St. Genis - Estagel: A col and its wine - France: Between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 5, 2007

St. Genis - Estagel: A col and its wine

We are heading northwest today on our way back to where we started our trip. When we went to bed the wind was still blowing strong but this morning there is miraculously no wind at all! The peach farmer comes around to collect the campsite fee and we exchange a few words about the weather. He studies the sky a moment and explains that those clouds portend no good, the wind shall start up soon. He knew what he was talking about. By the time we had packed up and had our morning coffee in town, the clouds had disappeared but the wind was doing its thing.

Obviously the roads aren't straight as an arrow and headwinds aren't always headwinds just as tailwinds aren't always tailwinds. We get the occasional sidewind, have stretches that aren't so exposed and as we progress, the hills before us come closer.

It's still cool when we leave St Génis-des-Fontaines
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We again have beautiful countryside as we head north through the small towns of Trouilla, Thuir, St. Féliu and Pézilla. Then comes the climb over the Col de la Dona to Estagel which is exhilarating. It isn't terribly high, but it's a col nevertheless and the views are lovely.

Quiet streets in Thuir at noon
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Bell tower in Pézilla
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Ascent to Col de la Dona
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On the way down - I am the red blur on the road
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Our reward in the evening: We cycled past these vineyards on the col
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Along today's route there are no campgrounds that are still open, but the hotel we find in Estagel is very pleasant. At the end of the trip we saw that we had camped exactly half of the time. This made me feel that it was definitely worth while carrying the extra weight of the tent (actually Janos carried the tent), the sleeping bag and mat. It's not just the weight, since my sleeping bag and mat don't weigh much, it's the bulk that irritates me. I don't like the extra pieces of baggage. For that reason I don't want to use front panniers, either. It would mean every time I carry my things into the hotel room or get into a train, I have in addition to my two rear panniers and handle-bar bag two more bags to fret over.

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