Along the Pyrenees 4: Massat, mountain capital of countercultures

Another nomad told me that in Ariège, Massat, a village south (and therefore uphill) from Saint-Girons, was the hippies’ HQ. So I decided to go, mingle, and see what happened. As I drove up the valley toward Massat (you pronounce the t), I went past several organic vegetables and fruits shops. On the road, moreContinue reading “Along the Pyrenees 4: Massat, mountain capital of countercultures”

Along the Pyrenees 3: Saint-Bertrand-de-Commingues

The village of Saint-Bertrand-de-Commingues was a turning point as I made my way east along the Pyrenees. It was the first time I felt I was going towards the Mediterranean. It was the first day of unblinking sunshine in a while, and I welcomed the dry heat, after the cool, damp high mountains. But theContinue reading “Along the Pyrenees 3: Saint-Bertrand-de-Commingues”

Along the Pyrenees 2: into the clouds

I thought there were sea people and mountain people, just like there are cat people and dog people. As a proud Breton, I was a firm sea person. I thought the sea and its tides couldn’t be matched; they create a landscape kaleidoscope that pins my attention to the present moment like nothing else. IContinue reading “Along the Pyrenees 2: into the clouds”

Along the Pyrenees 1: Béarn

From the Basque country, I drove westwards along the Pyrenees, staying on the French side of this magnificent mountain range. Straight as an arrow between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, a natural border between France and Spain, between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. If you want to go anywhere fast, stay in theContinue reading “Along the Pyrenees 1: Béarn”

The Basque hinterland

The hinterland of the Basque country is, in my opinion, even more pleasant than the coast. There the landscapes of rolling hills building up to peaks is just as spectacular. And the culture is less diluted than on the coast. On the hills, pottoks (pie ponies) and cows live semi-wild. Their bells provide as soothing,Continue reading “The Basque hinterland”