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Pamplona - Pyrenees Mountains - La Seu d'Urgell

Trip Details

Road Trip 2006 II
Date: Thu, 24/08/2006
Distance: 460 km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Ploumisti
Photographers: Manolis, Ploumisti
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Ragas
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

24 August 2006: The alarm clock rings but I pretend not to hear it. With a glance I see bad weather from the window. After a while I raise myself in order to see outside. Unfortunately, it is what I fear: in the most difficult route, perhaps, of the whole the travel, we will meet rain especially on a route with turns passing in the Pyrenees Mountains! From my calculations it is supposed to cover around 400km, 100km of these it will be in the national network immediately afterwards the Pamplona and up to the Jaca.

Until Ploumisti wakes up, I prepare my suitcases. Up to the 12pm it is supposed to have empty the room in order not to have any problems with the householder. The hour is 11am when we start our walk in order to go to the cafe for a coffee and possibly to have the chance to meet the guy from yesterday.

In the street we meet also 2 Spanish motorcyclists that hardly have reached in the city and search for lodging. We start the conversation, maybe they came from the place that we want to go, so that we learn how the weather is. Finally, they came from Valencia and the co-pilot of the one motorcycle she is tired since they came without any stop for 300hlm. They appear tired and when they ask us for the kilometres that we have made in the particular travel, they are impressed!

In the cafe we do not have the chance to meet the guy. We return in the hotel and and we put our stuff on the motorcycles quickly, while the weather does not show any points of improvement. By following the signs for Madrid, but nowhere there are signs for Jaca, Yesa and N260. This was strange since Yesa constitutes a very known religious destination of the local people. Finally, I put in operation the GPS and in a while we found ourselves in the N-260 with destination to Jaca.

The road condition is very good. Slowly-slowly I understand that we hypsometrically go up, but with a slow rhythm. In a low, relatively, ridge they exist windmills – creating Aeolian energy - that they appear to turn fast... Some people have said that the winds at Pyrenees are strong. In order to consider that they are strong, they must exceed in speed those winds that I had met the summertime of 2003 in the Fragkokastello of North Crete! Up to moment, in any case, everything is calm.

Shortly, it appears that we enter among mountains, but without crossing abrupt ravines, as we met in certain points before at Santander. The weather appears to become better to the direction where we move, while roughly 15km afterwards Jaca, we turn for Biescas.

The landscape changes and becomes steeper but the vegetation more intense. In Biescas we turn for Broto, Boltana and Ainsa. From there and beyond the snakelike road is narrower with more sharp turns, but in no case tedious. The green landscape does not leave you any margins to be tired, while only after 15km we reach in 1000m altitude and up to the first tunnel that we meet, we are almost in 1500m altitude! The clouded over sky and the chill give the feeling that you are not any more in the summertime, while the landscape looks like the ones in Central Europe.

After the tunnel we begin to move downward and as soon we find the first village (Linas de Broto) we sat in the cafeteria of a hotel for coffee enjoying the splendid view, in the beginning from its veranda but because of the cold later from the window of the cafeteria’s room.

We continue for Broto, where also we fill our tanks, without to be necessary, but because we found ourselves in a mountainous region. As it appears, the region is developed. Enough hotels, good streets - even if narrow - restaurants and camping exist in the area. Despite the growth, however, you do not see kitchy buildings... all tie up harmoniously with the environment. The same setting is continued up to Ainsa. From there and beyond the landscape is more "flat" and the vegetation no so much intense next to the street, while the road paving is not in a good condition.

At length of the route we meet the first abandoned villages, while in a point exist a natural veranda for photograph with view the river and a hanging wooden bridge that leads to a deserted village. After a while we reach in a central street N230, that north leads to the French borders. Following the southern course we might reach in Andorra covering 20km less, concerning whether we select the northern way that passes from a big tunnel, but also from a mountain top 2.070m. Even if the weather appears very heavy to the northern course, something pulls us to there. Even I, that I am not sure for this way, finally I prefer this route! We direct ouselves, therefore, to Viella. We hypsometrically go up and the cold becomes perceptible for good.

In the tourist city Viella, we follow the uphill route for Esterri de Aneu. The mountain tops do not appear from the fog, while the street appears to reach up to there. I think it is the one that we go to. I see some motorcyclists coming from the opposite current and I take courage that we are not insane! I observe them if they wear raincoats, but fog and rain they do not go together, neither fog with air. Therefore the worse thing that we can meet in 2.000m is only fog!

We wear the raincoats in order to warm up, since the temperature, I doubt if it exceeds the 10 degrees of Celsius! As we move uphill the visibility is decreased, while the street is not so good. Some moments I follow the course with the help of striation. In a situation of "visibility zero", we reach in a point that I see a monument in my left - that I cannot distinguish what precisely it is -, a sign that says that we are found in 2.070m and a restaurant that resembles with tower. And while I try to understand what all these are, I feel my forward tyre slipping, from something that I stepped. I realise that are the impurities of some animal... cow or horse in a big quantity, capable of "laying you down"!

We begin to drive downwards and the atmosphere starts to clear. In the abrupt slopes cows and horses graze! Those are the guilty ones! At some point the cars are immobilised in front of me... I pass next to them and I reach front, believing that some kind of accident might happen. Finally, instead of an accident, some horses try to cross the road.

By continuing we reach in a stone restaurant that I consider a good change for a fast coffee and some photographs. Finally, the only thing that we did is to take some photographs and leave, since at this time they are not serving. We continue with the atmosphere to clear and the sun to appear in the sky! From there and beyond, the more beautiful point that we meet it is the part between Rialp and Sort. Tourist developed regions with a lot of alternative activities: rafting, motocross, 4WD vehicles in dirty ways, while in a lake that completes the landscape we see people doing ski, rowing and canoe. And all these, in an amazing landscape!

After a while the route ceases to be so much graphic and beautiful as before, which makes us to drive faster aiming to find lodging, maybe in Adrall city or at La Seu d' Urgell city, some km’s before Andorra, since the staying in this small state we believe that it will be expensive. We will sleep outside of the state and the morning we will enter for a walk to see it.

Finally we found a place in a likeable hotel between the two mentioned cities, while before we have asked for hotel prices in the city and we judge that the prices are not suitable for us. Hardly we reach it begins to rain as if the weather says to us "I help you to come until here, so now stay in!"

We had lunch in the restaurant of the hotel and we go to the room to relax since the next day is forecasted tedious... What I realise from the current route is that the Pyrenees mountains they constitute an amazing part for exploration for the people that love the nature, while, simultaneously, I believe that the motorcyclists in Spain and in France, if they respect themselves, it is supposed that they have visited the area for at least one time.