Spain - Valle de Aran - SNP - September 2000

We went on a trip to the Valle de Aran organized by SNP from September 8 2000 to September 17 2000. Below you will find in short where we went and what we saw on that trip.
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September 8: Home - Montrejeau

On the first day of our trip, we went by night train from the Netherlands to Montrejeau (France).

September 9: Vielha - Bagergue

In Montrejeau a coach awaited us to take us to Vielha. There we met ou Dutch tourguide. In Vielha we repacked our backpacks (the larger ones were taken to our hostal in Bagergue) so we only had what we needed in our daypacks. We did some last minute shopping for our lunch (picknick) and started walking around noon. On the way to Bagergue we walked along the river, passing some small villages. Somewhere in a field we had our picknick. We also stopped in Arties for a drink. The last part of the path to Bagergue was quite steep. When we had been waiting for the last people to arrive in Bagergue for about half an hour, Arjen decided to wlak back to see why it was taking them so long. It turned out they were calling the homefront letting them know they'd arrived in Spain without problems.
After a shower in our quite luxurious hostal, we had dinner. After that we went over the details of the next day before we went to bed.

September 10: Orri - Cap the Marimanya - Orri

We got up at 7.15. After breakfast our half of the group was taken by Landrover to some ski-lifts about 45 minutes from Bagergue and walked to the starting point of today's journey. The other half walked to the town of Salardu where they were picked up and brought to the starting point where we had already arrived. This way of getting to the starting point would be used on most of the days.
Around 10.10 we started walking from the Orri ski lift (1820m / 6065ft.). The first stop was at an storage lake at 2100m / 7000ft. Around noon we arrived at another big lake where we had lunch. A few people were brave enough to go into the water. Most of the group then went on to climb to a ridge close to the peak of the Cap the Marimanya. A very steep climb! We wanted to go back over the ridge, but we didn't have enough time, plus that would have been too much for those with vertigo (like Arjen). We went back to the ski lifts the same way as we had walked up. We were taken back to the hotel by the Landrover. After a shower we had dinner. After that we went back to our room to write some postcards before we went to bed.

September 11: Around the Port d'Urets

We were taking a bit into the hills behind Bagergue and walked to the starting point while the other half started walking from the hotel and were picked up later on to be brought to the starting point at around 1500m / 5000ft. Together we started walking around 9.30. First stop was at 1880m / 6265ft. Then we walked on to a lake near the Port d'Urets where we arrived at 12.30. After we had lunched there, 10 of the 15 of our group went on to the Port d'Urets. It was a nice climb up there and when we finally arrived there we could see France on the other side. There also was a bit of snow. And we could see a thunderstorm heading our way... so we decided not to stick around too long but to walk back to the lake straight away. On the way down (not the same way as we had taken up) we some what was left of the mining industry: railtracks, mine shafts and tunnels for the trains. Just after 3pm we arrived back at the lake. The first clouds we now visible at the Port d'Urets. When we walked back to Bagergue, we could see that the thunderstorm was catching up with us. Fortunately Felipe, the owner of our hostal, had driven up to pick us up. We were lucky and could go with the first group back to the hostel, so we didn't have any rain, thunder or lightning. Around 6 we arrived back at the hostal. The other half of the group fortunately didn't get too wet. After a shower we phoned our parents. After dinner we had tea and went through the details of the next day.

September 12: Orri - Bagergue

The third walking day was officially the fourth, but because of the weather forecasts they were swithed. We were dropped off at the same spot as the first walking day, but this time started walking in a different valley. We walked to a ski hut where we drank tea and waited for the others to arrive. The valley we started walking in was the valley of the Rio Noguera. Along the Riu de Parras we walked up the hill (sometimes the path was quite steep). Around noon we decided it was time for lunch. We found some good rocks to sit on and waited for the rest of the group to catch up. After lunch we walked to the top of the hill where we were surprised by thunder and rain. Just as we had put on our rain gear, the rain stopped...
We wanted to walk down over a ridge, but part of that was swept away by a landslide so we had to walk across some other hills to get around that point before we could continue the route we had planned. On the way down we saw some beautiful flowers. Around 5.30 we arrived back at the hostal.
Like most days, after dinner we had tea and went through the details of the next day.


Some nice books about the Valle de Aran & Spain:

Discovering Spain: An Uncommon Guide (Discovering Spain) by Penelope Casas
Eyewitness Travel Planner: Spain by Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Simonetta Girori, DK Publishing


September 13: Around Coll de Cerber

After an early breakfast (bad weather is expected in the afternoon so we start early) we are dropped off just over the Port de la Bonaigua. We walked about 15 minutes to the point were the rest of the group would go to by car. On the route we passed a lot of very beautiful lakes. Around 11am we arrived at the Mataro refugi. After that the path became very rocky leading up to the Coll de Cerber (2570m / 8,565ft.). Then the path lead down to the road where we would be picked up. The exact spot turned out to be much further away than we had expected. We arrived there around 5.40. In our best Spanish we explained to the Daughter of the owner of our hostal that the rest was far behind us (about an hour) because one of them was having problems with his knees. She brought us to the hotel and then went back to pick up the others. Fortunately the weather stayed very nice.

September 14: Ruda Valley - Refugi Ventosa i Calvell

Again an early start. This day we would walk to a Refugi where we would spend the night so we had some extra stuff in our daypacks. We said goodbye to 3 persons who where not in a condition to make this trip. We were taken to the Ruda Valley by car and where dropped off at 1450m / 4,830ft. We met the others at 1550m / 5,165ft. where they were dropped off. After an hor we arrived at a lake where we had a short stop. Again an hour later we arrived at another lake where we saw the Spanish version of a Murmeltier (seen in the Alps). Then we went on to the Port de Güellecrestrada. Here we had lunch. Together with Marlies (our tourguide) and Remco we went to the top of the Montardo (2830m / 9,430ft.). From there we had a very nice view. We arrived back at the group and walked from there to the refugi (2210m / 7,365ft.) where we arrived around 4.15. We could sit in the sun for a few hours before dinner. Around 10 we went to bed. 1 big bed for approximately 40 people. It was quiet in the refugi so each of us had two matrasses for himself.

September 15: Refugi Ventosa i Calvell - ...

Around 1am a group who had been lost arrived which woke up most of us. Around 8.45 we started walking to the Port de Caldes (2550m / 8,500ft.) where we arrived around 10.20. Patricia and Marlies decided to walk to the top of the Tuc de Ribereta. When they get back some of the others decide they want to do the same so Marlies leads them up as well. Around 12.40 we arrived at the Refugi de Colomers where we had lunch. After an hours walk we arrived at a small lake. Some people went for a swim, we decided to relax in the shadow (the weather was great again). Around 4pm we arrived at a hotel where half of the group was picked up. We walked down for about 45 minutes before we were picked up too. On the way down we saw a couple of eagles. In the evening we had to pack our bags: tomorrow we will return home.

September 16: Around Bagergue - Gessa

Only half of the group wanted to walk on the last day in Spain. Marlies had planned a short route, but it would turn out to be a long one. Felipe took us up into the mountains with his Jeep. After we had been dropped of we started walking towards the top of the Areño. On the way we saw some chamoises and a lot of goats. Around 2.40 we arrived in Gessa (we were supposed to arrive there around noon). We were picked up in Gessa and brought back to the hotel where we just had time to take a shower and have an early dinner before we were picked up around 6 by a bus which brought us to Montrejeau. There we took the train back home.

September 17: Train home

The last day we spent on the train back home.