Tag Archives: France

My Favorite Images Of 2020

2020 has been  some sort of a roller coaster ride to all of us I guess. But despite Covid 19, my life this past year has been dominated by whitnessing and photographing the coolest comet in ages, traveling to France with one of my sons and of course roaming the back yards of my beloved home. Life is good, even with a lot of restrictions. So here are my twelve favorites of 2020. Enjoy and have a good one in 2021!

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Milky Way above Hohe Göll Ridge, Upper Bavaria, Germany…

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Comet Neowise, Stilfser Joch, South Tyrol…

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Setting crescent Moon above hop fields, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Crescent Moon and Venus above hop fields, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Comet Neowise and noctilucent clouds above my home town, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Comet Neowise at Stilfser Joch, South Tyrol…

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Bidding farewell to fading comet Neowise, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Setting crescent Moon above a field of round bales of straw, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Setting full Moon in the morning, seen from Biarritz, France…

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Twilight at Col d´Osquich, France…

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Mother Mary mosaic at Lourdes, France…

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Star gazing with my son – Saturn and Jupiter above our heads, Cirque de Navacelles, France…

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Along France´s Coastline

Some impressions from France´s coastline from around Calais down to Biarritz while traveling it for three weeks in Aug./Sept. 2020. Enjoy!

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First night at the sea, Cap Gris-Nez…

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First morning at the sea, Cap Gris-Nez…

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Oyster poles, Cap Gris-Nez…

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A windy sunday afternoon at Ambleteuse…

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White cliffs at Le Treport and…

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Mers-les-Bains…

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A couple enjoying the show at Le Treport…

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White cliffs at Etretat…

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Overlooking Etretat…

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Storm is coming in at Etretat…

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View from Longues-sur-Mer towards Arramanches-les-Bains and the remains of the Mulberry B complex…

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Les Braves monument at Omaha Beach…

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…the reason I initiated the Tour de France…

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Mont-Saint-Michel out in the mud flats…

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La Tombelaine at sunset…

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View from the dunes of Pilat towards the Atlantic Ocean…

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Les Cavaliers beach, north of Biarritz…

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Setting full Moon in the morning, seen from Biarritz, facing Spain´s coastline (to the right)…

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Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, Sept. 2020

The reason we did a detour to this small town at the foothills of the French Pyrenees? My uncle Xaver has been stationed here for a couple of weeks as part of the German occupying forces during WW 2 in April/May 1941 (he has been killed in the war around Wolchow/Russia, Sept. 1942). Since I still have a postcard and two photographs from that time, I´ve been very eager to come to this place and to see for myself – 79 years later. To be honest, this has been the most emotional experience during the whole three weeks of traveling. As always, this story is told by the photos I took…Enjoy!

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The original postcard from 1941…notice the bridge and the road leading towards St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the main road at that time, the railway tracks to the left, crossing the road at the small building off-center right. We have been on the search for this location where the photo has been probably taken for a couple of hours…the tick in the image probably marks the place of his guest family he lived with…

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Backside of the postcard, which I unfortunately can´t decipher…

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My uncle Xaver (right) with his guest family…

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I´m not sure where this young lady fits in, maybe a romance…

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Like all places of the Basque Provinces, St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port also got two names – a French one and a Basque one. Most of the French names of the places along our tour have been made unreadable, not wanting to be recognized as French…

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We went uphill to the vineyards around St.-Jean, searching for the location where the postcard might have been taken and ended up at a very steep gravel road, overlooking the whole area…

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Pano of 23 images, overlooking the vineyards and St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port…

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While heading down to town, I noticed a wine grower in one of the fields. I stopped, turned back, grabbed the postcard and photos and went towards him. He has been pretty stunned to see a German tourist with his Sprinter traversing the vineyards I reckon. I greeted him politely in french and showed him the postcard, not speaking any French at all, in hope he could point me towards the right location the postcard might have been taken. With hands and feet I tried to explain him the meaning of this all, I even wrote 1941 into the soil with a stick and showed him the other photographs. As I mentioned the word “Onkel” (German), and since the translation and prononciation for it in French is almost the same – oncle – he suddenly realized I was on the search for my uncles past. The moment he realized it, his eyes got wide open and he smiled at me, something like: good on you. At that very moment, my eyes got wet and I almost started crying. He gave me directions where to look for and wished me a good day. All that happened in an blink of an eye and unfortunately I got no image of the farmer, but this moment will be with me forever.

