Today is Sunday and we celebrate with a breakfast of fresh croissants and petit pains au chocolat. Even though the autumn officially started two days ago, it is sunny and warm, as it has been for the past 3 months.

The lady at the tourist office of Tarbes gave us a map of the district (Haute Pyrénées), and we use it to explore our new surroundings. With Molly on the seat between us (proving once again that we made the right choice when we bought the Opel Vivaro), we follow the road along the river Adour.

Driving through Bourg and Tarbes, which we already know, we pass through Soues, Montgaillard, Trébons, Pouzac and Bagnières-de-Bigorre. Here, we visit an oldtimer show. It is with much pleasure that we listen to the locals talking in their particular French accent.

A modern age 2CV

There’s a man who has enhanced his 2CV. He proudly and with a big sense of humor shows off the reversing light and the extra indicator lights for left and right turns. Highlight of his show, however, are the headlights that turn when he turns the steering wheel. His public roars with laughter when they see it.

A scary moment

We’re strolling along the cars as, all of a sudden, Molly is off the leash and moving away from us. There’s a road at only a couple of meters from the field where the oldtimers are, so we are very alarmed. But we both keep our cool, call out to her and manage to catch her when she sits down between two parked cars. Her collar is made for bigger dogs and she can easily wriggle out of it. So we put the leash through and around the collar to prevent her from repeating the act. She’s clearly not used to places with lots of people, and it makes her uncomfortable.

Once we’ve seen all the oldtimers, we cross the road to see the flea market there, but there’s nothing of interest for us, so we’re quickly done and back in the car. We continue on our way and take a right turn after Beaudéan to follow the river Adour de Lesponne, which we follow through Lesponne and beyond, as far as we can. It’s a beautiful road that brings us to the foot of the Pyrenees.

Cascades, mushrooms and free roaming horses

We end up at a spacious area where we park the car (we’re not the only ones) and start walking. Walking up a path along the Adour de Lesponne, the higher we get, the more enchanting the scenery becomes. We hike up a path that crosses the water at a small cascade and start looking for mushrooms.

Molly has a great time, roaming free whilst always keeping an eye on us. She will come when called and never wanders far. Even when she sees a dog she wants to follow, calling her name once suffices to make her turn in her tracks and rejoin us.

We find several different kinds of mushrooms that Christophe thinks are edible. As we descend further along the Adour, we stumble upon 4 big horses roaming free along the trees. Now there’s a horse-worthy life for you! They are really gentle giants. Two of them come and say hi to us as their paths cross ours. They allow us to briefly stroke them before they move on.

Poupées de Campan

After one and a half hours on foot, we return to the car and drive back to the intersection where we turn right. We drive through Campan and Sainte-Marie-de-Campan where they have arranged man high puppets that, from the distance, look like real people. Christophe manages to photograph some of them:

Col d’Aspin

We drive on and up, until we reach the Col d’Aspin. The drive up there is beautiful and we make a dozen stops to photograph the houses along the road. On the Col d’Aspin, we have a magnificent view. The sky is clear, the sun is shining, and we can see for many kilometers in every direction. Another tourist up there takes some pictures of us, and we of him and his wife. This kind of exchange is rather common and enjoyable.

We cannot stay there forever, so once we have taken our fill of the views, we turn and leisurely drive back home. Christophe prepares a delicious dinner with the mushrooms we collected, and we look back on a wonder filled day.

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