Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 29 - Monday 23 August 2004 - Stage 23 (continued)
Attentive hotel to Luchon
Woodland walk, then campsite & stocking up chores, plus halftime celebrations – 2.75 hours, 14 km, 200m ascent
A short day at last. Whilst Julie took the bus, we enjoyed a lovely walk on old lanes and footpaths to Luchon, where the path arrived in one of the backstreets! Lunch in the park, then clothes were washed before the afternoon storms started. Strolled along the main street later, stopping for a beer and deciding to have a rest day tomorrow (a whole one!) to celebrate being half way across! So the ‘stocking up chores’ were considered but not actually executed – the next stage is quite tough and remote, and the weather has taken a turn for the worse.
Diary Entry (by Martin)
Nice breakfast at the attentive Hotel des Spigeoles in Oô.
Julie elects to bus it to Luchon and the hotel owner helps to guide her to the 9.40 minibus, on which she is the only passenger for the picturesque half hour journey.
Meanwhile, Sue and I set off along a pleasant contouring footpath in the direction of Luchon. Path number 78 seemed to take the right direction, though we left and re-joined it a couple of times.
It was cloudy but warm, and very pleasant strolling along shady mossy lanes with relatively light loads.
Hardly anybody about - a couple of mountain bikers, and a few other people as we entered Luchon. It got quite sweaty as we rose steeply through a field for 50 metres.
Having left Oô at 9.15, we first sighted Luchon, bathed in thin sunshine through gathering cloud, at 10.30. But it took until 12 noon to finally drop steeply down to the town and rendezvous with Julie outside Tourist Information. Lots of mountain bike route signposts on the way - there are some good routes from Superbagnères (1800 metres), reached by gondola. Luchon even has sturdy, elaborate, scooters for hire to daredevil descenders.
After some unexpected 'ups' and some severe 'downs', Luchon was gained - a busy town - the largest by far that we will pass through. We bought the usual nice lunch - baguette, goats cheese, tomatoes, pâté, fruit, drinks, etc and enjoyed it on a park bench by a duck pond before adjourning to Camping Des Thermes, where Julie had found a camping spot next to a noisy works. And then we had a rest / planning afternoon and eventually decided to stay here another night. Effectively a 'half term holiday', as we are almost exactly that in both time and distance.
The weather deteriorated, with a couple of thunderstorms, before we adjourned for a third walk into Luchon (fourth for Julie) for a nice meal at Caprices d'Efigny restaurant, with some Olympic athletes in the background at an earlier bar, but no sign of any Brits!
Stats and route (Viewranger):
14 km, 350 metres ascent, 2.75 hours