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The brigde from the postcard is still there…

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The old main road with the bridge leading to St.-Jean…

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We finally found the site where the postcard have been taken, but overgrown with trees and buildings – who wonders after almost 80 years…mission completed…

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Apocalypse de St-Emilion, St-Emilion, France, Sept. 2020

While being on the way from Carnac to Biarritz, we stopped by at a town called Saint Emilion, some 50 km east of Bordeaux. Never heard of it before, the travel guide acknowledged it as a spot for its world famous wines and its medieval architecture. We haven´t been prepared for what to come – to say the least. The church has been tremendous, with its old paintings and frescoes, but walking through the side door into the cloister, we starred at a wall full of paintings of the Apocalypse of the New Testament. We were blown away by the beauty of the paintings, a modern interpretation of the Apocalypse of John – we had no clue at all what would await us around these holy walls. I´m not very much into surprises, but this one made my day. More info about this exhibition can be found here (in french): http://apocalypse-saint-emilion.com . Enjoy!

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Tour de France, Nightscapes, Aug./Sept. 2020

Back from a three-weeks tour around France in Aug./Sept. 2020, traveling some 5700 km with my son and my trusted Sprinter van. Not to many nighttime shooting possibilities this time, but we got away with some cool locations. As always, nightscapes first. Enjoy!

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Setting crescent Moon above the Channel…

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Setting crescent Moon @ Cap Gries-Nez, with the lights of the south coast of England to the right…

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Constellation of Cassiopeia @ Longues-sur-Mer…

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Reflections @ Longues-sur-Mer…

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Big Dipper and Arcturus @ Longues-sur-Mer…

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Camper van parade @ Longues-sur-Mer…

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Crepuscular rays after sunset @ Biarritz…

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Full Moon setting in the morning, with Belt of Venus and Earth Shadow, looking towards Spain…

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Nautical twilight @ Col d´Osquich…

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Enjoying the show @ Col d´Osquich…

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Saturn, Jupiter, Milkyway @ Lac des Gaves…

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Saturn and Jupiter @ Chateau de Queribus…

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Saturn, Jupiter, Milkyway @ Cirque de Navacelles…

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Milkyway above the light polluted Cirque de Navacelles…

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The beauty of the night sky – what better than that @ Cirque de Navacelles…

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My Favorite Images Of 2018

Though I have been to a lot of countries in 2018, some of my favorite shots happened just around the corner of my home turf (Lower Bavaria, Germany). Narrowing down some +10k images into a set of 12 takes some time, but showing them off in a community with like-minded photographers is more than rewarding. If you want to be a part of it too, head over to: https://www.jmg-galleries.com/blog/2018/12/16/blog-project-photos-2018/ and say Hi to Jim Goldstein, who is putting up this project every year. Enjoy!

