27 Sep 11: Navarrenx to Des Chenes

Route: Navarrenx to Des Chenês 15 km

Navarrenx is famous for its Italian style ramparts, built in the 16th century. This morning saw the military fountain from the same period, which allowed the town to withstand sieges during the various wars. Then out of town and through oak forest much of the day. In several places were these very tall, very strange structures — some over 50 or 70 feet. These are hunting blinds for shooting woodcock, and the new ones look like foreshortened shipping containers, up on scaffolding. How they make the lift without a crane, I have no idea. Guys spend hunting season weekends up there, drinking and shooting. Not a safe season for walking! Later we passed the pate factory of Charles Dupree, who offered us cold drinks at his picnic shelter. This was indeed welcome refreshment as the temp is 32c. Coming down from the ridge, more fantastic views of the Pyrenees.

Lodging: L’Auberge des Chenes. Made a small deviation from the GR to reach the lodging; there is no increased distance and few lodgings in the area. (Heard good reports about the two gites in Aroue later) Warmly greeted by host upon arrival and refreshed with cold drinks. This is an old style family run hotel. Room is small but nicely equipped, with toilet and shower across the hall.

Cuisine: Dinner was simply terrific: a soup of rich broth with very fine (thin) noodles, tomatoes garlic and carrots. Starter was a cold platter with diced pickles beetroot, thinly sliced Basque cured ham, spicy sausage and hard boiled eggs. Main was a sliced roast pork boneless loin (very moist and flavorful) with a rich piperade sauce (peppers and tomatoes). French ice cream for dessert — yay! (There were also two other dessert choices available.) M/M very personable, friendly, and helpful. Highly recommended.

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