2nd August 2009

After my contretemps with the 'charming' mine lady I headed over into Spain.  I had the idea to stay the night above Bielsa, in the Valle de Pineta, the super campsite where I stayed last year.  But I was too early to stop so I carried on south.  I'd got a route sort of planned, but I thought to put my destination into AutoRoute Express 2007, which is the mapping program I run on my laptop, which will link in to my GPS receiver.  I've been using an earlier version of Autoroute Express for years to plan trips in Europe, you can select whether you want, say, the quickest route, or the shortest route, or the prettiest route.  You can also feed in preferences for or against motorways or minor roads.  I think you can probably safely decide my choices.  However my previous version was not GPS compatible so I had to get a newer version.  The GPS by the way is not a self contained unit, it will only run with a laptop running a suitable mapping program.

So having got the route sorted I can now link in to the GPS.  The map is moved as I travel the route so I now have a moving map.  My position is always close to the centre of the map on the screen.  Brilliant!  No longer do I have to laboriously work out where I am on a paper map. It's there with an arrow showing the direction I'm going in.   And of course my map is the size of my 17" computer screen, it is not the itsy bitsy size you get on a regular portable GPS.  There is of course the option to include directions, so that I can get a voice telling me to turn left in 200 yards, or whatever.  I've actually been using that more than I thought I would, it's not that intrusive.

Anyway I fed my destination into the program and it came up with a route that I hadn't realised existed.  I checked with my paper map, and it seemed OK.  I checked, because I have noticed AutoRoute Express can be a touch generous on what it considers to be roads.

It was a brilliant choice.  But first here's an out of focus photo of some donkeys I noticed.


The route took me through part of the Ordesa and Monte Perido national Park.  Wow!  It's a superb 10 mile drive on a narrow road - it's one way - through a superb canyon.  None of my photos came out.  It was very dull and overcast with a thunderstorm forecast. All the sides of the canyon were the same colour rocks, photos of each side faded into the other side.  Next time I come it will be a sunny day so there will be shadows.  And there WILL be a next time.

It was looking very close to rain - a few big spots - and I noticed a track running away with some suggestions of a camper van parked higher up.  It finished in a sort of gravel quarry.  I pulled in tight to the side so that I was out of sight of the road.  I'm not sure of the rules in Spain about wild camping, but I think if they don't notice you they don't bother.  And then it rained, and rained.

I was very cold in the night night!  I'm used to sleeping with just a sheet to cover, I kept pulling on blanket after blanket and I was still cold.  I didn't think my feet would ever be warm again.  I didn't bring any socks or else I'd have put them on. 

Here's a couple of mountains.  Somewhat like those you see in Monument Valley, only bigger.


And a village.


Ah.  I was telling you about my fridge. Here it is.


The door opens.  Not a lot inside because I have to buy bread every day so I shop every day.  Well, I could buy the long life bread, but it's not the best taste.


I stopped for lunch.  This was the view.


I diverted round a village.


Here's a lake.  Well it's a dam actually.  I noticed it was pretty full.  But a dam I saw in France very soon after was almost empty.


I'm now back in France.  AutoRoute Express gave me a route to my next destination which I didn't believe.  My paper maps had this marked as a footpath. I checked it out though.  But at this point it wasn't even a footpath.  The sign says, Do not enter, Private property, Danger!


However, just back a little from this point was the next spot.  This is where I'm going to park for the night.  It's actually an official camping place. It's looking to be cold again, note the mist over the mountain tops.  Tonight I'm about the same height as last night, 4,300 ft.  Tonight I will use my sleeping bag and will hopefully not be so cold.


The view from my dinner table as I am preparing dinner.  In the background you might be able to make out around 20 horses.


Between me and the horses there was this stream.


On the way back from looking at the stream I noticed this tiny flower, the petals are less than an inch long.


Continue on.....           Get me outa here!