be having a picnic breakfast in the room and leaving before the Hostal breakfast time of 8.30.

But I don't expect to go hungry!

Last night I finally finished The Invisible Guardian, surprising myself by guessing the identity of the culprit fairly early on. It was an excellent read, suggested by Humphrey, and I notice that there are two follow up novels and the prospect of a film adaptation by the producer of Stieg Larrson's Millennium Trilogy.

What to read next?

Today's pictures:
Setcases - Hostal Ter is on the far right
The water point at Mollo
The 'river bed' path out of Mollo
There were vast amounts of these berries on the descent to Beget, I wonder what they are?
Beget, from below Hostal el Forn 

Next Day - Day 42

Back to Index
    

Friday, 24 July 2015

Friday 24 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 40 - Nuria (Hotel Vall de Nuria) to Setcases (Hostal Restaurant Ter)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Distance: 19 km (Cum: 675 km)

Ascent: 1100 metres (Cum: 38350 metres)

Time taken: 7.6 hrs including 1.4 hrs stops (Cum: 279.0 hrs including 56.0 hrs stops)

Weather: blue skies to start, slowly clouding over, stormy after 3 pm

My last day with Tobi. Alternatives had been mooted, but I felt he really ought to experience the delights of the Noufonts ridge, so after stuffing ourselves again over breakfast we reluctantly paid our farewells to Nuria* and headed up to the ridge.

The sun beamed down benevolently and a cool breeze helped us on our way, so much so that despite being ten minutes behind Tobi I was still ahead of 'Brian Time'.

We'd whizzed past a group of French day walkers, past fading Leopardsbane in Eryngo meadows and past horses that unusually weren't equipped with bells.

For a change we were rising through open country with no trees. Higher up, Sempervivium (houseleeks) and Fringed Pinks were flourishing, together with a few Spring and Field Gentians.

Higher still, lots of pretty pink thistles and a silence broken only by the occasional shriek of a marmot or concerned call of a wheatear.

So it took just two hours to rise 800 metres to Coll de Noucreus, where we found four younger backpackers relaxing having reached the ridge at the point where there are nine crosses, commemorating nine monks who supposedly died here after being caught in a storm.

Previously I've reached this ridge from the beautiful Eyne valley, which provides a much longer ridge walk than the one we enjoyed today. But what we got was fine, with brilliant views on both the French and Spanish sides. It's the third time I've been here (HRP and GR10) so I knew we'd soon come across the ice axe memorial that precedes the final climb to Pic Superior de la Vaca (2824 metres) before the long descent to Refugi d'Ulldeter.

There's a very solid emergency shelter on the way down, outside which we enjoyed a break with the four young backpackers whilst a family of marmots played nearby, a small rat got fed up of waiting to get into his hole so brazenly ventured there in front of us, and an eagle soared majestically above.

As we approached Refugi de Ulldeter black clouds were gathering, thunder was rumbling, and there were signs of rain all around. Half an hour in the friendly refuge was a welcome break, though perhaps we regretted that later when we spent the last half hour of our day in torrential rain!

The route down to Setcases is very simple, culminating with 4 km on tarmac that today was doubling as a river bed as we walked through descending rivulets that were washing like waves down the road. The closest lightning was just under two seconds from the thunder. Quite close. At the height of the storm we met a group of about a dozen children clad in black ponchos, trailing up the road like a posse of soggy nuns. A miserable and sorry sight.

By the time we arrived in Setcases at 4.30 pm the rain had diminished to the extent that we walked all the way around the village in search of Hostal Restaurant Ter that had been recommended by German Martin. We booked in, but the place is dead and we wonder what thrills the half board meal has in store for us. Apart from this sorry outpost the village seems quite vibrant, though the supermarket is a bit weird, selling honey and other specialty products, and instead of racks of groceries the interior sports about 16 small tables, each with a carafe of wine with one of those small tasting spouts. Perhaps they are hosting a wine tasting evening.

Today's pictures:
Núria
Looking back to Núria
Some of the nine crosses
A selfie
The ice axe memorial
The view north from the Noufonts ridge
Refugi d'Ulldeter

* Núria has a rich history that time prevents me from relating just now, but I'll try to add some interesting information when I get home. (Unless Humphrey beats me to it with a long comment in the meantime.)

