Monday, April 28, 2008

When Water Falls

waterfalls at Pont d'Espagne

A must-see on your visit to Hautes-pyrénées is the Pont d’Espagne (Spanish Bridge). But nope, crossing this bridge doesn’t mean you’ll be in Spain. It was called that because it is located on an ancient mule path to Spain several centuries ago (source: Midi-Pyrénées: Le Guide Vert, Michelin Editions des Voyages, 2001). It is not so much the bridge that is extraordinary, but rather the great waterfalls cascading down the deep ravine with so much vigor and force that you are enveloped in a thick haze. The falls is much more spectacular when seen from under the bridge but it’s difficult to take a good shot because the mist can be so thick and it will only take a few moments before you are drenched, including your camera *regretful sigh*.

The picture above is taken before the tumbling water reaches the bridge. The water current here is not as strong as when it passes under Pont d’Espagne because the water falls gradually. But under the bridge, it is really breathtaking because the water suddenly drops into a sheer rocky gorge in tumult creating a thick foam and fog, creating an illusion of being inside a cloud. This water falls is where two long and big streams, gave du Marcadau and gave de Gaube, meet. So you can imagine the effect when these two main streams join and fall down the precipitous ravine under the bridge. It is really superb.

To reach the Pont d’Espagne, you can either use a cable car (but I think this is only available in winter) or walk to reach it. If you choose to walk, you can either take the paved main road (cars are not allowed from the parking area to the bridge) or take a rocky pathway (le sentier du monument Meillonin the woods which will bring you to the falls in around 15 minutes. Of course, we chose the latter *grins*.


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