Last week Tim & I took off on our summer holiday to France. We flew from Cork to Carcassone with Ryanair, the flight is only an hour and forty five minutes. Pre- booking your seats costs a few extra euro, but to me, not doing it would ruin my holiday. That may sound a little dramatic but i’m extremely claustrophobic. A seat as close to the front as possible means a stress free flight – always a good way to start my trip!
Once we arrived we drove south to Ax- Le- Therme in the Pyrenees. Actually I drove, Tim gets to navigate. So after a few miles of trying to change gear in the door and being very careful of roundabouts we settled into enjoying the scenery.
This area of France is beautiful (isn’t most of it?) very little English is spoken and its just as you expect a French town to be. However, we only spent the evenings there really – the days were spent having mountain adventures!
Look how pretty!
We have visited this region before so we did one walk that we couldn’t finish last time, and then chose new routes.
The big surprise this time was the heat. They seem to have crazy accurate forecasts, but what the temperature rose to and what it felt like were very different. On our second day it was forecast and hit 38.5°- that is unimaginable if you live in Kerry! However, two days later the forecast was for thunder and rain at 2 pm. At 2.15 pm the heavens opened and the temperature was 14.5°, bizarre, but there you have it.
Even though it was so hot, I wore long trousers for walking. The reason is pure vanity! You see, if you wear shorts you get a tan from the bottom of your shorts to the top of your socks. It cannot be evened up with fake tan (believe me I’ve tried!) You can tell the climbers in town in the evenings, they are the ones with the shocking white ankles and feet!
Visiting the Wolves.
One afternoon was spent at the ‘Maison de Loups’, this was definitely my favourite part of the trip. Now, I have to tell you I am not a fan of keeping animals out of their natural habitat. These wolves were born in captivity and have a huge area of nature reserve to roam in. I’m torn between wanting them to be running free and being so grateful that I could see them as close up as I did.
The park is divided into different areas for different wolves, here are the Arctic wolves.
And Canadian wolves. I cannot explain how much I love this creature, look at the paws!
I was so ridiculously happy I could have cried! They are so beautiful.
I had visions of the evening news having the headline: “Crazy women from Ireland arrested for trying to smuggle a wolf out of the country in her hand luggage”. So I resisted….. just.
All in all, the whole holiday was fantastic. If you like walking (not necessarily up mountains) beautiful scenery and good weather then I would definitely recommend a visit to the Pyrenees.