There’s a very good reason why locals don’t walk in the Pyrenean foothills during July. It gets hot, much hotter than we’d expected. Still, hindsight is a wonderful thing and we’d thought that setting off early again would allow us to escape the midday sun. It didn’t.
We walked north from the cottage to Croux via the ridge, back down towards Fa in the south, and then finally east to Esperaza. Whilst there was a very much appreciated breeze on the ridge, along with fantastic views over both Esperaza and Antugnac, the cool air disappeared as we descended. As always we’d packed our sunhats, lots of water, sunscreen, sunglasses and mineral replacement tablets, and stopped for regular breaks to make sure that we didn’t dehydrate.
The trail was well marked and in a good state of repair, and as was the case in Romania, we were more often than not surrounded by butterflies. Just above Fa, we also came across a very fat affectionate little Shetland pony who we nicknamed ‘little saucisson’, tethered to the side of the track. It was hard to drag ourselves away as he so loved being cuddled, and was obviously very well looked after.
By the time we’d reached the outskirts of Esperaza though I was feeling the effects of mild heatstroke and not really taking much in. My head felt as if it was melting, and my body as if it was walking through cotton wool. Rich had already realised that I needed to get out of the sun, mainly because I’d sworn at him earlier when he’d berated me for letting my hat blow off.
I’d very much gone into auto-pilot and don’t remember much of the walk home from there, only that when we got back to the house Rich forced me to drink several jugfuls of water, and that I then had to lie down in the fortunately very cool bedroom.
I love visiting hot countries, but despite my best efforts, thanks to a condition called POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome), my body sometimes finds it very hard to regulate its temperature, even with meds. I’ve learnt to accept that I’ll usually feel unwell at some point during a trip, and we just factor in downtime to accommodate our medical quirks. This means that we can still travel our way. Unfortunately on this occasion I woke to a full blown migraine, leaving Rich to batten down the hatches whilst I divided my time between the bed and the toilet.