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Old 02-09-2015, 02:46 PM   #1
BuellriderCZ OP
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Idle Traveller goes from Prague to Pyrenees, summer 2014

Some pics from my trip to south, better will not post long stories, as you can read, my English is quite bad. Sorry for that...



It was quite bad weather in August in middle Europe, Alps seems to be quite stormy in next weeks, so I decided to go much more south. I had three weeks free and no any plan of the route.

Few days ago I read a book "The Idle Traveler" by Dan Kieran, which perfectly meets my concept of traveling. I am usually not in a hurry, do a lot of stops, find some scenes for pics and enjoying "genius loci".

I ran over Lichtenstein (there is absolutely nothing but traffic jams in this little country!) and Switzerland in heavy rain, so that was not an ideal start.

Over San Bernardino, Nufenenpass to Brig...







I have found an hotel few miles from Brig up in mountains with wonderful evening view from beer in restaurant...



Route from Brig to the west - Martigny is one of most boring in Switzerland. Each few miles there is some village or city and it is said that their traffic cops are one of the most strict in the world. So you have to ride 50 / 80 km/h most of the day...

There was a little bit of sun in Martigny, but bikers, coming down from mountains warn me before heavy rain up there... And they were right.



Next morning I woke up near lake, situated south from Grenoble. It looks as a beautiful day. Windsurfer started training their tricks, few men jumped into the water without neoprene and I was studying a map, looking for green-line-marked "scenic" routes.



And found some! Small routes south-west direction from Grenoble, through town named "Die" to Aubenas offered nice sceneries all around the way.







Day seemed to be perfect, even when I want a picture of nice bridge, there was a train approaching just in time.



The route led through rocks, tunnels, hills and passes...







Met a man who had beautiful old house right on pass with wonderful view to the valley. He collects old French little cars and make me short tour in his garages...


In the evening, when I was absolutely lost and planed to camp somewhere in forest, I found a smallest camp in the world by the river in the middle of mountains, where GPS says that there are no camps about 50 kilometers around. There was an instruction - you have to make payment in local bar and then do whatever you want. In the bar there were three men, probably 50% of whole population of city called "Luc". Nice place!






Next day I rode across some passes and joined the river Tarn and copied its route to the sout-west through beautiful canyon. There were a lot of small cities, built on banks of river, some abandoned and crumbling, some restored and crowded with restaurants and advertising signs. I like abandoned ones...

























There were a lot of kayaks in whole canyon and about three camps in each larger village. Almost each of them were quite full. With some luck I have found last free space in one in "Le Rozier" and made a little trip around another canyon of the river La Dourbie. I made some calls to home and had my first and only failure on Honda - accidentally turn of engine "killer" switch on handlebars with helmet on mirror. It was quite unpleasant feeling till I found a mistake, because all my stuff and equipment were in camp and only empty canyon kilometers around. Everybody were in camps already.







In the evening in camp, when I feel like a real adventurer, cooking a dinner on fire while sitting on my case, I met a guy from Sweden with Africa Twin who told me that he was heading to Africa. For Two years... He has a blog with English notes from trip here.

In the morning I continued my route to south west mostly with smallest scenic roads, heading to Carcassonne. It is a fortified city, which looks like a biggest castle I ever seen from outside and as any other tourist place from inside (shops, souvenirs, restaurants...). Fascinating, more if you are there in the evening...

















Enough for now... Next time I finally reach Pyrenees :-)
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:58 PM   #2
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Looks like a good start for you. The pics and scenery are fabulous. I look forward to the rest of the ADV.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:04 PM   #3
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We loved the Tarn river and canyon. Excellent RR.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:19 PM   #4
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Brilliant. Don't worry about your English.....you speak it better than native speakers that I know !!!
And fantastic photos by the way.

airhead_irl screwed with this post 02-10-2015 at 02:42 AM
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:47 AM   #5
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Very nice Ride Report.

I´m waiting for more.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:36 PM   #6
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Awesome ride, report and pics

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Old 02-11-2015, 03:35 AM   #7
on2wheels52
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Serious photo skills; subscribed of course.
And yes, your English is fine.
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:28 AM   #8
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WOW...What a place to have a beer !