Next Day - Day 41

Back to Index

 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Thursday 23 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 39 - Camping Can Fosses, Planoles to Nuria (Hotel Vall de Nuria)

 
 
 
 
 
 
Distance: 18 km (Cum: 656 km)

Ascent: 1600 metres (Cum: 37250 metres)

Time taken: 8.2 hrs including 1.8 hrs stops (Cum: 271.4 hrs including 54.6 hrs stops)

Weather: blue skies, warm, a few clouds in the afternoon but nothing threatening

Derk joined our team today, so Tobi and I enjoyed the company of this paediatric cardiologist for a day dominated by two big ascents. Petra and Jolijn had found GR11 a little demanding so returned to collect their car from Encamp whilst Derk walked with us.

The sun struggled to reach our corridor between two hedges before the tents came down, so they were dried out later on the lawn at Nuria. Goodbyes and best wishes were exchanged, and a self timed photo of our group of five was stored on my memory card for transmission to the Netherlands at a later date. Then at 8.20 we stormed off.

Compared with yesterday's gently ascending tracks, today's gradient on the steep woodland paths was positively brutal. But it was relatively cool and fly free. I was surprised to reach the picnic spot by Refugi Corral Blanc in less than an hour. We'd climbed over 500 metres to get there - my fastest ascent of the whole trip. We knew we must be near the Refugi as a friendly dog, apparently named 'Refugi' came over to join us at the water point.

On we sped, to Queralbs for lunch, via the head of a long valley and some lovely contouring paths. Various types of potato croquettes seem to be the star attractions of this locality's menus. So we enjoyed some of those with our drinks, with obligatory crisps and olives, in this very pretty village that actually seems to have a life!

Perhaps it's because of its proximity to a significant resort (Nuria) served by a rack and pinion railway.

Lunch hour over, the two youngsters again flew off ahead of me, up another 800 metres towards Nuria. Rather frustratingly, every few minutes the electric trains hummed past, ferrying grockles up and down to and from Nuria. Some of the braver ones chose to walk down the path, but I'm sure they were a small minority. I wonder whether they noticed the eagles, circling, ready to pounce.

After what seemed like and probably was several hours of toilsome ascent up a narrow gorge in the dripping heat of the afternoon, we popped out onto a low ridge at 1983 metres. Well, Tobi and Derk - mountain climbing machines extraordinaire - were there a good twenty minutes before me, but their mouths were still wide open as they gazed at the Shangri-la laid before their eyes.

I'd seen it before from the ridge above, but I'd never visited Nuria. It reminds me a bit of some golf club/conference centre venues I've visited. Below us was a boating lake, beyond which a huge mowing machine was trimming the manicured lawn. A huge building dominates the complex. That's our hotel for the night, outside which is a crazy golf course, a basic campground and a large donkey sanctuary. To the right is a railway station, complete with all the bells and whistles that you'd expect to find there.

We ambled down and faffed. It was all a bit too much. After checking room prices we enjoyed a beer on the lawn with Derk before waving him off to get a train back down to Queralbs where he would meet the rest of his family.

After drying our tents (we won't be using them then) Tobi and I sorted out a strategy whereby we both got our way and my financial adviser could head off to the Bahamas in the knowledge that I'd taken his valued advice. We checked in to a twin room and before you could say 'Black Madonna' we were tucking in to the all you can eat buffet that comes with half board. Luckily my appetite has returned with a vengeance.

Today's pictures:
Early mist over Planoles
View at the head of the valley between Planoles and Queralbs
Pyrenean Eryngo now looking rather past its best
The valley leading to Nuria
First view of Nuria
Window at Nuria

Next Day - Day 40

Back to Index
    

Wednesday 22 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 38 - Puigcerdà to Camping Can Fosses, Planoles

 
 
 
 
 
Distance: 25 km (Cum: 638 km)

Ascent: 1200 metres (Cum: 35650 metres)

Time taken: 7.8 hrs including 1.4 hrs stops (Cum: 263.2 hrs including 52.8 hrs stops)

Weather: misty start, clearing to sunny periods and mid 20's temperatures. Humid afternoon with a short shower at 3pm and heavier and more persistent  rain later.

The most significant event of the day was undoubtedly the donning of our waterproofs for the first time in over a month. Only for ten minutes, but it happened; and as I write this the tent is being bombarded with heavy rain for the first time since the first night out of Irun, so far as I can recall.

We can't recommend Hotel Maria Victoria. We slept well but were happy to leave the shambolic cold water port at 8.30 to resume our travels on an ever brightening morning.

