In reality we weren't even certain if we were going to do the Pyrenean Way when we landed in Perpignan. It just felt like a bit too much of a step up from our previous trips. We'd hiked along the coast earlier in the year and had lots of experience in the Lakes over long weekends, but this felt different. This time we'd be in the high mountains for 9-10 days, away from built up civilisation and very much on our own. So although we'd packed for the trail and stripped our bags down even more than for our Easter trip to Costa Del Sol, there was still a part of us that was ready to spend a week camping by the sea if the mountains looked too hard.
|Col de la Perche - the start of our hike|
Armed with our Cicerone guide, "The GR10 Trail", describing the route and accommodation options we
|First wash of the day!|
|The only way is up|
|Food never tasted better.|
Cooking above 2000m!
Day 3 began with a slow start as we worked out how to rejoin the GR10. A local trail should allow us tomeet the main GR10 at the Col de Segales about 1700m above our heads. A stiff climb. And it was. The trail just went up and up and up and as the sun got hotter we had no choice but to push on. Eventually, after several hours of hard slog we reached the Col and cooked our lunch. Home-made dehydrated food has never tasted so good (even though whatever is in it, it always seems to tastes the same!). From here it was a relatively flat traverse around the base of the Pic du Canigou until we found a nice flat spot to pitch our tent for the night. It was at this point Esther chose to tell me that there were bears in the Pyrenees. So instead of falling straight to sleep like my body wanted, I lay awake for 3 hours listening for bears! Imagine how I felt when I got up for a pee, flicked on my head torch and saw eyes in the distance. Bloody Marmosets.
The following day we had no way of thanking him but left a "merci" in stones on his doorstep before heading off. Another very long but peaceful day in the high mountains followed but the end of the day was surreal. Arriving into Perthus, described as a tourist trap in our guide we were confident we could find a B&B for the night before completing our trek to Banyuls-sur-mer tomorrow. However, instead of a tourist trap we had wandered into a French/Spanish border duty-free mecca of booze, cigarettes and perfumes. Most importantly there was no B&B. Well there was, but it was closed on a Wednesday and today was Wednesday. We started to ask around and tried a security guard who stopped what seemed to be a random passer by who offered to drive us to a B&B on the Spanish side of the border 4km away on the motorway. Long story short, it turned out this gentleman owned the perfumery we had been outside when we asked for directions and he owned another one just over the border next to a very reasonably priced B&B where we stayed the night. The next day he even arranged for one of his staff to drive us back to Perthus where we had left the GR10.
|Looking back towards the Canigou|
|Collioure in the sea mist!|
|Early morning walk to the airport|
|Plaque marking the end / start of the GR10 in Banyuls sur Mer|