... by our glimpse of the Pyrenees at Laparade, we set off yesterday for Pau.
A new motorway (the A65) has just opened that goes from this side of Bordeaux down to the mountains and we'd been wanting to try it. Although we travel some way west along the A62 before joining the A65 to turn south, it is a much faster route than crossing the Landes directly on country roads.
The last time we went to Pau heavy cloud cover meant that, although they are only 30 kilometers away, we had no sight of the Pyrenees and we set off somewhat doubtfully yesterday under leaden skies wondering if we'd have the same experience again. But gradually as we travelled down, patches of blue broke through and we watched delightedly as the mountains slowly emerged. How could we not have seen these giants last time?
We arrived just after noon. No time to waste. A quick march with Vita along the Boulevard des Pyrénées past the Irish bar and the Australian bar to a proper French restaurant with a terrace that was rapidly filling up, where we could sit and bask in the sun, eat well and revel in the glorious backdrop. Vita, squeezed in at our feet alongside the narrow alleyway between the tables, was smiled at by most of the waiters as they rushed past and fed crispy duck skin by the man at the table opposite us.
With Christmas only just over and children not yet back at school, Pau was "en fête" in the warm sun, with a plastic skating rink and a huge blow-up toboggan run and a wonderfully girly two-storey roundabout with (appropriately) a solitary small female passenger in pink.
My photography does not do the mountains justice and they fade away against the light blue sky. Next time we'll stay longer - perhaps overnight - so I can catch their shapes lit up by the setting sun.