Valley of Benasque, first visit for my five-year-old

The sun shines over Benasque's valley, flowers and mountains.

The sun shines over Benasque’s valley, flowers and mountains.

Early August we travelled to the North to visit the Pyrenees, a little concerned about the weather forecast which promised serious precipitation over the course of the week. The first days were innocent enough, although the clouds began to threaten during the second afternoon..

Clouds mounting, above Baños de Benasque.

Clouds mounting, above Baños de Benasque.

The friends we had been walking with that day left us in Plan de Senarta where it was our intention to spend a couple of nights camping. I was in a hurry to pitch our little tent just in case the ominous clouds materialised their threat..but in the end they melted away into a clear evening sky.

Late evening in Senarta..almost bedtime!

Late evening in Senarta..almost bedtime!

However, during the night the clouds returned and early in the morning discharged a few heavy storm-showers. By the time we got up the sky had improved a bit, but still looked less than promising. After a couple of hours mulling it over, we finally decided with some reluctance to head back down the valley – instead of up – towards the town of Benasque.

Beautiful "atmospheric" morning in Benasque valley.

Beautiful “atmospheric” morning in Benasque valley.

The clouds came and went thru the morning..making for one of those mountain mornings where the sensations oscillate from magical to menacing. The mountain rivers rushed in torrents, the birds twittered innocently, the crags and peaks towered over us, the clouds swelled up and then receded again..as we walked neither hurriedly nor leisurely down the valley.

Puente de San Chaume, below Tuca de Ixeia.

Ancient wonders of stone, Puente de San Chaume below Tuca de Ixeia.

As we approached the town of Benasque, looking back up the valley, the weather seemed to have improved, the clouds dissipating..and, as i began to sweat in the hot sun, i was feeling a little pissed off – to say the least – with the forecasters. Nevertheless, just half an hour later, the storm seemed set to break over Benasque..

La Villa de Benasque, storm clouds hovering overhead.

La Villa de Benasque, storm clouds hovering overhead.

..but it didn’t. At least not immediately. In any case we continued to retreat, towards Graus, an hour to the South in prepirineo, and the shelter of our friends’ house. The evening continued to be hot and humid until shortly before nightfall..when the sky finally came down, with thunder and lightning, electrical spectacle, the whole shebang. In some areas of the Pyrenees there were intense rainstorms..not the best night to spend in a tent. In fact many campers had to be evacuated. So, in the end, we had made the right decision.

The following days we spent in the region of Graus, in Panillo where our friends live, visiting the ancient and now abandoned hilltop settlement of Muro de Roda, kayaking on the Barasona reservoir, and making an evening visit to the Dag Shang Kagyu Buddhist monastery..some consolation for not quite getting into the High Pyrenees!

 

 

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About coldspringdays

Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
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