After a weekend tucked up sheltering from 50 and 60mph winds and being treated to a rather one sided rugby match on Sunday afternoon, home team won 68-14 thanks for a great game ESPB, we managed to escape and headed west. I know being so close to the Spanish border and heading west might appear to be a daft decision but there is method in our madness. We have a cunning plan, more of that later!
Monday we left Peyriac and headed towards Narbonne in search of GPL before settling in for the night at Montferrand (43.3523610, 1.8238060) It’s a location we have used several times and although it is nothing more than a parking area the area it is in is steeped in history. It’s proximity to the Canal Midi and the Obélisque de Riquet, an imposing monument that is sadly closed to the public, raised in memory of the canal designer. The canal basin and nearby lock system were obviously once a thriving hub with accommodation blocks for the bargees and lock keepers. There is also a plaque celebrating Thomas Jeffersons visit to the canal while he was in France.
Tuesday we continued our journey west and chose a nice Aire with full services including hookup in Tarbes (43.2430000, 0.0679720) located at an ‘Ambulance’ Garage. Once you arrive there is a number you must ring to let them know you are there and the warden arrives to unlock the electric posts and collect the fees. Town is a steady 20 minute walk or 25 if you divert through the Jardin Massey, which even in the late autumn are well worth it even if it is just to see the very tame Peacocks!!. Lots of the usual shop in town but as with everywhere during the winter season they are either closed or have limited opening times.
Thursday we continued our journey and headed for Spain via the Somport Tunnel and onwards to Jaca. We emerged from the tunnel into cloud and rain, what a welcome. Thankfully the further down the mountain the drier it became which was a relief. Somehow we managed to take the wrong turn into Jaca and ended up where no Trundlebus should go. It was a little tight shall we say.
We arrived at the Aire which hasn’t changed since our last visit nearly 2 years ago and is still as popular as ever. Despite the installation of a barrier they are still not in use and the area and services are free.
Friday morning and we continued our journey west towards Pamplona and our weekend stopover in Berriozar (42.8404662, -1.6657437). Another place we have stayed previously. The Aire is free, apart from a couple of weeks in July and tokens for water are available from the nearby sports hall reception.
We had decided to take the more scenic route across country and stopped for lunch at a parking spot with views of Embalse de Yesa (42.6108331, -1.0474640) and the abandoned village of Escó (42.6183944, -1.0583135), one of the locations for the film Gernika apparently!! The village was abandoned in 1957 after the valley was flooded to form the Yesa Reservoir destroying the farmers livelihood leaving them with little option other than to move. Progress eh!
Sadly the weather doesn’t look good for the weekend so may just take the opportunity to give the van a good clean and polish inside.
Next week we head back towards the Mediterranean coast via the Bardenas Reales, hopefully the weather will be with us as we cross the desert!