The perfect strike -by Paul Baldacchino during Malta Open


The Pyrenees straddle south west France from the Atlantic to the Med.  I started my adventure  at the foot of the mountain chain. Carcassone boasts an incredible fortified citadel guarding the pyrennean approaches.  It has the perfect setting for medieval films. 
Divided by valleys, cloaked by pines and crested with snow for much of the year, the Pyrennes harbour wildlife and offer spectacular scenery.
 The mountaintop tiny nation of Andorra stands on the east end of the Pyrenees mountain chain,  perched along mountaintops and picturesque valleys.  Famous as a skiing resort, it is also enchanting in summer. 

Four days in the Luchon Valley rewarded us with stunning views and waterfalls. The area offers some fantastic walking treks to various points of truly exceptional beauty (along the route of the Tour de France): 
- Lac D'Oo
- Superbagneres
- Hospice de France
- Bordes du Lys
- Genos
- Arreau

A short uphill drive from Luchon will take you to the Spanish border and then down to the picturesque Spanish Aran Valley, boasting nice views along rivers, lakes and small towns competing for the best cuisine.
At the Central Pyrenees await other majestic scenery.  Many Maltese will know this area for the town of Lourdes which attracts thousands of Maltese each year to visit the shrine.  If you  are in the area, make it a point to spend a day visiting the Pont d'espagne.  Do not settle for a 2 hour tourist bus visit to the outskirts. Take your walking shoes and spend the entire day, walk all the way to the waterfalls and beyond. Another full day excursion should be set aside for Gavarnie.  Walk to and beyond Lac de Gaube. Do not forget your camera and spare batteries and memory card... you may need all of them in a desperate attempt to capture the beauty.
After a week of long walks along the mountain treks and the Parc National des Pyrenees, relax and dine at Biarritz on the Atlantic beaches or head a couple of hours south to the fabulous Spanish border resort of San Sebastian.  Set aside not less than 10 days to truly enjoy this trip and I recommend that you lodge at Gites (family-run, French houses of character offering excellent local cuisine).  Then spoil yourself at a good resort in San Sebastian and dance the night away...

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