Stage 2 St Jean Pied de Port to Aramits
Col d’Osquitch, 500m.
Tuesday 30 August 2011
Fog is shrouding the castellated walls of the municipal campsite as we rise in the dark. Owls are still calling all around, as we quietly pack up the tent. Our smooth progress is halted for a while when I drop my contact lens case lid down the open plughole of the sinks, which is exactly the same diameter. It lodges about six inches down, and I cannot get at it. If I can’t get it, I will be stuck, as I don’t have enough spare lenses with me. In the end, Jim manages to secure it. A fog hangs over the land as we emerge from the town, onto the first part of the journey which is on the N road. We are glad to be out early, still with our lights on, as gradually the sun reddens the mist. We are riding straight into the East, so we can watch the big sun burning the mist away. We go about 15k before breakfast, not knowing where we will be able to get any. Finally at a junction in the middle of nowhere, I feel hungry and luckily there is an Auberge open right beside us, which serves an excellent breakfast. The interior is woody and old and we sit where we can see beams of sun entering the garden.
Col d’Osquitch is sunny, green, wooded and low. A good introduction to the ever increasing altitudes of the mountains as we progress towards the central Pyrenees. The riding is generally pleasant through green and verdant countryside. Jim has a puncture at Tardets, which we repair under the arches of the town square. Our destination, Aramits, is a small town with no shops or restaurants and a small campsite, with a pool where we have a beer after putting the tent up and doing washing. The gang arrive while we are there and soon we are all ready to go swimming. We stay in the water a while, in the sun as the tree shadows move across the pool. We try the town for restaurants but there isn’t one so we have to return to the campsite bar and takeaway, eating in excitingly warm air at our riverside tents.