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This IS me (by schwitters)Default

Pyrenees & Picos: Day 6

Today we would travel from France into Spain, via the Col d'Aubisque. Which turned out to be closed for roadworks, a fact helpfully signposted three kilometres beforehand.

There are only so many ways through the mountains. We rode all the way back to Lourdes and out again along a different route, stopping at a petrol station to gird loins and empty bladders for the long slog ahead. I attempted to raise everyone's spirits by handing round my BN biscuits, with varying success.

Towards the middle of the day we found ourselves back on track and up among the mountains. When we emerged from the pass, we were in Spain.

We stopped near the border for a late lunch of tapas in the sunshine, entering a bar and pointing inquiringly at the food on display. We didn't fully understand the reply, and ordered one of everything regardless.

The afternoon's roads were gorgeous, with wide, sweeping bends and views of brilliant blue lakes. The highlight, for me, was seeing the rest of the group going in the opposite direction to me along one shore of the lake, while I waved from the other.

It was hot, though.

In the early evening we entered Logroño and wound through the streets to our hotel, which had a vehicle lift for access to the garage. This fitted four bikes at a time and was pretty exciting.

In the wonderfully cool reception, we were greeted by a brace of Tintins on the front desk. (The one on the right is a pilgrim; you can see his cockleshell.)

Checked in and showered, we went out on the town and I wondered why I hadn't been to Spain before. Everything is cheap and they truly understand the importance of the olive.



Mileage: 247.8

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Looks (and sounds) lovely! Do you speak Spanish?
No - and I think that's what has put me off visiting before. I've been to plenty of countries where I don't speak the language (Croatia, the Czech Republic) but it somehow feels ruder in Spain, as if I should know it. Maybe I'll hit up Duolingo...
Can't hurt — though from what I gather Duolingo has a tendency to teach you phrases that are, shall we say, of limited usefulness in practice.

Of course, the most important thing to know how to say in Spanish is simply ¡Una cerveza, por favor!; or, if that's your cup of tea and someone else is ordering first, ¡Y yo, una coca-cola!. ^^
Ha! Beer and coffee are usually quite early in the list of things I learn to say.

The Spanish word I did reliably know, it turned out, was perro, so I spent a lot of time pointing at dogs.
Sounds my ideal hotel greeting, a brace of Tin-Tins.
I was very pleased to see them!