Crossing the Pyrenees.

I started climbing from the moment I left my campsite. Into the mountains I continued as I cycled my first full day in Spain. I was aiming for the city of Pamplona, about 85km away. The road turned from small country lane-ways to high mountain passes to a 4 lane highway frequented by semi-trailers. The slow burning climb was a reminder of how little climbing on the bike I had done thus far. I came to a tunnel that cut through a high peak and turned on all my lights to make sure passing traffic would see me in the darkness of the inside of the mountain. I came to my second tunnel only to be stopped by a passing road traffic warden. He gestured that I could not pass through the tunnel. With our language difficulties creating a misunderstanding between us, he called someone on his phone indicating to me that he was either warning his colleagues of the mad Australian cycling a Spanish highway or informing the authorities of the mad Australian cycling a Spanish highway.

I turned around and began the decent back down. The climbing I had been struggling with all day was now worthless. All my hard work wasted. I soon came across a side road which signposted Pamplona. My first thought was that it was a scenic route or truck road perhaps. As I made the detour I was soon welcomed by a bypass road that climbed above and beyond the tunnel I should have made my way through. It rose higher around each corner and hair-pin turn. I stopped several times to rest, replenish and take in the view. Once I reached the summit, I could faintly see the National Road I was originally on earlier that morning. The traveling cars and trucks seemed more like a child’s toy Legos.

As with all climbs, you are rewarded with a decent. This downhill was one for the record books with 21km of downhill through some stunning scenery. The landscape had almost changed immediately once over the pass. A much drier climate resulted in warmer temperatures and a different flora and fauna to that of France and the Atlantic Coast.

With very little pedaling required for the remainder of the afternoon I cruised into Pamplona in search of food and water. It started to dawn on me that I had been in Spain for 2 days and I had not really spoken to anyone. Signposts were marked differently, street signs were in Spanish, and I had that familiar feeling of being in place you’re not used to. It was new and strange and foreign and different and exciting.









About these ads

  One thought on “Crossing the Pyrenees.

  1. January 5, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Great photos! Glad you did not have to go all the way back down!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 388 other followers

%d bloggers like this: