David von Oheimb's Photo Gallery:
Pyrenees, France/Spain/Andorra, 7-9 Apr 2006 and 21-23 Oct 2011

On the weekends following two business trips to Toulouse, I planned to hike to the Brèche de Roland from Gavarnie in France and then to continue to the 3355 m high Monte Perdido in Spain.

7-9 Apr 2006

Unfortunately, on that occasion weather was very cloudy all over the mountains, so I ended up down a rather extensive round trip by (rental) car. At least it was fun to race the relatively light Renault Clio along the winding roads (many hundreds of kilometers, mostly along the Spanish N-260), outperforming not only the very few other tourists, but also all of the local drivers more or less heavily, feeling bound only by the laws of physics. Nevertheless, I stopped at every other corner, when the sun peeked through the clouds, to take pictures of the gorgeous scenery. The snow line was still at about 1800 m, but in the valleys blooming trees were celebrating spring.

France (36)

Spain (100)

Andorra (28)

21-23 Oct 2011

This time I was more lucky with the weather in the Pyrenees and finally was able to do (most of) the mountaineering planned five years before. On the second day I hiked out already around noon due to clouds in the mountains. Since I had a couple of hours left over and it was still pleasantly sunny in the lowlands, on the way back to Toulouse I stopped in Lourdes for a quick look around, for curiosity.

Brèche de Roland (130)

Monte Perdido (80)

Lourdes (40)

Some general notes

The Pyrenees, in particular on the Spanish side, are one of the least populated areas in Europe, so do not expect much of infrastructure (for instance, regarding lodging and mobile phone network coverage). On the northern face the range is dramatically rocky, reminding me a bit of the Dolomites, while the southern mountains have more similarity with the rubble heaps on Crete.

I was disappointed that rather few of the people involved in tourism and fellow mountaineers I met, most of which of course were Frenchmen or Spaniards, were able to communicate in English. There are much less developed countries such as Nepal where the proportion of people speaking English appeared signficantly higher.
Talking of language capabilities, in case you understand German, here is a nice report with some photos on trekking in the Pyrenees.

URL: http://David.von-Oheimb.de/gallery/Pyrenees/index.html, Last modified: Sat Nov 19 16:52:20 CET 2011