In the morning, after my overnight parking near the ski workshop and the contented cows, it was thick mist. Really thick. You could see 10, maybe 15, metres. After that it was total white out. I gingerly descended the mountain pass. Off hand I don't know the height but most of the passes seem to be around 1400 metres (5000 ft).
I must divert briefly and note that there's hope for us all when a computer professional mistakenly hits reply all and in so doing announces to the world he can't spell real English English. You're never too old to learn John! My Aunt Lucy at the age of 84 demonstrates just that, a few weeks ago she got her very first computer and is teaching herself how to use emails. She's doing pretty well, and so far has only hit reply all when she means it. Of course, she's a Barker, and therefore intelligent. In real English, the language in which both I and my Aunt Lucy write, we call them cheques, not the Americanised word checks, those things that we don't really want to send, in either spelling. Now I have to echo you John. Sorry, couldn't resist!
I didn't take any photos in the fog, which finally cleared, until I started climbing up again to explore a lake. On the way there was a waterfall.
I climbed further and further into the mist. This photo is looking back. I guess I've made more than a few hairpin bends in my life.
I got to the lake
This a view from higher up.
and here, even higher up. The first photo was taken from the other side of the lake, looking this way.
If you look back at the first photo of the lake, you can just make out where I took this photo from, it's on top of a dam, triangular shape almost dead centre of that first picture.
You maybe notice that was pretty close to the snow line. Here's a photo of some snow which includes proof that I took it out of the van window.
This is more distant snow.
And a river. Possibly coming from the snow melt on those mountains.
This is a last view of France before crossing to Spain.
Ah. I'm in Spain. Now we're all in the EU, crossing a border carries about as much formality as crossing a state line in the US. There used to be a thriving smuggling industry between France and Spain, the smugglers taking little used mountain pathways over the border but now anyone can take unlimited of quantities of anything, for their own use. The unfortunate smuggling fellows have now lost their livelihood.
So have some others, more seriously. Tobacco and alcohol are much cheaper in Spain, people flock over the border to buy these products. That's great for the buyers. But tobacco sellers in France near the border have lost their income, and their businesses. One poor chap couldn't survive, bought cigarettes in Spain to sell in his shop, he was caught and fined 50,000€ which he couldn't pay, he had no income, that's why he bought in Spain. He killed himself.....
I am at the camp site I mentioned earlier. I said
The second night I stayed in the most amazing camp site I have ever found. And that's including Mexico and the USA. It was beautiful, surrounded by mountains around 10,000 ft with snow on top, and, from my parking spot, I could see 10 small rivers running off from the snow melt, tumbling down the almost sheer sides of the mountains in innumerable waterfalls. The camp site itself was amazing, literally dozens of grassy glades surrounded by trees, there was space for thousands of tents or camper vans or caravans, the glades went on and on, and then there were some more. When I was there, before the season has really started, there were only about 50 vans or tents but some were obviously there for a week or so, they had washing lines strung up! It was free too.
I took these photos in the morning to get the sun shining the right way. Here are the glacier run off streams. It's rather hard to see them on the photo. Another example of it's much better in real life.
Not many campers to be seen. I'm told the holidays serious start the 14th July. I guess the site will be full then.....
Here's a closer view of the mountains. Taken from the same place, just blown up a bit. Now, you can see the streams.
Here's a result. The cold brighter blue glacial run off flows into a lake. I've seen this colour effect in a northern part of Washington state in the USA, and also at a convergence of the Amazon with a tributary in Brazil.
Now we get to the town of Ainsa. I talked to a UK expat who's retired here. Says he loves it. Now I think about it, I guess I'm an expat too, in France. Doesn't feel like it. It's my home.
I climbed up to look at the castle. Nice view. Looking south.
Below, that's the Pyrenees, in the distance. So here in this photo we have the really old (the mountains), the middling old (the walls) and the new (the car)
The square in the old town was nice too.
Oh wow! I've just noticed the size of this email. I've made the pictures bigger than they used to be because more people now have faster connections. Apologies to anyone who has problems as a result. Although I must have another dig. This whole email is about half the size of a single photo Danny just sent me! Nice photo though.
Nearly back home
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