Meteorologists predict temperatures of up to 28℃ today for this region. And after today, rain and cold. So we will enjoy what is most likely to be the last hot day of the year. On our TTS-list (things to see) are (amongst many other things) the Pont d’Espagne and the Cirque de Gavarnie. We’ve decided to visit both today. Which makes for a long and filled day, but it saves fuel and time compared to visiting them on two separate days.
Short stop in Lourdes
We drive south, past Tarbes to Lourdes. The navigation of our car sends us right through the center of the town, where we spot a market. And since we have a small list of groceries to buy today, we seize the opportunity and visit the market.
Lourdes has an indoor and an outdoor market. The outdoor part consists of stalls with clothing and other non-edibles, and a square with stalls where they uniquely sell vegetables. Very odd, there are no fruits to be found here.
Dogs aren’t allowed indoors, so Christophe enters Les Halles alone while I wait outside with Molly. Christophe comes out with fruits and cheese for us and meat for the animals. The butcher sold him 1 kg of what he considers scraps for € 1. It turns out to be mostly meat of excellent quality and our beasts will surely go wild for it this evening, and several meals to follow. If we weren’t vegetarians, we would eat it ourselves.
Cauterets & waterfalls
After buying a lovely smelling loaf of bread, we continue our journey southwards. Past Cauterets, in La Raillère, we stop and have a look around. We’re in the Pyrenees now and there are waterfalls everywhere. We follow the Gave du Marcadeau upstream and stop at the Cascade d’Escane Gat, the Cascade du Cerisey and the Cascade et Pont du Pas de l’Ours to admire the views and take pictures.
Finally, we arrive at the parking lot of the Pont d’Espagne. As we leave the car and walk up to the path that leads up to the bridge, there’s an information panel that says it’s forbidden to take dogs into the Parc national des Pyrénées, even on a leash. That’s a bummer! We head back to the car and leave Molly there, promising not to be gone too long.
We walk up the path without the dog and soon gaze upon the Pont d’Espagne. It’s not so much the bridge itself that is the big attraction; it’s the whole picture. The landscape with several waterfalls; the rocks that must be extremely hard, for they aren’t even rounded; the way the sun is reflected by the spray from the waterfall… It’s really magnificent and certainly worth the trip!
Lunch with a view
It’s long past noon and our bellies are making louder and louder noises, indicating that it is time to eat something. We drive back to La Raillère and eat the bread and cheese we bought, sitting on a stone with a view of the Cascade de Lutour. We once more feel very privileged.
Cirque de Gavarnie
With full bellies, we drive back to Soulom, where we take the Route de Luz to Gavarnie. We park the car and hike to the Hôtel du Cirque et de la Cascade. It’s as far as we can go with Molly, but it will do. It takes us over an hour to get here and the views on the way up are already quite spectacular.
On the way to the Hôtel, we get frequent glimpses of the waterfall. Once at the Hôtel (which is closed), we have a magnificent view of the Cirque de Gavarnie and the waterfall, though it is still several hundred meters away. With its 422 meters, it is the largest waterfall in France.
The way back to the car is faster, because it’s down hill. It’s nearing 6 o’clock when we get back in sight of the village. It’s the end of the working day for the horses that were stationed there too, and we meet them as they go to pasture for the night. There’s about a dozen of them following the dirt road next to the river. Their owner follows to make sure they don’t stop underway to graze, but they obviously know the routine and hurry in front of her to reach their destination.
We drive the 1,5 hours back home after a wonder filled day. As Einstein once said: “There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.” We choose to live our lives in the second way, and it makes life all the more sweet.