September 23, 2012

2: Cirque de Litor and Col du Soulor

Immediately leaving Col d'Aubisque the route crosses the Cirque du Litor, high up the cliffside. There were more cycles than cars. And there were all kinds of cyclists, from many parts of the world.

 


And what a ride that was! Probably the most incredibly beautiful I have ridden. Ever. Anywhere. The drop-off is frequently intensely steep, you wouldn't want to go over it. The views are incredibly gorgeous.



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There is one real tunnel, but it isn't long, really dark, wet or creepy, like some are. I used my rear flasher, but didn't bother with a headlamp.




The road is mostly a long gradual downhill from Col d'Aubisque over to Col du Soulor.



If you look carefully at the next photo you can make out the line of the road going around the cirque. 



There was a bit of gentle climbing back up to Col Soulor, where I sat and just watched the world.





Last year I climbed to Col du Soulor from the north and immediately knew that some day I wanted to ride across the cirque. We were almost all doing the same things: enjoying the sun, taking photos.


There was also a group of men enjoying a beer at the cafe, with a dog under the table. Not unusual. After a while they stood up to go. They crossed the road and spoke to the dog, who went off and did what sheep dogs do. Brought back the sheep. I include the photos for Abby and Susan and everyone else who has watched sheep dog demonstrations at town fairs. This one was really good at his job, and in spectacular terrain.




The ride off the mountain was much as I remembered it: fast, never too steep, switchbacks occasionally tight, but not murderously so.



I am tonight, and for two more,  in Arrens-Marsous, at a delightful chambres d'hote, named La Condorinette. Took a walk around town as the sun was descending.




 

8 comments:

  1. Wow. Let me repeat, WOW! I think you just punched my ticket to the Pyrenees.

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    1. Uhhhhh...ohhhhh...Gerry will find me, tie me up and kill me in the public square if your ticket isn't for the Alps!:-)

      Perhaps your team should race both routes, I've read there is precedent for that kind of thing:-)

      OK, more seriously, it is just amazingly beautiful, inspirational cycling her. The culture, at least from what I've seen, really understands and supports cycling!

      Good to hear from you, and glad you're reading!

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  2. You're going to have a tough time topping those views, but good luck!

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    1. You're right. I don't think it will get any more beautiful. I do think it will get harder!

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  3. I'll be joining Aaron in the Pyrenees before too much longer. That is scenery to die for. (And I probably would if I tried cycling up those mountains!!) Loving your wonderful travelblog which is introducing me to parts of my own country I didn't know about.

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    1. Steph, thanks! Your country has so much accessible variety ... in landscape, local culture and history .... it is an astonishing pleasure to visit!

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  4. The mountains are gorgeous, but special thanks for the sheep dog photos. Fun!

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    1. Thought you'd like it .... that dog knew just exactly what it was doing and very matter-of-factly did it. No wasted energy anywhere in the process.

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