I went to a café in the town centre in the morning, in the hope I could get some work done. I had allocated this week for everything I’d put off to ‘when I have time’, and in the back of my mind are all the things to do which I’m not doing.

Since changing phones I’ve had no productivity tracker, so I installed Getting Things GNOME on my laptop as a way of managing my todo list.

In the afternoon we headed over to the mountains east of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. There was some evidence of national sentiment as we got further into the Basque country. On a few occasions I saw bilingual signs with the French part painted over or scratched out.

We parked in Urdoz and set out to walk up to Hurbeleta.

mountainous landscape

The journey was horrible, it was hot out of the shade, and any point we crossed through wooded areas we were swarmed by flies. I was constantly swatting them away, trying to keep them away from my eyes enough to see where I was going.

Once out of the trees we made it to a clearing and stopped to eat sandwiches.

rocky peak

Then back into the forest for a steep incline up to another clearing.

matthieu at peak

We were so close to Spain at this point that my phone started picking up Spanish mobile signal and I got the ‘welcome to Spain’ roaming text from BT.

pierre at peak

Unless it isn’t clear from the photos, I was not doing well at this point. Squinting through harsh sunlight, beaten down by the heat, and not yet recovered from the long hike on Sunday.

tired pierre

Further up from here we found a mountain spring, refilled water bottles and had another rest.

mountain spring

I saw a lot of strange blue wood around here. The effect was striking, at a guess I’d say it was down to minerals in the soil. Any answers to this mystery?


On the way back we stopped at the iSTARA cheese factory near Larceveau, unfortunately we got there too late and the factory shop was shut. No cheese today.

cheese factory

In the evening I attempted to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once. It didn’t go down too well so we eventually switched over to television to catch halfway through a Louis de Funès comedy, le Gendarme et les Gendarmettes. I was confused by the plot as I wasn’t aware there was an entire gendarme series. Recently my exposure to these films has been mostly through gags ripped out of context on YouTube.