Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Pyrenees

We headed into the Pyrenees today as the weather was supposed to be dry. We planned to walk up La Rhune but after we had been walking only 25 minutes the heavens opened and we had to abandon our walk. All the paths up there were clay and it was so difficult to see so it wouldn't have been very safe. We did see some sweet Pottock ponies on our way back down though and the rain eased for a minute or two so we could get some photos of the view and the little train thats been running up to the top of La Rhune for over 100 years. We also saw a huge bird flying over the top of us-not sure what it was though.

Back in the car with the heaters on full blast to dry us all out whilst we ate cheese baguettes and watched the heavy rain again feeling very British.

We headed to Sare, famous for its caves or "grottos" as they are called here, but didn't stop because it was just too rainy to get out, looked very pretty though. Then we drove to Ainoha, a Bastide town that had some very old white washed houses with traditional red basque shutters. According to our guide book they used to painted with Ox blood. The houses all have the family names carved above the doors and lots of the houses/buildings were decorated with strings of red pimento peppers. We had a walk around the outside of the beautiful church, noticing how well cared for all of the graves in the churchyard were, they all had fresh flowers on them. Just outside the church was a "Pelota" court-we've seen these in nearly every village we have been in as Pelota is a very popular sport here. There's even a huge Pelota wicker glove and ball as a roundabout centerpiece!

Dodging showers in and out of the car and most of the shops were shut for lunch so we headed on to the next village-Espelette. A very pretty village which is the market centre for a breed of horses called "Pottocks"- we saw a few in a stable block sheltering from the rain. Lots of houses decorated again with the red pimento peppers too, they have a pepper festival here every October so maybe that's why? The rain came down really heavy so we had to call it a day and head back to the caravan. Another game of Super Scrabble.....

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