The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 18 July 2016

Day 7 - Picou de la Mire to Aulus les Bains

Monday 18 July
Wall-to-wall sunshine

I'm glad we didn't stay in St Lizier last night. Even with as early a start as I was prepared to contemplate it would have been tight to get to Aulus before the Post Office shut (or, at least before the closing time I got off t'internet last week; turns out it's open half an hour later than I thought). A morning of fretting and rushing would have been to the great detriment of my enjoyment of the morning's surroundings.

As it was we had a leisurely start from our pitch, from which we enjoyed this sunset last night (and a similar sunrise this morning)...

...and we even had time to go slightly awry at the top of a ski lift, where the signage didn't seem to tally with the map. We toiled uphill for a short while before I decided that there was no sensible route in that direction (usually where the waymarks and the map differ, I can at least see that the waymarks are taking us a sensible way). A small backtrack put us back on the right path and with only one more minor ascent our overwhelming direction was downwards.

Even by my standards, I took some very poor photos today, particularly in trying to capture the rocky head of a hanging valley and a large waterfall further down. I'll give you two photos of the waterfall here, but the contrast is too great in both:

With a food shop now just an hour or so below us, most of the remnants of the food bags were eaten for second breakfast. Pain au lait with dry roasted peanuts and Hobnobs anyone? It certainly provided a calorie boost even if a bit unorthodox for second breakfast.

Arriving in Aulus at 10.30, first our parcel was retrieved then we thought we would go and enquire about a room at the hotel. Alas, the only person around was the gardener, who clearly thought us ridiculous to be asking about a room at such an early hour, and my French isn't up to explaining that we were happy to go away for a few hours, we just wanted to know if they had availability.

So we went to the Tourist Office where the gite was recommended, with confirmation that they do have rooms for 2; it's not exclusively dormitories. And that's where we now are. They were more than happy to welcome us in before noon, showing us to a double room, with this view:

The room, which is housed in a gorgeous building, would be perfect for our needs* if either it had one extra plug socket or if I'd brought a double USB plug with us (the main point of getting a room being to get stuff charged). We're spending some of the €30 saved, compared with staying in the hotel, on being catered for again tonight. Dinner is being served in half an hour and it's smelling good already.

(*okay, so aircon wouldn't go amiss in this temperature. And doors on the showers would be good too (I say after a man decided to ignore the two showers with their changing-room-style curtains open and to whip back the curtain of the one I was in, just as I'd stepped out of the shower. Never have I reclosed a curtain so fast!))


  1. I'm so envious! Graham and I rushed through Aulus. I commend you for taking a break there. You have a number of route options now. I'll be interested to see which one you choose. You may notice I found a great B&B in Auzat - l'escalette. That's a good place to wander around - try to imagine it when I first visited and the aluminium factory was going full tilt!
    Have fun and take care.

    1. Whilst there wasn't much to the town itself, so not a massively interesting place for a half day, the gite really was superb.

  2. Replies
    1. At least I didn't end up sitting next to him at dinner. I don't think I did anyway - can't say I paused long enough to get a good look at him.