Adventures must be done!

The Pyrenees: From Poblat de Lillet to Gosol

We took the night train from Lausanne down to Barcelona, hoping to enjoy the only sunny spot in Europe (thanks to a persistent low pressure system rotating over the European Central Alps).
When we got near Barcelona it actually rained! It also rained during the bus ride to the Pyrenees (via Berga to Poblat de Lillet), it also rained during the first two hour hike to the first hut (Refugi Erols), it also rained during dinner and also during the night. We even got some thunder and lightning. It really looked crap, that's the about it. Although, being in a hut made things better, I had already imagined camping out while hiking the first bit! Yuck! Wasn't according to my idea of having a good, sunny time in Spain. So we payed a lot of money to escape the central alps, only to be rained upon in the Pyrenees. Choice!
Some days are just crap!

Right, but you got to hold on during those times. Next morning, the sky was clear, quite unexpected but not unwelcome. We started hiking up the winding gravel road, I opted for a shortcut (we had time to do it) and indeed ended up on a wrong track. That was soon realised and we made it back to the correct trail without much backtracking but sidling through a paddock full of cows, no bulls to be seen. It was quite some ascent today and we also saw a great number of vultures soaring up in the air from their roosting rocks. We got to the Coll de Pal after around 2hrs hiking. There were clouds building up and it rather looked like Scotland.

Chucky and I on the Coll de Pal

Chucky in the Highlands ..... of the Pyrenees

We sidled along the scree slopes of the Serrat Gran without seeing too much of the surroundings thanks to the low hanging clouds. It was about midday when we reached a derelict hut without any further marks of the trail we had followed. Time for lunch. Also time to have a play with the GPS. We found that we were not where we thought we were and that any further progress in the previous direction would have led us towards some cliffs .... thus including a very slight chance of dying. The weather cleared up in the afternoon and we enjoyed a tramp through pine forest and over alpine pastures.
From the Coll de Moixeró we took an interesting, and seldomly traveled path down towards the Refugi Sant Jordi. During this descent we spotted some enormous grasshopper like creatures.

One of the big grasshoppers

The Refugi was a nice place on a meadow in an alpine valley with big cliffs on the western side. It even featured a solar powered shower, which we utilized after this long day. There was however no toilet, thus nasty surprises were hidden all around the place. Clear water was to be sourced from a spring called Font del Faig.

Another crystal clear morning followed the overcast sky of the previous night.

Dawn in the Pyrenees

We ascended from the hut to the Coll del Pendis, then followed the ever climbing ridge line towards Comabona (2547m) which we reached in the early afternoon. A stiff, cold breeze made us not stay long on the flattish, not well defined summit, but made us don jackets, beanies and gloves. A gentle downhill section led to a high plateau that was grazed by horses.

Chucky tramping in Mongolia?

More downhill was followed by a gravel road that led down to the Refugi Lluis Estasen. We were pretty buggered when we got there, another long day lay behind us. The welcoming in the hut was not made to make us feel any better. The hut was run by some English woman (Chucky: "What a cow!"), she kept my SAC member card and told us that there was a shower, which we should really use as our feet were stinking. Not incorrect, but how rude! We were also shown a little room that acted as a kitchen for those customers preparing their own meals. I felt like having a tea. Cooking inside seemed out of place, I decided to set up my stove outdoors, fully expecting some interesting reaction from the side of the best hated host so far. Indeed, as soon as the kettle was on, she came along and told me that cooking was supposed to be done inside. 'Yeah, but the view's much better out here!' objected I. That touched a nerve and we could see how she chewed hard on that one. Finally she snapped: "Right, as long as there are not too many people!".
I also considered not having a shower just to make a statement of protest, but then had one anyway.
There was quite some rain this evening and our plans for tomorrows climb looked not too good.

We got up at 6am, just in time to see the sky getting tinted red and yellow in the East. No cloud was to be seen and soon we were on our way to the top of Pollegó Superior (2497m). The early morning sun gave the white rock a pink touch. It was a brilliant morning. The last couple of hundred metres (vertical) involved some easy climbing (UIAA 1-2), not too dangerous, just good enough to be exiting.

Chucky climbing on the way up to Pollegó Superior

The view on top was grand and we felt great after the climb.
There was also a post with flags, garments and even a 'Shrek' figure tied to it.
We enjoyed the views for almost one hour, had second breakfast and then headed off towards Gosol, the little village below us.
We got to Gosol with one hour to spare, that would do to find the bus station, or so we thought. Chucky asked in a restaurant where the lady spoke only German apart from Catalyan and Spanish. I made my inquires in a hotel where there was even a bus timetable. The hostlady was talking rapidly to me, the only thing I sort of understood was "mañana, mañana!", which sounded to me like 'demain, demain'. Yes, indeed, with the help of one gentleman speaking English, I was told that the next bus would leave tomorrow morning! The footnote close to the 1430 time was apparently non-legible to them although I tried to point them towards it.
We had more luck in the restaurant where I could use my German. There should be a bus this afternoon and it would leave from the central place of this village.
All this had taken considerable time, now we were standing outside of the restaurant and figuring out what to do, as the entrance into the village was partly blocked for the traffic when there was a small bus approching that was to be our means of escaping this place. From there on, everything went according to plan again and we got to Barcelona just in time to cook a dinner in front of the train station.
There was a baggage scanning going on, so, having prepared the food, we walked over and placed our backpacks and the billy with yummy millet in it on the conveyor belt. The billy reappeard unscathed on the other side and we proceeded to the train compartment where we finally had time to eat dinner.