While we were in Spain, Jordic from Toulouse offered to pick us up and go with us to the outdoor festival in Millau, a few hours northeast of Toulouse and a popular spot for climbing, kayaking, parapente and so on… Well, as appealing as our alternative was (lugging heavy packs over a high pass back into rainy cloudy France), we took him up on the offer.
Jordic pulled himself away from the humdrum of a few administrative duties he had in Toulouse to a marathon driving effort, finally ‘not quite’ delivering the four of us to a camping spot over the town he’d ‘not quite’ remembered from 12 years ago. Well it was completely dark being after midnight!
It wasn’t a bad spot and we woke to see lines of French cliffs and a gigantic viaduct (I never quite understood the distinction from a bridge, but it is apparently the biggest viaduct around).
After shocking Jordic with our supermarket habits (getting nearly a weeks’ rations just for breakfast!) we went for a drive to find a spot to picnic. Quite a distance up the Gorge du Tarn in fact, Pas de Souci. A beautiful spot to down Greek salad, apricots and apples, two baguettes, cheese and a meat tray!
On the scenic return drive we saw a cliff house, and high slack lining, but opted out of the cave visit as it was not full of cheese! (more on that later).
Paragliders filled the skies like flies so up the hill we went. I dusted the cobwebs off my solo wing first before taking Jordic for a great evening flight in smooth lift. Plenty of tandems and a few never seen in the flesh wings to share the air with.
We spent the remainder of the long evening at the festival, with above mentioned ‘flies’ dropping out of the sky as if someone had gotten out the flyspray! Tumbles, SATs, helis, the works…!
In general the festival was quite an eye opener for Aussies used to spending hundreds on entry, overpriced booze, and queues – the French equivalent was free, crowds watching two storey parcour backflips and then cheering ‘Allez!’ as sport rock climbers inched up the same walls.
The next day Jordic got motivated and went for a bike ride in the blazing sun. By the way, there was not even a cloud, except for occasional cirrus, during our whole visit. We met in the Gorge de la Dourbie, where we were quite content to laze around all day, eating ice-cream and drinking Hoegaarden. Pretty much what we’d have done in the mountains had we half the chance!
An evening paddle for the others and then an impromptu meeting with some of those paraglider types who were also in town, flying in Pakistan being on the agenda! And another late night.
The next day was in a similar vein. Jordic made a valiant attempt to teach me the eskimo roll. I can do it fine with my hands touching the bottom!! A longer paddle and two enjoyable sit down meals – French quality being the norm here and therefore affordably priced.
Our final morning involved a super early 9 am start to enable us to visit the Roquefort caves – mmm blue cheese – and get Alex to the airport and Bec to the train station just in time. Returning to Toulouse we reacquainted ourselves with clouds and gloom (I’m not sure how Bec fared but Alex got rain on landing in London and it’s rather wet here in Salzburg too…!)