Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some Pictures from Last Summer

I thought I'd show you a few pictures from last summer's travels into the Pyrenees. Above, is Fergus and myself standing at the top of the Col d’Aubisque. These are by far the largest bicycles I've ever seen. I think they commemorate the Tour de France that passes along this road every few years.
This is a little bit of the village of Eaux Bonnes as seem from above. We spent one night here across from the casino building which is the prominent structure in the center of the photo. It seemed like a wonderful little village whose time has past. It was full of large buildings, hotels and boarding houses that were unused and perhaps abandoned. Looking at the village told the story of a time not too long ago that had wealthy tourists in great numbers filling the casino, walking the streets and sitting at the cafes, swimming in the thermal pools and soaking in the "Good Waters". When we were there, the good times had moved on and although it was a very beautiful place, it was not very lively. We also determined that it would be a very gloomy place to live in the winter as it would not get a lot of winter sun. The village sits in a valley that is steep and deep.

Coming down on the French side of the pass that brought us over from Spain, was this graffiti on an avalanche tunnel. My translation is: "Your valleys smell of gasoline, sneering tourists, and political demagoguery. I am returning to Slovenia." As you may know, some Slovenian bears were brought to France to try to repopulate the Pyrenees with the European equivalent of the Grizzly Bear. The effort has had mixed success. Some French citizens who graze sheep in the mountains were not too excited about having a few more bears to deal with. And the author of this graffiti seems to be saying the habitat, unfortunately, is too damaged to support the bear's need for wilderness and the politicians are too weak willed to support the wilderness ideal. I may have miss-translated the French and/or mangled the sentiment. I am certainly open to comments. What do you think?

Nancy took all the photos above, but this one is my favorite. I think she took this on a morning walk with Fergus just outside of Leran. It was taken in very low light and when you enlarge it, it looks like a Impressionist painting. I hope you like Nancy's photographs, and as always, click on em' to enlarge em'.


man said...

oh my goodness gracious, those are large bicycle!!!!

Peggy said...

Incredibly beautiful mountains in the picture with the large bicycles. If you enlarge that one, you can see that the bicycle by which Doug is posing has red polka dots. Isn't that the pattern of the shirt the fastest climber wears in the Tour? Yellow, of course, is the one that Lance, er...I mean the lead rider, wears.

Linda said...

I love Nancy's "impressionist" picture. Those pixels of other colors and slightly fuzzy edges are artifacts of low-light digital photography that we engineers who worked on the manufacture of digital camera chips used to try to get rid of. I had never considered that they might make the picture so perfectly lovely. This was a digital photo wasn't it? If you did that with film, I am dazzled. Either way, I agree with Doug that it is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Your Impressionist photo is very much like a Russell Chathum painting..Do you remember him from Livingston, MT? His paintings had the same coloring and melancholy quality to them. The Museum of the Rockies once had a show of his work.

Anonymous said...

I also really like your "impressionist" painting. Nancy. But I also love the giant bikes that make Doug look like a "teeny-tiny" guy...and best of all...I love the bear and his grafitti! I think it's significant that we view the bear "ass-first"...HA!

You're just one talented chick!

Take care. Luke