Posted by: lindsaygoes | May 3, 2011

Lots of walking in France and Spain

My last update was from Sarlat, a lovely medieval town in the
Dordogne. I spent the first morning I was there canoeing. We had three
in our canoe and the entire fifteen kilometers was spent in a battle
for control of the boat. I think we were all using different methods
to steer and I know at times we were workimg aganst each other so we
had fun zig-zagging along the river. It was very enjoyable with a bit
of sun and the canoe didn’t tip over once. After the canoeing I joined
a few others and we went to Marqueyssac, a chateau with the most
amazing gardens. All of the boxwoods were sculpted into curving
organic shapes and the whole property is on the top of cilffs so as
well as the gardens thereare spectacular views over the Dordogne. We
could even see where we had canoed.

The next day I finally got to explore Sarlat and it was a lovely town
to wander around, full of charming side streets and alleys, and an old
labrador that I saw at least three times (and not because I was ging
in circles) . After the morning in Sarlat we headed to Cahors where we
visited a mueum about the French resistence (I just looked at the
pictures because I can’t read French), the cathedral and old town and
the went and saw the Valentre bridge which was lovely, particularly
with the reflections in the river underneath. Then we had the most
hilarious dinner served by a rude French waiter who spent most of our
meal yelling at us.

We had another morning in Cahors where we went to the twice-weekly
market where it was lots of fun to people watch and then it was on to
Luchon in the French Pyrenees. Our first evening just involved a bit
of an explore, but the next day we had a large hike. By the time we
reached the top I was very glad to sit down, even if it was in a
paddock wth sheep (and sheep poo). Going down was a lot faster, but
quite a bit more scary due to the steepness and slipperyness of some
parts. Once we reached the bottom two of us tried to find our way
through the village but realised we hadn`t paid attention on the way
and so we headed back to the hiking track and hoped we hadn`t been
overtaken by our guide on another road. So we waited, and waited. It
got to about ten minutes and we were starting to get worrieed when the
stragglers appeared. Once we were going the right way again we got to
stop for cold drinks and watch some gliders taking off.

Yesterday we headed across the border into Spain where our first stop
was San Sebastian and a drop in temperature! Everyone who had hiked
the day before was a bit tired so we weren’t too thrilled about the
steep walk to the top of Monte Urgull, but we did have fantastic views
over the town and the beaches on either side. After our walk up we had
to walk down (can you blame me for being a little lazy?) and then we
hit the bars for pintxos, which is similar to tapas, but Basque style.

Today we were very naughty and had churros (kind of like long donuts)
for breakfast. Then it was a ride on the tourist train which played
some rather catchy music and after that we visited the San Telmo
musem, which was built around an old church and had some interesting
exhibits. Then I went for a bit of a walk by myself, I walked all
along the beach and caught a cable car to thetop of Monte Igeldo I got
talking to some Dutch and Spanish people. Apparently “G’day mate” is
not as internationally recognisable as I had thought. Once we got to
the top I was truly astounded by the view. I had really enjoyed the
view from the top of Monte Urgull but hadn’t expected the one from
Monte Igeldo to be so much better. I got some more practice with
stairs climbing to the top of an old light house which advertised the
‘best view in the world’. It was pretty good but I might need to visit
a few more places to compare. Once I headed down I saw somme amazing
iron sculptures embedded around some wonderfully stratified rocks.
It’s called the ‘Wind Comb’ and they had to install tracks to get the
huge iron pieces to the rocks which are on the edge of the sea. Once
I’d seen that it was definitely time to have a bit of a relax and sit
on the beach in the sun before a browse in the shops, where I didn’t
buy anything!

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