Aug 282018

We packed up, emptied the cassette and let ourselves out of the campsite automatic gate and then took the key back to reception. Drove across the road at about 9.15 into the Carrefour to put a splash of expensive French diesel in the van to ensure that we had enough to get into Spain where is much cheaper. We re-joined the A23 heading south and just before the tolls we turned off onto the D roads. These were very quiet and many of them were straight for many kilometres with occasional villages that were all pretty with lots of flowers in baskets, the chicanes at the entrance and exit to the villages were a bit annoying but were a good traffic calming measure. We stopped at a roadside hotel/ bar for morning coffee that was just as expensive as other bars we have stopped in in France. We continued towards Pau and then on towards the Somport tunnel, I just caught sight of one sign that said the tunnel was closed and then the one afterwards said it was open and so we continued towards the tunnel.

On the N134 somewhere near Gurmençon we were stopped at a roundabout by the Gendarme and told that the Somport tunnel was in fact closed due to a serious accident. They re-programmed the sat nav for me to take the best local route over the Pyrenees and so we turned around and headed back the way we had come. As it was just before 1pm we decided to stop for lunch at a LeClerc store with a brasserie, where we had a nice cheap drink and roll for lunch, why can all French bars sell for this price. After lunch we had a walk around the store and found a member of staff who spoke some English, she rang up for us to see if the tunnel had yet re-opened and she was told it was, wrong. So we made our way back and at the same roundabout as before and needless to say it was still closed and so we headed for the diversion route, as a result we wasted yet another half an hour. As the diversion route would take us over the top of the Pyrenees and it looked quite windy and would add some distance to our route I decided to add a bit more fuel. We then followed the diversion back to Oloron and then onto a D road towards Laruns through some small narrow villages climbing all the way. The route through Laruns was narrow and we were then on to the narrow road that led up the mountain. This was very tight in places as you can see from the first half of this video:

We made it through unscathed but we were only travelling in second and third gears most of the time at around 30-35 kph so I was very glad that I had added fuel. We followed a large Spanish lorry for protection a lot of the way up the mountain but he was dropping gravel from his load for a lot of the journey. At a couple of hairpin bends we were passed by some suicidal French motorcyclists totally on the wrong side of the road with no vision and with mud smeared over their rear number plates. We reached the summit and then crossed over into Spain and the road surface and width improved considerably. We stopped for a comfort break at a parking area shortly after the summit. We then continued on towards Huesca where we decided to stay for the night at Camping San Jorge, the sat nav had one last challenge for us a narrow local road with parked cars both sides with just enough room for us down the middle. We parked up at the site on a nice grassy pitch at just after 5pm and settled down with a couple of cold ones. Just as we were having dinner the heavens opened and we had heavy rain thunder and lightning from about 7pm to 10pm. During the course of today’s journey Ingrid took some photos of our trip through the van windows.