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Old April 24th, 2010, 03:35 AM   #1
Giri
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Jaca : a Pyrenean town in Aragon (Spain) - Spring 2010

Aka "Giri fait l'Espagne". Jaca is just on the other side of the Pyrenees. It's about 2h30's drive from home which makes Saint Sebastian an easier town to reach despite the latter being farther from where I live. Only one explaination : that damn Pyrenees must be crossed and there are only 2 main passes to reach Aragon (one of them now being replaced by a tunnel : the infamous Somport tunnel).

As far as I am concerned, there's not a more dramatic border in Europe than the one between France and Spain : two complete universes are being opposed. France is neat, green, tidy, a bit boring. Spain is arid, hot, clumsy and dynamic. And yet, as proved by toponymy or History, both sides used to share many links that were eventually broken after the French Revolution. Still, Spain is what could be called exotism in your backyard.

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We begin in the Ossau Valley on the French side (capital : Laruns). The valley is dominated by an iconic 2-peak mount named Pic du Midi.

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Let's ascend the Pourtalet pass.

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Reaching the summit : bye bye France.

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Formigal is the first agglomeration when crossing the border. The contrast is already striking : roads in Spain are large, a bit chaotic, the landscape is much more dramatic.

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I did not stop to take that pic of Sallent de Gállego (where I had my first paella about 20 years ago) but in order to vomit as I was feeling sick because of a stupid lavender artificial perfume in the car.

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Many artificial lakes on the Spanish side.

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The Tena Valley is not as long as its French northern counterpart : there's about 1 hour's driving from the pass summit to Oloron, Jaca's twin city. Main Aragonese cities such as Biescas or Sabiñánigo. Change of scenery is drastic.

Oliván :

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Lárrede :

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Senegüé :

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Crossing the Gállego :

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We reach Sabiñánigo for lunch. Plato combinado as usual.

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It's time to join Jaca, capital of Jacetania, through the large Aragón valley.

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Mount Visaurin in the distance.

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Larrés :

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Espuéndolas :

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Gracionépel :

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Borrés :

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We reach the outskirts of Jaca with the villages of Ipas and Guasa. The Rapitán Fort is the first view of the town.

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Jaca is situated in the large agricultural valley of the Aragón river. Its main attractions are the citadel and the cathedral.


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Calle Mayor :

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Calle de la Universidad :

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Plaza de las Cortes de Aragón :

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Calle del Carmen :

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Calle Mayor :

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The ramparts :

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Barós :

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Towards the cathedral :

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Calle de San Nicolás :

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Plaza de Ripa :

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Plaza de la Catedral :

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I love panoramic views. But in order to get them, one has to ascend mountains and high viewpoints. Not that I suffer from vertigo. I just fear the brutality of the mountains. And I'm terrified by the color blue.

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North is France. On the right : "El Rapitán".

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We'll get back to France later. BTW the weather seems misty.

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The Rapitán pass is neverending. Eventually :

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Full size

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Barós :

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Ulle :

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Pamplona is this way.

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Before leaving Spain, I cannot help buying "queso" at the local Eroski. There I discovered the existence of "Biodiésel". Which is just diesel in France.

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To France !

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Castiello de Jaca :

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Villanúa :

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The Somport Tunnel in Canfranc :

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About 15 minutes' driving in that long corridor, and then France : the Aspe Valley.

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The weather was not very good on that evening.

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We leave the valley in Asasp in the outskirts of Oloron.

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Bidos :

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Spain is on the other side. I'm not home yet but it'll be another tour.

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France : Brittany (Nantes) ; Normandy ; Champagne-Ardennes ; Picardy ; Paris
SW France : Béarn ; Bordeaux ; The Basque Country (new! Soule); Bigorre ; Landes

Last edited by Giri; April 24th, 2010 at 03:49 AM.
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Old April 24th, 2010, 05:19 AM   #2
Aaron W
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Such beautiful scenery!
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Old April 24th, 2010, 07:44 AM   #3
ashton
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^ Thank you. I enjoyed every picture!
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Old April 24th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #4
christos-greece
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Beautiful, very nice photos from Aragon
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