(leaving the Pyrenees)
11.10.2012 - 12.10.2012
Today started, well, rather badly for me as we had to call the travel insurance to try and find a nearby hospital/doctors to treat my now chronic stomach pains. Hospital located (or so we thought) Jayne went to order a taxi at the hotel reception and the guy looked at her like she was mad?
"Yes, in town!"
Man walks to door and points across the road, "Hopital"
"Ah, right - cancel the taxi then!"
We walked to the building but it was in darkness and clearly not open. Darn it. Anyway, cutting a long story short we found a doctors nearby that was open, spoke to a doctor who didn't speak English, got a prescription, paid up, returned to Hotel with a carrier bag full of drugs! Literally hours later I was feeling much better - thanks Doc!
We decided that it would be best to settled in the town for 1 more day so I could recover fully and hopefully enjoy the ride out of the Pyrenees tomorrow.
Luckily I suppose for us, the weather was the worst we had seen. It poured down all day so I slept while Jayne read a book and the day was soon over.
Day 2 in Luchon I awoke after my first full nights sleep in 5 days, phew finally on the mend time to get going again!
The weather wasn't brilliant, but it wasn't raining so that was a plus. Just a very dull overcast day with the clouds skirting around the mountains just above our heads. We stuffed the bike as usual (slightly easier now a lot of the wine had gone!) and headed off out of town.
It felt great to be on the bike again, it's suprising how much you actually miss it after a day or so. The first road out of town was ok, but then came the col (the mountain pass). As the tarmac snaked and slithered its way ever higher the road became slippery and we entered the clouds which made visibility very poor.
The way forward was made even harder by the roads being covered in autumn leaves just to add a bit of spice!
The brief glimpses we got through the misted up visors and cloud were beautiful, if not a little eary and forboding.
At the top of the climb we were well and truly in the clouds and at around 1400 meters above see level it was getting quite chilly in the wind. As we crested the Col and it began to wind back down there was a sense of relief knowing that the weather should get better as soon as we break back through the clouds again. The roads became drier, the visibility clearer and it was actually quite pleasant once we had reached the bottom. It had been incredibly slow going though and as the next climb was going to be the Tourmaline (one of the most famous and highest passes) we decided to stop and check the map for alternatives.
It was a shame but we really didnt have the time to waste and adding to that the road can be a killer (especially on a day like today it would be suicidal on a bike) made us decided to route ourselves via low passes to the larger roads. Jayne put her Twat Sack on again and I laughed again.
It turned out to be a good choice because the next 2 hours were spent in the rain and cold blasting out motorway miles heading to the West coast of France. The mountain passes would have been absolute misery!
We stopped off once to empty the water out of our boots and add more layers of clothing under our already fit to burst jackets...
but it didnt seem like that long before we were drying out again and nearly at the coast.
The weather brightened and so did our moods as we saw the cliffs and the sea stretching out before us.
We turned south and followed the coast through into Spain and then continued along the coast until we hit a town called Lekeitio.
The first hotel we saw was a 3* and seemed pretty expensive, but after a search of the town didnt turn up anywhere else inspiring (and it was our last night) we bit the bullet and paid the room rate.
It was a great room to be fair and a lovely quaint hotel with a Michelin star restaurant!
After unpacking we started walking into town to find something to eat. Jayne was hungry (as usual) and I was famished having lived off of 4 banana's and a couple of dry crackers in the last 48 hours! But could we find a restaurant, could we hell! Not a single one no matter how hard we looked, just bars with no menu's. The place was the busiest town yet with peple everywhere (and strangely a child to adult ratio of about 8-1!!??) but where did they all eat!!??
Then we realised we were in tapas country. There isn't a menu, you just go inside and a selection of toasted sandwiches and strange snacks are laid out on the bar for you to eat. You buy your drink, eat a few nibbles, pay for what you've had, leave and go next door. and so on and so on. Once we got the hang of it it was actually good fun. I didn't eat many of the strange delicacies but Jayne had a good effort. By the end of the night she was quite tipsy aswell, asking if she could stay out drinking more of the 1 Euro buckets of wine that they serve you!
The walk home was through cobbled narrow empty streets with tons of character to them and also a visit to one of the many vending machine shops we'd seen. It basically looks like a shop but when you walk in nothing is inside except rows of vending machines selling everything from pizza's to dildo's!
Jayne (of-course) decided the machines looked hungry and so tried feeding them most our change before I dragged her back the rest of the way to our gorgeous room for our last night on dry land.
Tomorrow we get the ferry home and sleep on the ship before the final squirt home.