A Portrait of the Pyrenees (Spain Part 4)

After Madrid and the Canary Islands, we ventured out to the Pyrenees.  We were stationed in Jaca, Spain for a few days and from there, we explored both the French & Spanish Pyrenees.

To get to the Pyrenees, we took a high speed train from Madrid to Huesca.  This was Kasen’s first train trip (by the way, he prefers the airplane by a lot).

From Huesca, we drove for about an hour into the mountains to Jaca, Spain.  Although the drive was easy, finding the car rental place was not.  We thought it was IN the train station, but it was “near” the train station.  As in it was a 15 minute walk from the train station.  Oops.  Oh well.. .  all was forgotten when we saw the beautiful scenery:

Our hotel was nestled in the mountains, just outside of the town of Jaca.  As soon as we got settled, we set out for our first hike.  We went to the Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido (Ordesa National Park):

We were totally worn out after that hike.  We recovered quickly with some delicious beer and a view!

The next day we felt refreshed and set out for another hike.  This time, we went up to the French side of the Pyrenees.  On our way up, we spotted a beautiful glacial lake (well, we don’t know for sure it’s a glacial lake, but it looks like one) and randomly stopped to explore.  We discovered that the lake is home to zebra mussels, which are protected, and featured an ancient stone arch:

It was an amazing, albeit random, stop on our way into the French Pyrenees.  We got back in the car and started driving.  We drove so high in the mountains that there were no trees:

We hiked all the way to the top of a mountain!  Well, we took a quick ride on a gondola up most of the mountain and then hiked the rest of the way.  This was Kasen’s first gondola ride!  He loved it.

Once we finally got up to the top we were completely out of breath.  We recovered and then the view took our breath away again.

This photo is a bit of a “Where’s Waldo” for the Jones family…  where’s Krister?

After eating a few wild blueberries on the way down, we feasted on some french bread, cheese, and crepes.  Kasen had his first crepe in France (he’s going to be such a food snob when he grows up).

After we were stuffed with amazing French food, we headed back to the hotel.  Here are a few shots of the drive back:

After our French adventure, we explored Jaca a bit.

That was it for our trip to the Pyrenees.  We had a fantastic time climbing around and we loved our hotel (The Hotel Barcelo Jaca Golf & Spa – the staff was amazing and the food was pretty delicious too!).  But it was time to head back to Madrid.

When we got to Madrid, we took a day off to get ready for our big trip home and spend some time with Krister’s family, who was enjoying an extended stay in Spain thanks to Hurricane Irene.

Then, on our last day, we took a trip to Valencia.  We took a bus tour of the city and went out to a nature preserve for a boat ride:

It was a great way to end our trip!  We had such an amazing time, but we were exhausted and ready to head home.

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