Cloud lingered in the valleys but was clearing nicely from the summits after a night of rain as we found our way faultlessly out of Puigcerdà.

It was tarmac all the way through Age to Vilallobent, both 'nothing' villages with sewn up houses used as second homes. But today everyone must have been at their first homes.

After that we ascended mainly on gently graded tracks for a few hours, eventually reaching the French border at border stone number 500. We saw no other walkers today, but around here we met a group of about eight mountain bikers enjoying a day out on tracks that are excellent for that activity, being similar to those in the Basque country.

Lunch was taken at our high point of the day - Coll de la Creu de Meians (2000 metres). At last, the first al fresco lunch I've enjoyed since before Ordino. Cheese, sardines, chocolate, raisins, etc. It was a very comfortable 24C, with none of the flies that had been pestering us on the sweaty ascent. Wide ranging views to wooded hillsides and a few bare summits - rolling hills, albeit high, rather than jagged Alpine peaks.

We then descended through a boggy gully to a track that led all the way down to Dòrria, a smart but not unexpectedly deserted hamlet. Marmots were still whistling and the hedgerows were lined with bellflowers, yarrow, knapweed and mulleins. Thunder boomed in the distance.

Just as we reached the water point at Dòrria, conveniently sheltered - we should have waited for ten minutes, the shower that provided our first rain for over a month rained down.

Below Dòrria, after a slight navigational mishap, we made our way rather more slowly than Brian (the guide book author) who must have fairly run down the path, to this campsite above the village of Planoles. Excellent narrow paths, if rather liberally strewn with the trailing stems of roses and brambles!

Tents were up before we were bombarded by hailstones and persistent rain set in. Derk Jan, Petra and Jolijn turned up and we later joined them for a meal at the Cantine in Planoles. Not as simple as it sounds as it was 200 metres down the hill (and back up it again later) and involved a search for somewhere to eat that wasn't shut. It seems a popular time for local restaurateurs to go on holiday. The food was ok in the 'canteen', and at €51 between five of us the price seemed fair.

Today's pictures:
Our quirky hotel - note the hat stand
Puigcerdà from Age
Lunch at 2000 metres
A view to Planoles
Evening view from Planoles

Next Day - Day 39

Back to Index
    

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Tuesday 21 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 37 - A Rest Day in Puigcerdà (Hotel Maria Victoria)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A night without diarrhoea. Oh joy! And after breaded calamari and chips.

André, Tobi and I enjoyed a lovely relaxed evening at Bar Kennedy before adjourning to our relatively cool and quiet room.

At breakfast we encountered the first English GR11 walkers I've seen, Ian and Jules. I'd heard about them from German Martin. Their daughter joins them here for a couple of days, so having started on June 20 they will now be a day ahead of me and Tobi. Tobi and I plan to walk together at least as far as Setcases (three days away), when he intends to leave to attend to important business.

So there's an outside chance that I may see Ian and Jules again if I regain some of my earlier energy.

The three of us enjoyed a hearty buffet breakfast before trooping off to enjoy more coffee in the sunshine outside the Hotel Tèrminus. We were soon joined by the Dutch trio, Petra, Derk Jan and their daughter Jolijn. They confirmed that whilst the hotel was good, the night had been noisy. Petra has the distinctive red blotches of a heat rash, so pharmaceutical advice from Sue - involving the use of hydrocortisone cream - was obtained and much appreciated. They are wisely getting the train to our next port of call, Planoles, today. They have a cabin there for two nights, so Tobi and I hope to  see them tomorrow.

André was tearfully waved off. We will miss stories from his career as a laboratory technician responsible for the welfare of moths in Australia (hence his excellent English), African frogs (for many years) and latterly Zebra fish, after the researchers at Geneva University made him ship off all the frogs to the USA in favour of subject matter with a much shorter life cycle.

André also had military stories to tell of times before he managed to extricate himself from that particular Swiss burden, for example Alpine traverses carrying full military gear, or not - as some conscripts just had the barrels of their rifles sticking out of their kit, leaving the rest of the weapon at home.

Tobi and I decided to stick with our existing room at Hotel Maria Victoria, thus avoiding the hassle of moving. The hotel is shambolic and a mess, but the lift works, if not the water heater, and the staff are friendly. It seemed silly to move.

I still have loads of uneaten food that I've carted all the way from Encamp, so my principal requirements of loo roll and camping gas were easily obtained. The rest of the morning was spent on a park bench from which the top image was taken. Peaceful, tranquil and relaxing. Just what the doctor ordered.