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Solitude @ Ofenpass, Suisse Alps, Switzerland…

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Mercury (bottom) and Venus (center left) being watched, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Good Friday´s Full Moon rising, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Along the Isar River, Upper Bavaria, Germany…

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Pano of 26 single shots taken with a 8″ Meade telescope and a 24mm Hyperion eyepiece, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Total eclipse of the Moon, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Stargazing with my teenage daughter at my brothers farmland, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Colle del Nivolet, 2612 m, Italy…

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Pano of 20 single images, Little St Bernard Pass, 2188 m, looking towards France…

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On top of Mont Chaberton, 3131 m, France…

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Crescent Moon and the hopfields of the Hallertau, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Camp under the stars with my grown-up sons, Theth National Park, Albania…

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Mont Chaberton

Is there a more weirder thing than a fort on top of a 3130 m high mountain? While coming across images of Mont Chaberton late 2017, the destination for my next trip was set for the French Alps in August 2018. After a week of touring, I arrived in Fenils/I on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The weather forecast looked promising, so I packed my 20 kg backpack and hit the track around 06:00 pm, to avoid the hot afternoon sun. My plan was to arrive late at night on top of Mont Chaberton, to photograph the stars and the Milkyway and of course to spend the night up there. Around 10:00 pm, the weather started to change; clouds moved in, thunder and lightning followed. The benefit of traveling on your own: you don´t have to ask anyone where or when to go, what to do or what not to do. The downfall: you can´t ask someone for advice in a situation like this while being completely on your own. When the rain started at Clot des Morts at 2457 m, after four hours of hiking, I was still confident that the storm would pass as quickly as it came. The thunder was far away, some 25 seconds counting, and heading back was no option. But the further I went on, the rain got heavier and the thundering intervals shortened. So what to do?! Though this situation brought me to my limits, mentally speaking, I closed my eyes, and I decided: whatever would come to my mind first, I will do. And of course, some praying will help to. My intuition was to further go up and to find a spot to get shelter from the storm. Around 11:00 pm, I arrived at Col du Chaberton, 2650 m, the pass underneath Mont Chaberton. As I looked the way back, I saw clouds moving in up from the valley floor, dropping the sight down to zero within minutes. I thought everything is lost now. Luckily the clouds moved away as quickly as they came in and the same moment I spotted the ruins at Col du Chaberton, probably the remains of the former barracks of the fort. What a relief, just in time. I found a small shelter where I could change my cloth and meanwhile the thunder counting dropped down to three seconds. The place has been too small to lay down and sleep, so I had to wait another hour, around 12:00 pm, till the storm dispersed and I could put up my mat and sleeping bag on a flat spot around the ruins. At 04:00 am I got up to hit the last batch of the Mont Chaberton trail, just in time to witness the sunrise with its magical light. A night to remember for sure. Enjoy!

PS: I met some french fellows up there in the morning. One of the guys goes by the name of Ce Dric. I´m sorry, but I couldn´t find you on social media. If you ever come across this post, please drop me a note. Cheers!

View from Col Lauson, 2497 m, towards Mont Chaberton…

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On track, late evening…

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Looking back at sunset with the clouds coming in…

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Shelter from the storm…but also a preferred spot by hikers to relieve oneself…

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Thunder and rain passed, the stars came out…

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Bivouac for a couple of hours after the rain had stopped…

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Greeted on top of the mountain by a camp fire and some french fellows, minutes before sunrise…

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Belt of Venus and Earth Shadow indicates the upcoming sunrise on the opposite side…

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The artillery battery on top of Mont Chaberton…

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Sunrise…

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Artillery battery, Mont Chaberton…

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Facing north-west @ sunrise…

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Facing south @ sunrise…

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Facing south-east @ sunrise…

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Enjoying the show…

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Can it get much weirder? A flattened mountain top with artillery batteries…

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Forte Chaberton, 3130m…

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Inside the fort…

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Memorial stone, Mont Chaberton…

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Memorial stone, Mont Chaberton…

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Heading back on a sunny Monday morning…

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Col du Chaberton, 2650 m…

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Clot des Morts, 2457 m…

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Col du Chaberton to the left…

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The “Cracked Rock” to the right, along the old military road (start of construction 1898)…

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One last look back, before the track hits the forest again…

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Where the fun started: 14 km and 1500 m difference in altitude all the way up to Mont Chaberton, from the italian side at Fenils…

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Touring The Western Alps

Here is a random set of images from my recent 14 day journey through the Western Alps, the border region of Italy and France. It will take some time to go through the pile of images, even more I will be away again in two weeks time, heading down to the Balkans…Enjoy!

