Thursday, July 07, 2011

BAGNÈRES-DE-LUCHON Lunch in the Pyrénées

Back in ye olde Sydney – can it truly be one year since Munson’s last romp in the park? – one of Munson’s playmates was the extremely energetic Tilly. Her owner Gill tipped me off that she’d be visiting the Pyrenees for a few days, and would I please please bring Munson down to see her. I’ve had my fingers crossed that the car would be fixed before this day, and fate smiled on me with its return with the slender margin of one day. The 5 hour round trip would also be a good test of the car ahead of the longer trips we’ll be undertaking ever so soon. It would also be Munson’s first real trip away from the farm during the seven-week absence of a vehicle. He was absolutely beside himself when I opened the rear door for him and he could assume his travelling position.
Luchon Thermes
TéléporteBagnères-de-Luchon is snuggled in a picturesque valley, quite close to the Spanish border. It’s a spa town, hence the signs pointing to the central Thermes and the sulphurous odour emanating from its environs. The ski resort of Superbagnères is connected with Luchon by a gondola service, and has sometimes been a concluding stage of the Tour de France.
The gondola or télécabine is known here as the téléporte which sounds even more futuristic than the alternate téléphérique.
I nearly reached Luchon last year on a day-tour through the Pyrenees but was defeated by the prospect of another vertiginous mountain road east of Arreau.
Munson & Gill Neil I met Gill and her parents outside the Thermes as planned and after she had reconnected with Munson, turned to the secondary task of updating me on Sydney’s park life.

We lunched and walked all over the town, Munson sniffing up as much of a non-farm environment as he could manage. Malamute and husky fans on the street were quick to pounce on him and take photos. Being such a polyglot tourist area it was sometimes difficult catching onto the thread of conversations which veered from French to Spanish to English to German. In that case I just smile and get Munson to shake paws.
P1040299-301 stitch
Munson makes friends on the streetGill took me to a local bottle-shop which had an interesting selection of floral and fruit-based aperitifs. I bought a liqueur made from extracts of violet flower, in the hope that Jean could use it to make some violet-flavoured ice-cream like I’d sampled in San Sebastian.

I left Munson outside with Gill’s parents to fend off questions from random passers-by, along the lines of “malamute, malamute, three, no, malamute”.

Munson in repose

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