Bears and Beavers

Trip Start May 15, 2010
Trip End Aug 25, 2010

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Flag of France  , Midi-Pyrénées,
Monday, June 7, 2010

The beds at IBIS were comfy and after the frustration of trying to find a bed last night I was well and truly zonked!

We hit the road and headed to Gavarnie the heart of the Les Pyrenees National Park for some hiking. This place was amazing the mountains were magnificent and they dropped away to beautiful green valleys and plateaus. It even had Europe's largest waterfall. It is listed as xxxx places to visit in the world and definitely worth the visit.

After all the chips and meat I have had over the past week today I decided on a salad for lunch. The salad was great it had cheese and walnuts with lettuce and tomatoes. A nice change from the carnivore meals that I had been eating – I would hate to be a vegetarian in this place. Meghan had thought she understood enough French and also thought she was getting a salad – just this one would have ham and some more cheese... nope – she got a bread board antipasto platter with three kinds of meats and cheese and bread.

After much debate at lunch over what walks we would do we decided to do the easy 2 hour walk to the waterfall – unlike Australian National Park guidelines/estimates for walks the European estimates are almost realistic once you take into consideration some photo opportunities and time to admire scenery. With our walk complete we then headed to the starting point of our next walk and along the way we even saw some beavers and the ski fields (the ski fields look a lot more family friendly than Thredbo or Perisher and are far cheaper... lift passes here are a bargain 20 Euros a day max).

We were stopped prior to our destination so our plans to undertake the lakes walk was abandoned as the road had not yet been cleared of snow. However this didn’t stop us – Andrew and I walked for about 30 mins to the top of the smaller hills in search for at least the car park of where we were meant to be starting from... we didn’t locate the car park but definitely found a great place to take panoramic photos and even got to see another beaver in the wild... just need to see the bear and my viewing requirements would be complete – Andrew wasn’t too excited by the requirement of bear spotting – the only thing we saw were sheep, goats and cows on the way back done.

White water rafting was a must do on our list so we headed down the hill to Luz to find accommodation and an adventure company. The accommodation was easy... After walking around town for 45 minutes and everything slowly but surely shutting Meghan and I thought we had done our dash and there would be no rafting tomorrow. When Megs went to buy her magnets I asked the two lovely young men who ran the gift shop if they knew anybody who did rafting! Guess what they had a mate who ran a rafting company, they then proceed to look up the yellow pages, find the number, call the guy, book us on the rafting adventure and even write out the directions on a piece of paper for us... our luck had changed – lets just hope this isn’t a guys house who has rafts out the back who does this for a little pocket money.

Dinner was fabulous – terrine with scallops (aside from the duck in Amiens best dish yet), pork with a creamy mushroom sauce with macaroni (looked really bad when it came out as the components were all separated but after my first mouthful this first assessment was shattered – the sauce was amazing and the pork so tender) and for dessert I had a citrus tart (pastry that melted in your mouth without being buttery and the lemon was tart and smooth). As we walked out of the place we noticed that it was in the 2010 Michelin guide for food! And the meal only cost us 22 euros each... Not everything in Michelin is expensive as we are slowly working out! What a way to end a day in the Pyrenees.
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