Wednesday, August 25, 2010

L'Heure Espagnole

2010-08-25 SPAIN Vielha

Spain is not much more than a hop, skip and hola! from our temporary home. From nearby Montrejeau, it’s a simple and simply pretty drive south through the Val d’Aran at the very tip of Catalonia. Once across the border, there are several strips of shopping outlets, mostly conjured up for the benefit of French shoppers, running through to the provincial capital of Vielha.

A number of the villages we pass through have the grey look of slate and flint that you’d see in Wales or the north of Scotland. The walls of rock behind them remind me of towns like Ffestiniog, except the constant stream of cross-border traffic gives a little more life, however transient.

2010-08-26We follow the river Garonne, after which our French department is named and which is seen more expansively in my photos of Toulouse. Over the border, it’s now Garona and because Jean is driving it’s bad song time, so I implant a Knack-influenced High Garona in her head. The river begins a little south of us in the Spanish Pyrenees, and after finding its way to Toulouse veers northwest to Bordeaux and into the Gironde estuary that Bondi and I crossed by ferry five years ago. Noticing several boats rafting over the shallow white water in the Val d’Aran, I wondered if it was possible to float all the way down to Toulouse or beyond. However I remembered seeing a number of points where the flow was controlled by dams and the like, so maybe not so feasible.

Our trip is relatively short, shoe shopping for the kids, and apart from a  coffee stop and picking up some anise-flavoured doughnuts we stick to our mission. I’ll revisit Spain with Munson when the transfer of my car registration is finalised.

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