By Veronica

Farewell to the mountains

... for the moment. This is the Col de Bonaigua between the Vall de Cardos and Vielha. It's a spectacular road of hairpins and steep gradients, leading up to a ski resort. Very popular with cyclists and motorbikers, both out in force today. The views from the pass, enhanced  by streamers of cloud, were wonderful and I wasn't the only one enjoying them. Alternative blips: the viewpoint just above Tavascan on the road down from Bordes de Graus, and another view of Bonaigua with bikers for scale.

We got off to an early start, at 9:30, and the 375 km drive took us 6 hours ... this is normal. The 80 km from Tavascan to Vielha takes 2 hours. On the way we realised we'd completely forgotten to provide ourselves with a packed lunch in order to avoid contact.  So we rather foolishly stopped at the supermarket on the border just outside Bossost, located to appeal to French tourists. 

It was, as usual, heaving. Everyone was wearing masks, but no-one was distancing, just elbowing each other out of the way to grab their supplies of pastis and cigarettes. A milling crowd at the checkouts ignored the lines marked on the floor. We tried to get around it as fast as possible, emerging with a rather random collection of items that did, happily, include olive oil, triple sec liqueur, and washing machine detergent (so much cheaper in Spain than France). Plus bread and cheese for lunch and some fillet steak.

Back home, Mystère was overwhelmed to see us. It's the first time for close to a year that we've left him home alone. Much purring, head-bumping,  and lap-curling ensued. He is not a sulker. After unpacking and tidying up, we tried to catch our neighbours M and P, briefly here for the first time since last August, but sadly missed them, and now they have left. But we did bump into S and R, just on their way to the estanquet for a glass of rosé, so we joined them and their friends. Several bottles were ordered; we soon beat a retreat home where S cooked dinner of steak in a delicious cream, mustard, and pepper sauce.

Now I'm home I've finished uploading to Flickr. So here are:
Vall de Cardos album
Butterfly album. Any IDs of butterflies most welcome!

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