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Friday, June 15, 2012
On the mountain edge. Steering into the blue sky.
Thursday June 14th
More pics here
Got an unexpected drive into the high Pyrenees today and it turned out to be a sensational ear popping experience and that even before we reached our main target which was the Himalayan style hanging bridge of Holtzarte that gently swings some 200 meters above the wooded gorge below.
The drive was unexpected in two ways. We had been scheduled to visit San Sebastian but a transport malfunction put paid to that. So we headed east to the Pyrenees and then Suzy, our Sat-Nav lady, took over, taking us off course on the N310.
As we rose into the air on narrow farmer’s roads, in an area where they make the famous Ossau Iraty sheep cheese, the scenery became ever more spectacular, the road ever narrower. Sometimes as you rounded a bend all you saw was sky. Not the time to get dizzy!
She should have picked another road, the D18, which was quite spectacular itself as we found on the way home. The delay cost us quite a bit of time but the trip up to the heights – I reckon some of the passes were around 1600 metres – was memorable.
As we began to come down we reached the entrance to the valley where the town of Larrau is situated. Had to climb again and then down again, temperatures dropping and then rising. The starting point for the hanging bridge of Holtzarte is a few kilometres beyond Larrau. We found the car park and started up a fairly tough path.
Some of it isn’t too bad but parts are quite rocky. Here and there one gets help from “steps” and a wire at the side but the heat made it tough going and only part of the walk is in shade. But, about fifty minutes later, we agreed it was worth it as we viewed the gorge and then took ourselves across the passerelle which swayed rather gently above that massive drop. Phew!
Fashioned two rough walking sticks that helped in the walk back down. Took our time and made it safely to the nearby Logibar Auberge. Food no great shakes but sure as hell enjoyed the beer and the mini pizza. On the way home, we stopped off at a traiteur and picked up some gorgeous paupiette du veau for dinner.
• The reason the trip to San Sebastian was cancelled (for us) was that the tour driver, who started up the coast,”forgot” he had passengers in Hendaye. Another story but with quite a good ending and no hard feelings!