End of the French road, part 1

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of France  , Aquitaine,
Saturday, April 25, 2009

We are currently about 15 minuets from the Spanish border on the west coast of France. After our drive through the mountains we came to our first real decision on where the to go next, now its all well and good having the freedom of the road and time on your hands, but without a schedule and a time limit we were finding it hard to make a choices. After many hours of deliberation we decided against going straight down through Andorra then on to Granada in favor of following the Pyrenees along the French side to see a bit more of the mountains (at low level!) and spend a few more days in France which we were both enjoying to much end straight away.

So the rough plan for now is to head towards north Portugal first through Spain then eventually we will get to Granada and head back north through Andorra and onto the French Mediterranean.

After our mini scare we appropriately went to Lourdes, where a lady saw the virgin Mary in a vision, and Mary must have said to her make this town into a religious theme park, so all can come and buy pope on a rope and other every day items with religious symbols on. The guide book describes it as a kitsch must see, it's not, its a dump, how religion has managed to spoil a town in with a stunning panorama is a feat in itself. Its depressing, pointless and a real shame, and in that it has a lot in common with religion anyway.

We continued west stopping to sleep at Oloron Ste Marie. As we went a bit further west we drove into French Basque country, all the houses are painted white with the same shade of deep red painted shutters and doors, not just a few, all of them for the whole of the south east region for what seemed like hundreds of miles, they are obviously proud of their roots. Its quite strange after visiting towns where no two houses have ever been the same. The area in general is quickly changing, and the towns and local people are looking more and more Spanish, but surprisingly the area is very lush and green the, not as barren as we imagined more like the Yorkshire Dales, driving through the hills apart from the houses it did feel a bit like rural home.

So our first two weeks in France draws to a end, its been brilliant. While it has been far to expensive to eat or even drink out at nearly 6 a pint, we have made up for it with lots of picnics, amazing supermarket wine at under a pound a bottle, (a lot better than majority of UK supermarket wine) and brilliant local cooking ingredients. Find of the tour so far has been the humble bisquette, a small pre toasted piece of bread, sold with the crackers it never goes off. We have had them for breakfast with jam, with eggs or beans for lunch, used them as croutons and even as a evening snack with cheese! 10/10 for versatility, storage and time saving as well!

Au revoir France we will be back soon, Hola Espagne
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