Gourette aire with James mooching around outside

Biarritz, the Pyrenees & down towards Spain

Howdy all!

Since my last post we’ve had a lovely 5 days skiing in a place called Saint Lary-Soulan in the French Pyrenees. It was a great spot and less than a 1/3rd of the price of the Aussie Alps and as you’d expect much better snow (2m up high 1.5m at the bottom)

Before we made our way across, we stopped for a night at Biarritz – again found an ideally placed aire just a few metres from the beach.  Weather changed every 5 minutes from blue sky to pouring rain.  We celebrated Abbie’s 6th birthday in a local café followed by a lovely dinner made by Chelle.

Next day took Abbie out to try her new rollerblades and for a play in the park.

Next we swapped the beach for the mountains and headed to a place called Gourette in the Pyrenees.  We stayed at an aire right next to the ski lift – 10 Euro for on-snow accommodation!!

Gourette aire with James mooching around outside
Gourette aire with James mooching around outside

However we were just overnighting before heading to Saint Lary-Soulan where we’d book 6 nights in a hotel (not game to try the wet ski gear in and out of campervan thing this time!).  The drive up there was a massive stress, navigating Frosty up a classic winding mountain road in the sleet and snow.  Not only that, had misjudged the fuel and on approach, being Sunday every patrol station was closed so we chugged up the mountain on fumes.  If we hadn’t have made it, we would have ended up blocking the only road in and out (other roads closed due to snow) but with a queue of a couple of dozen cars behind us, we limped in, squeezed into a parking spot (well 2 spots) and, with a gasp of relief, turned the engine off for a week.

We all had a good ski/snowboard over the next few days.  A big dump of snow made for great conditions for the first couple of days which deteriorated as it warmed up and the lower slopes turned to mush.  Classic Perisher freeze/thaw conditions!

Note the beard – 5 weeks and counting!
Note the beard – 5 weeks and counting!
Newport Ski Team
Newport Ski Team

After a relaxing week in the snow we happily returned to Frosty to hit the road again.  Happy to see he’d survived 6 nights on his own with no frozen pipes and still plenty of power in the batteries.  Before we set off a 2 hour round trip, down the gondala to the village and a few kms hike with a jerry can to get some diesel was required but a relief to know for certain that we’d make it down the mountain OK.

This brings us up to last night where, on the advice of some lovely people we met (I should mention here – we met some really nice people at the hotel, many of whom we’ve exchanged details with and have offered us a place to stay later in our travels), we arrived at Carcassonne – a beautiful medieval walled city.

Although the castle and walls were spectacular, the highlight was stumbling upon their annual festival which Chelle will say some more about….

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