Paella for lunch was closer to the diet prescribed by my pharmacist, and some natural yoghurt also went down and stayed in.

I was going to spend the afternoon reading my (reaching a climax - the excellent 'Invisible Guardian') book in the park, but dark clouds rolled in and I just managed to get back to the hotel as large raindrops started to splatter the narrow streets at about 3.30 pm.

Later, it was back to Bar Kennedy armed with a brolly from the hotel, for another nice meal.

Overall, a day that refreshes us - especially me - for the final stages of this quite lengthy journey.

Today's pictures were taken around Puigcerdà, a very jolly town with period buildings, narrow streets and excellent facilities. 

Next Day - Day 38

Back to Index
 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Monday 20 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 36 - Campground by Refugi de Malniu (2145 metres) to Puigcerdà (Hotel Maria Victoria)

 
 
 
 
Distance: 14 km (Cum: 613 km)

Ascent: 100 metres (Cum: 34450 metres)

Time taken: 5.1 hrs including 1.3 hrs stops (Cum: 255.4 hrs including 51.4 hrs stops)

Weather: blue sky start, hazy and hot, clouding over later.

Another night of good sleep with a messy awakening saw me in the shower at 7 am. Shame they don't turn the heating on until 8 am.

I joined the others as they polished off a lavish breakfast at the refuge. I still didn't feel like eating.

Thankfully today's short walk was mainly downhill, but in progressively increasing heat, so nevertheless quite hard work on a stomach that's been empty for two days.

It started windless and hot. There were mosquitoes so we only paused briefly to check the notoriously confusing waymarks. We managed fine. We are experts.

André was savouring every moment as this was his last day of walking before he goes to explore Toulouse for a few days then returns to Geneva to help out his 95 year old mother. He will be back at a cooler time of year to complete GR11.

The hazy views aren't really suited to snapshots, hence few images today. But the views across the plateau to our next target were excellent, and further to the south the wall of mountains looked like one side of the Ordesa Canyon (how long ago does that feel?).

We seemed to bypass a restaurant in Guils de Cerdánya, which was a shame - a cold drink would have been good. Some signposting from above, rather than below, would have helped. Both that village and Saneja a bit further on were deserted. Apparently they comprise second homes for people from Barcelona, who just use them at weekends and in August. They make English and Welsh villages that comprise mainly holiday homes seem positively vibrant.

On entering Puigcerdà we headed, as recommended by Humphrey, to the Tèrminus Hotel. The three Dutch, somewhere behind us, were booked in there. But it's fiesta time, with a fun fare outside. Noisy, and we know the Spanish enjoy their late nights. My nose started to bleed at the very thought of it! (First of the trip - inevitable.)

So after much debate we went up a lift to the upper town and booked into a 'Pension' - Hotel Maria Victoria. €30 each for B&B is rather a lot for our very basic room for three. I really need a rest day, but can I cope with this place for two nights?

As mentioned in a comment, André seems actually quite pleased that he has finally arrived at the sort of hotel for which he holds Spain in such esteem - a very basic room with no loo roll, soap or hot water. And when he and Tobi went out and tried to return to the room they weren't recognised without their rucksacks and nearly failed to get in! The lady boss has been hugely apologetic ever since.

Today's pictures:
A break on the descent
View from Puigcerdà
Navigation equipment
One for our guru, Humphrey, who we thank for his recommendations, in one of which I enjoyed my first proper meal since Encamp

Next Day - Day 37

Back to Index

Sunday 19 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 35 - Wild camp at 2475 metres outside Refugio de I'Illa to campground by Refugi de Malniu

 
 
 
 
Distance: 14 km (Cum: 599 km)

Ascent: 1000 metres (Cum: 34350 metres)

Time taken: 7.8 hrs including 1.3 hrs stops (Cum: 250.3 hrs including 50.1 hrs stops)

Weather: warm, with long sunny periods - good walking weather!

I couldn't have spent the night in a better place. Twelve hours undisturbed sleep without any serious medical incident was just what I needed. But I was still short on fuel when I joined Tobi and André at the bothy to continue our stravaig.

I knew I'd be slow up the hills, and I was. Not that it really mattered as we reached our planned destination a little after beer o'clock, 4 pm, which was fine. I've elected to have a restful evening with snacks on the campground, which I've now discovered is also pasture for an orchestra of cows, whilst the others have chosen to sleep and eat in the Rifugio.

