Day 9 - Some Wild and Windy Passes

Saturday 2nd September 2017
After an unimpressive breakfast I saddle up and leave the Hotel Isaba. The road climbs up a pass and over the border into France just 10 miles north of Isaba. Then I spend the day riding the lonely and wild Cols of the French Pyrenees.

High in the French Pyrenees

 At one point I am on Le Route de Fromage, the cheese road. These are pretty high and wild mountain roads in the French style with no edge barriers and tunnels blasted through the rock where necessary. It is a desolate and very underpopulated area.

The Col d'Aubisque ilies at 1709m. There are a few bikers up here and a lot of cyclists gathered at the cafe at the summit. I stop for coffee and take a few photographs. They have stickers so I buy one for the K.

At the top of the Col d'Aubisque

 There may not be many people up here but there are plenty of farm animals on the road. Sheep first and then cows.

 Col de Soulor is 1479m. It has a beautiful road surface, I I guess the Tour de France has passed over here in the recent past.
Col du Tourmalet at 2115m is the highest peak so far and I am in the clouds on the descent.
Next is the Col d'Aspin at 1490m followed by the Col de Val Louron-Azet (1580m) and the
Col De Peyresourde (1563m).

First sheep...

...and then cows
 
Tunnels blasted through the rock
It is getting late so I start to look for a hotel. I am not on my originally planned route so I have no recommendations noted. I ride through Luchon and out again. Finally I arrive in Saint-Mamet and find the Hotel Rencluse. It is a lucky find. There is a log fire in the bar. My room with breakfast costs €60 and a set dinner sets me back another €18.50 for three courses.

The only drawbacks are the stairs; I am on the second floor and there is no lift. Oh well.

Looks like a Tour route
 
Looking down from the Col du Tourmalet
Cosy bar at Hotel Rencluse


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