Pyrenees 2016

We lie in the tent. A great place under the stars, beyond the cattle grid, because the background for the photo was so great there. Wolfgang assures me that cows and horses would certainly not go to the people at night. I try hard to believe that. With little success. Suddenly we both startled. Cow bells. Sounds very close. We look at each other in panic and flee from the tent …

But from the beginning.

The Pyrenees are in fashion. This time we are on the road with big luggage.

We simply couldn’t and didn’t want to decide between enduro and road tours, so we made the journey with the Opel Vivaro and invited 3 machines: I am allowed to ride my light Beta Alp 200 off-road and on the road with the BMW F800GS. Unfortunately, more than 3 machines don’t fit into the car, so Wolfgang decided to take the 690 KTM – the big Kati and the small Beta stay at home.

Pretty packed we leave Munich, spend the night in Clermond-Ferrand and arrive on the 2nd day in the afternoon at camping Isabena.

Isabena was exactly the right choice for us: very nicely maintained and clean, nice staff, an ideal starting point and road and off-road tours, plus helpful tips from the operators, who also regularly go off-road.

We take advantage of this, are mainly off-road and enjoy it very much. Unfortunately, it is very hot during the day, so we quickly develop a daily rhythm: get out of our sleeping bags early, get ready and have breakfast and then start the first day’s stage.

We spend the greatest heat in the shade in front of the tent or at the pool. Late in the afternoon we set off again and go on the next tour. Since the great gravel roads start directly behind the campground, we don’t have to plan much time for the journey.

Besides the camera, the most important accessory quickly becomes the Camelbak.

Besides the tours in the area we also make longer side trips: first to Andorra, later to Barcelona. We don’t like Andorra very much, you can buy luxury articles for a reasonable price, but we don’t find anything that would have attracted us. Barcelona is a bit different: the city has a very special flair.

We continue our journey: from Isabena towards the west and stay a few nights at the campsite in Sangüesa. A nice little village, unfortunately nobody on the campground speaks anything else than Spanish, also WLAN we search in vain. We “escape” the silence with a side trip to the Bardenas Reales, a semi-desert protected by UNDESCO. Since it is very hot there, we start late at the campground in Sangüesa, so that we have to go home in the dark. But it was worth it in any case.

Later in the week is washing day in Sangüesa.

We continue our journey towards the Atlantic Ocean. Passing San Sebastian, we finally get stuck on the square in Zarautz. It is huge, but we find a quiet corner with a great view of the Atlantic.

Slowly our three weeks of vacation are coming to an end.

One thing is still open: Wolfgang wants a photo of the tent in the dark. So we drive back towards the Mediterranean, the climate is drier there, so less clouds. We refuel in Andorra, then we wait for darkness at Col de Puymorens (1915 m above sea level).

While we wait, we enjoy the horses running around and wonder if they are bothering the bells around their necks. In the distance there are more bells to listen to – we tap cows.

There is a path off the road into the mountains, we walk along it and look for a good place to pitch our tent. Shortly before a cattle gate there are a few suitable square meters, not very nice ambience, we remember this as plan B and search further. Behind the cattle gate we find a super nice place for the tent, in the background hills and fir trees.

We set up the tent and start the photo experiments: until all possible variations of aperture and time are tried out, some time has passed and it gets dark. We wonder if the horses and cows are curious enough to pay us a visit at night – and if they recognize the tent and walk around it or if we have chosen a dangerous place to spend the night. Wolfgang is relaxed and optimistic, I have become quite a nervous wreck. As soon as we are lying in the tent and have closed our eyes, we startle at the sound of bells and storm out of the tent. That sounded much too close and threatening. In the darkness we wave our flashlights around until we finally see some cows in the distance and breathe a sigh of relief.

But sleep is out of the question, so we gather up our stuff and walk with the tent under our arms over the cattle gate to our place B. There we sit arm in arm on a rock for a while, take a deep breath and enjoy the really impressive starry sky.

In retrospect a funny anecdote … the resulting photo was worth it in any case.

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