ok so we headed west and made our way to Argeles Sur Mer at the base of the Pyrenees foothills. The idea was to cool down in the lovely Mediterranean waters... but it was far too 'cool' for our liking...more like freezing.
That and the fact that Germany was playing Australia in the World Cup and I wasn't going to miss that for the world.After that result - I wish I had missed it. 4-0 Germany :(
So anyway - after that stopover, we made our finally into the Pyrenees! Amazing roads and scenery all the way.
We stumbled upon this nice camping site run by a Dutch family. You can see their POI on this URL: http://my.motortourer.com/en/poi/19-camping-la-rotja
So Koen had found a great old Michelin biking tour book from the 80's which suggested we tackle Carnigou. Koen being the most experienced rider picked out the route. Although not what you'd call real 'offroading' It certainly wasn't a real road either for the top part of the mountains. But well worth the effort. It wasn't too hard except for some poor bugger who'd convinced his missus to jump on the back of his CBR 1000 and take the same route....She ended up taking the way back down with a family in a 4WD. I think he was in trouble that night :)
Coming back down from the mountain - feeling all very much like 'hard core bikers' and rewarded ourselves with some beers, a swim in the pool and a good night's sleep. Then it was time to head North, but not without stopping by the lovely medieval town of Villefranche-de-Conflent. Great place and overlooking the town is an impressive fort. But is always the way when you're laden with bike gear, it seemed too much to walk up to the top and back down again in the war sun. So we settled upon sitting down and having a coffee and lunch in the village square instead .
After this little interval it was time to again pit our wits against the mighty Pyrenees mountains. But matching wits should be done by those whom possess more than half of one. That does not include us. Although it was fun and challenging. We camped by this river in the forest after being lost the whole day and wondering when we should start hunting and gathering wild berries to survive. But I'll add a POI as a camping spot. The road is unnamed and for the life of me none of us can remember how we got there, but It's awesome!
Coming down from the mountains we hit these amazing winding roads which took us through a valley and down to the plains towards Pamplona. Again I have to apologise, people.... I've added it as the N230 in Aragon. Put it this way. Take any road in this area and you'll be assured of a great ride!
You should really really take this road. Canyons, rivers, good roads and lovely lovely bends.
We finally made our way down to Spain and the landscape changed so dramatically and suddenly that I thought I must have fell asleep and woken up hours later on a different trip. Riding into Pamplona the rolling Pyrenees foothills gave way to open plains. But they were weird plains in that you think all the land was flat, but suddenly the road would drop into a lower 'plateau' quite our of sight from the road you just came from and then you'd pop up again in a different spot minutes later.
As it turns out, we were a few days early for the running of the bulls, but I scammed a free poster off a lady in a cafe anyway. To be honest, I was glad to miss it. Tradition has given way to gory tourism which means more bulls killed for the sake of a tourist dollar (sorry that's just my feeling on the matter).
But that all said - we checked out the city and seeing all the hotels were fully booked we pushed on to camp by a nearby lake and met a couple of cool French guys on their custom Choppers.