Springtime in the Pyrenees

In East and Southern Africa it is the rainy season during April and May.

For most of my life this period has conjured up images of abundance, greenery, mud, adventure, with a bit of steamy warmth.

As this is not the best time to be on safari, I have traditionally chosen to tour North America at some point during this period, catching up with people who have traveled with us, and meeting more folks keen to experience a new adventure. That is always a great contrast with the times that I spend in the bush.

This year is a little different, as we are immersed in a project at home in the Pyrenees adding an extension to our house, which will include much needed separate office space. As a result I have been in our home area at a time when I am usually away.

My family and I recently spent a few days in the San Sebastián area on the north coast of Spain. This is a picturesque town full of small bars renowned for the “pintxos” or tapas. We visited the market at Tolosa where everything from fresh baked bread, cheeses, sausages, fruit and other goods were on sale in a festive atmosphere. We hiked the coastline, enjoying stunning views of the ocean, to the hidden port of Pasajes, a real gem.

This contrasted with hiking in the more remote and wild areas nearer us, which varies enormously depending on whether we choose to go a little south exploring the massive conglomerate rocks that overlook the vast dry meseta below, or to the north, higher into the mountains, where greener pastures are home to marmots and isard (Pyrenean chamois), and where vultures, eagles and Lammergeyers soar the skies.


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