We started, briefly, in fleeces! The sun soon burst through a layer of high cloud, creating a perfect blue sky before some cumulus rolled in to give us a day of sunny periods.

At first I was able to keep up. It was largely downhill back into Spain to Cabana dels Esparvers on easy ground through a rocky landscape with dwarf pines. Up to this point we had kept pace with a friendly Dutch family who are walking part of GR11. They are even slower than me, so despite my slow pace up the 700 metre climb to Portella d'Engorgs (2680 metres), I was there long before they were.

The ascent was preceded by a signpost that said Cap de Creus 233 km. So we are nearly three quarters of the way across GR11. Later we met a middle aged French couple coming the other way. It had taken them three weeks, including a short cut by train. They had classic teenager backpacks, with bits of kit hanging off everywhere. My rucksack is in a minority of one, having no such adornments apart from around the hip belt and on occasions that I use the solar charger. 

I was very slow up the hill, with plenty of time to appreciate the jingle of the many cow and horse bells and the choughs of the resident bird population. A shepherd was moving steadily up the hill, sprinkling the contents of what I imagine was a bag of salt on the rocks for the cows to lick.

Meanwhile, Tobi and André had shot over the pass and were happily waiting for me at some lunchtime lakes in beautiful surroundings. André was wandering around a bit like Sue does - in search of the perfect flower picture. He was seeking out giant examples of carline thistles, columbines and orchids to take home on his memory card.

After passing the unmanned but clearly occupied bothy called Refugi Engorgs (pictures of the interior could be of any Scottish bothy), we enjoyed a lovely traversing path, not without the occasional tree or rock obstacle, that climbed past huge clusters of harebells and hellebores to a low pass before the easy descent to the roadhead refuge on whose campground I'm pitched. They have charged me €4 for the privilege. The hot shower was both needed and welcome. I hope my recovery will be incident free overnight. Stomach upsets can (and did last night) lead to mishaps!

Today's pictures:
Descending into Spain
Only 233 km to go
A view from the afternoon belvedere path
Campground (before the cows, who soon moved on)

I've still no data coverage with EE/Orange, but I managed to send yesterday's posting using Tobi's phone as a hotspot. I noticed a few comments but the contents didn't download, so I'll try to reply to those later. Keep them coming. They are appreciated. 

Next Day - Day 36

Back to Index
    

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Saturday 18 July 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 34 - Encamp - Can Fontbernat  (1330 metres) to wild camp at 2475 metres outside Refugio de I'Illa (a bothy)

 
 
 
 
Distance: 16 km (Cum: 585 km)

Ascent: 1450 metres (Cum: 33350 metres)

Time taken: 8.5 hrs including 2.0 hrs stops (Cum: 242.5 hrs including 48.8 hrs stops)

Weather: hot and sunny, clouding over later, as it did yesterday.

Montse gave us toast and jam and lots of coffee, then we settled up and were waved off.

The morning was spent mainly on more of the same - pleasant forest paths.

The good news: my sore feet were almost back to normal today.

The bad news: I had diarrhoea all night and stomach cramps and more diarrhoea on the hot 1400 metre ascent.

The good news: I'm now walking with Tobi and André who have been most welcoming. It's a great shame I held them up so much today, but they are great companions and very understanding. Tobi met André soon after saying goodbye to me in Sallent, so they have been walking together, albeit at their own individual paces, for most of the time since then (two to three weeks).

[After writing that I flaked out for twelve hours.]

I really can't remember the last time I felt as wiped out.

The afternoon saw us slowly (very slowly in my case, not helped by me stopping and leaving things behind and having to go back for them) move from woodland to alpine zones, with whistling marmots etc. There is still a scattering of pine trees though.

Leopardsbane and columbines put in a strong appearance.

Unusually, there were lots of people around, including a club with their backpacking dogs. They are very friendly and jolly - both the people and the dogs - and even André might be overcoming his dislike of some dogs.

The Refugio, when I finally reached it, is one of Andorra's well maintained unmanned refuges, known to people in the UK as a bothy. Tobi and André had saved me a space, but with a large group of scouts due to stay there I enjoyed a cup of tea then took myself off to camp on a lovely flat pitch nearby.

Then I flaked out, waking only to close the tent when a brief storm passed over.

Today's pictures:
Setting off from Can Fontbernat
One for Alan R
Andorra La Viella in all its glory
The view to the bothy fom my tent just before I flaked out.

Next Day - Day 35

Back to Index