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Colle de Nivolet, 2612 m, Italy…

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Milky Way @ Gran Paradiso NP, Italy…

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Colle del Gran San Bernardo, 2469 m, Italy…

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Crescent Moon @ Colle del Picollo San Bernando, 2188 m, Italy…

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Fort @ Colle de Finestre, 2176 m, Italy…

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Shelter for the night after an unexpected thunderstorm @ Col du Chaberton, 2671 m, France…

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Camp for the night after rain and thunder passed away @ Col du Chaberton, 2671 m, France…

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Sunrise @ Mont Chaberton, 3136 m, France…

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Sunset @ Col de Finestre, 2176 m, Italy…

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Dusk @ Col de Finestre, 2176 m, looking towards Valle di Susa, Italy…

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Abandoned bunker from WW II @ Colle de la Bonette, 2715 m, France…

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Chamois @ Col de la Lombarde, 2351 m, Italy…

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Somewhere along the road @ Parc Naturel Regional du Queyras, France…

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Camp for the night @ Crete de la Lausetta, 2371 m, Italy to the left, France to the right…

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Looking towards Mont Blanc (covered by clouds, to the right)…

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Flock of sheep along Col de la Bonette, France…

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Zen at its best, between Saorge and Tende, France…

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Rainbow @ Col de L´Iseran, 2770 m, France…

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Bunker @ Col de la Bonette, 2715 m, France…

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Fort @ Colle di Tenda, 1908 m, Italy…

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The Pyrenees, France, 2009

Visiting friends in a foreign country and living with them for a couple of days is one of the nicest ways of traveling I can think of. The flight from Memmingen (Germany) to Girona (Spain) and the drive with a rental car thereon up to France in direction Perpignan / Foix / Massat / LePort and finally Salbis (884m, 42.86°N, 1 .39°E), was quite a journey on its own. Susi and her boyfriend Eric have built up there their own little sanctuary for the last couple of years. In the summer months they are renting donkeys for selfguided trips and accommodate people who want to live back to nature for some time. And I can assure you: going on a backpacking trip with donkeys, camping around alpine huts, getting freshwater from a spring, eating blueberries and climbing up mountain peaks for three days is something you´ll never forget. Even better, there has been no other people around. Lying in your sleeping bag, you just hear the wind blowing and the owls howling. Being back at Susi`s and Eric´s place, we had some more time to relax and to enjoy life.  There are still some spots left in Europe which are not that crowded and polluted, and this is one of them. Though this journey has been in late August 2009, we still think about that great time we had over there!  Thanks Susi and Eric @ http://www.baladane.com/ ! Enjoy!

 

Spanish/French border @ Portbou(E) and Cerbère (F)

 

The Mediterranean Coast @ Portbou, Spain

 

Our home for the next couple of days @ Salbis, Pyrenees, France

 

On the way to Goutets, historic site @ Pyrenees, France

 

 Camping at Goutets @ 1418 m, 42.84° N/1.42° E, Pyrenees, France

 

From Goutets to Col de Goulur @ Pyrenees, France

 

Camping around Col de Goulur @ 1564 m, 42.85°N/1.43°E, Pyrenees, France

 

On top of Col de Goulur @ 1851 m, 42.85 N°/1.45° E, Spanish Pyrenees in the far distance

 

 The donkey trek is coming down @ Pyrenees, France

 

Fortress of Carcassonne, formerly capital of  the Cathars

 

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ( Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French Writer, 1900-1944)

 

 

(Note: Some of the photos lack a bit of quality due to scanning from already developed (paper)images into digital; they have been shot with an analog SLR, Ricoh XR-10, the others are shot with a Canon Power Shot A80; these days I had no DSLR; but anyway, it´s the experience that counts!)