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woods wizard View Post
The place for beer with view is called Berggasthaus Wassenalp and it is exactly here...
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Old 02-11-2015, 11:44 AM   #10
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Great pictures, nice ride :)

I'm taking notes :)
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Old 02-11-2015, 01:01 PM   #11
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I'm subscribed! Great pictures!
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:01 PM   #12
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Story countinous...

I was seventh day on my trip to south, when I finally reach Pyrenees. I woke up in luxury camp near Carcassonne and even in the morning it was quite warm. Sun was rising up slowly across blue sky without any signs of clouds, everything in countryside looks very dry and little bit burned from direct sun. Finally I feel like to be in sunny south! Even palms were still missing.





As usual, I choose the smallest roads, heading to nature park Pyrénées Ariégeoises. It was just right time to start climb up to the mountains, because of rising temperature. First pass of the day was named Col de la Core. The peak was a little bit crowded by cyclist, bikers and hikers, I had to wait for a right moment to take picture with bike and sign unusually long time. But I did not mind, there was lot of scenery to admire around. I am not that guy, who “races” whole day to make as kilometers as possible within one day, I like to look around and observe details of scenery...







The next pass, Col de Peyresourde offered even much more views to rocky mountains around, and that was why I found a great place near little airport, had a snack and simple enjoyed the peace.







In the evening I finally crossed the border with Spain. My first Spanish camping was near the city called “Les”, which means “forest” in Czech language, so it seemed enough adventure place to me for stay over night...




My phone said that next day will be much more smarter to camp in the north side of mountains, owing to the impending rain. So I planned a trip across another mountain passes (I cannot even count how many passes, including little ones, I rode across in whole trip) and to nature park Réserve Naturelle du Néouvielle with three lakes above the dam. Day was full of macro photography of colorful flowers and beetles, short walk along a little but fast mountain river with final climbing to dams. It was so little road, that it was quite adventure even pass recklessly driving RVs in curvy section without any crash barriers.

















As my phone said before, clouds approached closer to me and I was in a hurry to find a camp. Made quick road across another pass Hourquette d'Ancizan with fascinating view onto clouds under in the valley and found camp few kilometers away in city Campan.













Next time we will watch vultures flying few meters over my head, wild looking horses and even pair of sunbathing lizards! :-)
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuellriderCZ View Post
The place for beer with view is called Berggasthaus Wassenalp and it is exactly here...
Added it to my list, thanks!

Great report OP, subscribed
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Old 02-19-2015, 01:11 PM   #14
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Wicked Road to the Irati forest

It was quite foggy next morning, when I was approaching Col de Tourmalet. Only thing to see was a chairlift, lost in clouds few meters away.



Next pass, no change. Every place over 1,2 km high was in clouds. So I made my way over Col de Soulor. There was a place, where a big bird was flying very close to the road. At first I expected that as soon as I will prepare my camera, it will be gone, but instead of that, appear another ones. I had absolutely no idea, what kind of bird it was, but back at home, saw some documentary about Pyrenees and I can recognize a bird called Griffon Vulture. They sat on rocks and flew across the valley each few minutes, so I made even some good movie shots with telephoto lens I hope. I sat there over an hour, watching their life. There was no sense to go back to the mountains anyway.















I decided to go the south side of mountains, to find some better weather and new places.






Drove through city Jaca, and to the west, along the river Aragon to the area of forests called Irati. Irati forest is a wonderful place around Port de Larrau, where I stayed for another day, wondering around, over more and more passes, discovering great scenery for picture. One place, absolutely abandoned, with high wind-combed grass and rocks looks like some Scottish islands, another with small river and meadows full of flowers like some castle garden. All made only by nature...


























In the evening I met two bikers from Pamplona and as I have quite racing spirit, because of great road up to last pass on bike without side cases, we talked (mostly with hands and gestures) about cutting footrests on the road. As I can understood, Javi challenged me to race down hill, which I cannot refuse, of course ;-) He was quite good with his GS, I think that car drivers were quite surprised about our mad ride...

And last picture of the day from place called Abauerra Alta.



Next time we will check northern Spanish beaches.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:13 PM   #15
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Very good job BuellriderCZ.
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