|Hiking in toadstool heaven.|
|What we saw all day....just beautiful!|
Ah the Pyrenees. A prescription for beautiful views, challenging hikes, sore toes and knees, friendly fun and in the end, a well deserved Spanish beer.
|Well marked trails|
|Bert tells us how to "get 'er done."|
|The pre-hike instructions from our fearless leader.|
We started our hike today in the Andorran village of Ransol and walked to the Valle de Riu--the valley of the River. 450 meters height gained, eight miles covered and 5 hours of gorgeous!
|As spots in the road for unloading hikers, this one isn't too bad. I wish you could hear the rushing water.|
We started by trekking upward for about an hour and a half. The mountains were great and we were accompanied constantly by beautiful wildflowers. We were told we wouldn't see any fauna (which is true, unless you count horses, cows and an occasional bird and plenty of insects like flies, bees and grasshoppers.) But the variety of small flowers was really astounding.
|We saw lots of varieties of mushrooms.|
|The blue bells were plentiful and amazing.|
|These were pink. The high sun didn't do them justice.|
|These yellow sunflower looking plants were low to the ground and plentiful.|
|An exception to the rule.|
|Paul enjoys a ploughman's lunch at a refuge station.|
We walked past the abandoned village of Upper Canillo. We found many abandoned farm structures along the way. Apparently, the Andorrans were originally farmers, but gave up much of their land to the skiing industry and European "banking."
|We found many buildings in ruins, but the ones in upper Canillo were in good condition.|
|Romanesque Church of Canillo.|
|Hikes in Andorra aren't like hikes in USA...never very far from a cafe....7 or 8 miles at the most.|
|San Miguel. Beer is more expensive than wine here.|
Paul's Ponderings: Great day out in the Pyrenees! We found it a bit tough due to the lack of preparation as opposed to last year when we hiked across the UK, but all good. The downhill was tough due to the slate, etc and the altitude was a factor, when we ended up at about 7000 feet. However, the weather was great and the scenery spectacular. When we got back to the hotel, we took a nap, a shower, and then went to dinner, which was in our case Catalan food of great abundance and some Spanish wines. The distance is less than last year on a daily basis, but the climbs are pretty tough and the altitude is more than the UK, so it's a different experience overall. We do have the advantage tonight of having no loud mariachi bands near the hotel paying tribute to Saint Bartholemew, which they did last night until 2 am! Tomorrow we are looking at another day of hiking, followed by a rest day, which will no doubt be welcome.