|Hotel Bellevue Cambo-les-Bains|
After Biarritz it was only a short drive to our hotel in Cambo-les-Bains, the very pretty Hotel Bellevue, and our view over the mountains was indeed beautiful. There was off road parking for the car, a quiet swimming pool and a clean, bright and fresh smelling room (with a well equipped kitchen area) and balcony for our glass of rosé in the evening sun. However we needed to earn our apero so set off to explore on the bikes.
|The balcony Hotel Bellevue|
We made the ten kilometres to Hasparren for a refreshing beer, but by sticking to the slightly flatter main road rather than the route we had planned. This made the cycling easier for me, but we had more traffic to deal with than when out and about at home. Cycling here took far more thought and planning than I was used to. Clipping out for junctions on slopes, setting off, clipping in, turning a corner and finding a steep incline, getting in the correct gear, all with a huge truck bearing down behind made me realise my skills, bike handling and confidence need quite a bit of work. It was as much a mental exercise for my brain as it was a physical exercise for my legs.
I was rested, relaxed, refuelled (having eaten a tart Basquaise and a delicious Gateau Basque) and feeling better about our full day on the bikes, until I spoke to the owner of the restaurant. She laughed when she heard of our plans saying she had once cycled the five kilometres to Espelette and would never do it again. This didn’t fill me with the confidence I needed to complete the 50km route we had plotted for the following day.
|Hanging peppers in Espelette|
|Top of the world|
|A beer and a gateau Basque|
My treat for the day was a cherry gateau Basque to go with my beer, yum yum!
On our last morning we followed the Nive river towards Itxassou and found ourselves a beautiful spot for morning coffee with eagles circling over head. Unfortunately we only managed about 16km as I hadn’t slept too well (the bed was comfy but the room too hot) and the hills were making me wobble.
|The River Nive|
It was lovely to experience an area of France I had wanted to visit, but just as lovely to be back in the gently undulating and curvaceous Poitou-Charentes. I’m not sure my spiritual home is in the mountains.