Sunday, 25 April 2010

Up in the Cantal

Somebody (British) recently described the Cantal dept in the Auvergne region of Central France as the Lake District and Scotland all rolled into one. But mention the Cantal to the French and you are greeted by an indifferent shrug. My curiousity was aroused. I had to find out for myelf! So we made the 4 1/2 hour trip up from the Ariege yesterday and are staying just outside Condat for the week. First impressions? Well, Condat feels like a ghost town. It's a decent-sized small town but even on a Saturday late afternoon it was empty - shops were shut, cars were few and far between, houses for sale ..... it felt almost uncomfortable in its emptiness. The friendliness and openness that I am used to from the locals in the Ariège is also noticeable in its absence. Strange.

Anyway, time to get out and explore. Today, while Andy headed out for a roadie ride, I took the pooch up to the village of Godivelle (1200m) to do a 14km circuit. I have to say, the views up there, towards the Puy de Sancy, were strikingBut everywhere was, again, deserted. The whole area had a feeling of wildness and abandonment about it. But then again, it's only in the past month that Winter has released its icey grip on this area of outstanding natural beauty and only now do things appear to be slowly, gently coming back to life. Click on the photo below and you will see some of the thousands and thousands of wild daffodils that carpet this area at this time of year ... stunning
Open spaces and more open spaces ....The Lac de St Alyre was reminiscent of any high mountain lake although it is only at 1200m It was a lovely, unhurried outing which definitely fell into the 'recreational' rather than 'training' category as I soaked up the stunning scenery and tranquillity of this new part of France. Much more to come during the week!

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