24 July 2012

I'm back at La Lanterne Rouge

And Mom - Olive baked me a Birthday cake!

Two years ago I was lucky to find a wonderful place to stay in Saint-Savin, France. In the heart of one of the richest cycling valleys in the Pyrenees, you will find Paddy and Olive who run La Lanterne Rouge Cycling Lodge (VeloPeloton). They welcome cyclists from around the world to stay and cycle to their hearts content. I stayed for two nights, two nights is definitely not long enough. There are climbs galore, excellent food and good company - why leave?

Paddy and Olive (and young Sean) have become friends, it was so good to return again to see them. But leave I must, tomorrow will be my last day cycling in the Pyrenees before I depart from Toulouse. Awwwh shucks. But look at all the fabulous sights I saw during my stay in Saint-Savin .... 

I arrived last night and took a walk around the tiny town on the hill with a distinctive church (which caught quite a bit of Tour de France air time. So did La Laterne Rouge which was mentioned on TV - so exciting). 
Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden are up valley
Church in Saint Savin
town of Saint-Savin near Argeles-Gazost
local homes
Saint-Savin town square
Lavendon Valley
View across to the Hautacam
My corner room at La Lanterne Rouge
Today I cycled to Gavernie. A nice easy road which definitely ranks as a "destination ride".
I got to cycle this road to the Cirque de Gavernie
hiking to the Cirque
I sat by this creek for a long time with my feet in the water
hiking families came by (love the baguettes in the backpack)
local school boys were fishing for trout
Grandpa was watching
These souvenirs kept whistling (crack me up)
The Napoleon Bridge on the road back to Saint Luz Sauveur
We had a delicious dinner tonight and Olive made Katie (their niece) and me a birthday cake. There are two other guests at the Lodge right now, Jonathan from England who is riding his bike (and eating cakes) all over France for 6-weeks and Audrey who just arrived from Singapore, another Aussie guest left yesterday after staying for 10-days. 
Tonight after dinner I sat out in the yard and chatted with Paddy, always good conversation with Paddy around, it was nice to relax as the sun was setting. If you are a cyclist, La Lanterne Rouge is a nice place to stop by for a few days, climbs in the area (out the back door) include the well known climbs of the Tour de France - Col du Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden, Hautacam, Col du Soulor, Col d'Aubisque. Plus fantastic riding to and hiking in the areas of Cirque de Gavernie and Cautarets. Would you believe La Lanterne Rouge is already booked up for 2 weeks around the 2013 Tour de France by a large group from New South Wales, Australia. 
The road from Saint-Savin to Gavernie
Tomorrow more riding, and packing.