Cycle The Pyrenees; Stage 8

Monday, September; 5 Stage Eight

Seix to Tarascon

Col de Port 1249

The day is rainy again; all night the loud dripping from the trees above has been our lullaby, and our clothes are still soaked. In fact they are wetter than when we hung them up last night as the wind has blown the rain under the porch they were hanging in. We choose a lower route than the rest of the gang on account of the weather and I am sulky with wet shoes and cold everything. We are in the central Ariege and have previously noticed in photos that it is often cloudy, and so it is in reality. There are some lovely buildings, mostly disused or derelict and we pass through quiet under populated villages, steep roofs and fretwork. We stop in Massat at a hotel cafe with an Alsatian dog that chases a lady’s small dog leaving her shouting at the landlord until he takes a broom to the dog, which then from its basket later takes a playful bite at my foot as I pass to the lavatory.  Most of the shops are shut but on the Hotel d’Art front sits on old eccentric gentleman surrounded by his lifetime’s eclectic objects. Weeds grow, buildings decay, it is grey. We buy wholesome organic food from the hippy shop and picnic on the damp bench spread with my cape before trying an experiment. Returning to the cafe we order coffee and cognac for elevenses. It seems to work as I enjoy the next col; the Col de Port. There is a lovely descent gradually warming as we go down to Tarascon which is a largish town where we lunch at about closing time then find the campsite which is very large, approached along a newly made cycleway. There isn’t much grass, plenty of mud, and we aren’t very keen on this site. We walk along the cycleway to eat.

Breakfast in Seix; photo Chris Preston

Cold Morning at Seix, photo Chris Preston

Massat, Ariege, typical building with ironwork and crumbly bits

Cold Breakfast at Massat

Cognac for elevenses

Hotel des Arts, Massat

Ariege Barns

Ariege Barn

Roof Tiles on an Ariege Barn

Col de Port, Ariege

The way down from Col de Port, Ariege

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