Tour de Cerdagne- Beautiful 4 Day Trail to do in Pyrenees, France - Odeillo Solar Furnace, Bolquere, Font-Romeu
On this 4th and final day of Tour de Cerdagne we completed the hiking tour and did 15kms starting from Eyne village, then walking through Bolquere, Via, Solar Furnace Odeillo and coming to the town Font-Romeu.
Watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/0bTWJUPpldE
We had a quite disturbing night with a lot of rain and thunderstorm in the evening and then cold in the morning. We thought in the early morning the temperature was descending down to several degrees Celsius and we had to wear all of our warm clothes on us. But because our sleeping bags comfort temperature was +11 degrees we still got pretty cold. So we didn’t have a good sleep.
But in the morning there was a sun shining above the mountain peaks and it was a good sign. So we had our breakfast and tried to heat ourselves up sitting inside the tent and eating a hot meal. The tent was drenched with water and even on the tent body there were drops of water. So we had to warp the tent up in the wet condition because there wasn’t any time to dry it up on the sun. We did pack the flysheet, tend body and groundsheet all in the separate bags as we normally do.
When we were all packed and got out on the trail we entered the Eyne village that was another old rocky settlement and then started to follow the car road leaving the village. It was a secondary car road where there wasn’t much traffic and fortunately it didn’t last for too long before we came to the field.
Throughout all of this hike we were meeting lots of bee hives in the fields and knew that honey is one of the most delicious local products together with cheese and dairy products. There are many different varieties like high mountain honey, flower honey, forest, oak etc. It is definitely one of the delicacies to bring from the region.
The trail started to go along the fields and through the pine forest and it was very calm and peaceful. It wasn’t challenging at all and was going mostly gentle uphill. There we got some beautiful panoramic views on the peak Carlit range in the clouds and on the other side of the valley.
The air was still fresh and cool and it took us time to warm up. We were pretty sure that there was some snow on the tops of the mountains after yesterday’s rain and cold temperatures. It ended up being the coldest day out of 4 we’ve been on this trail and the maximum temperature was only 12 degrees Celsius that day. It was funny how we called the day before the hottest day of all and the next day got such contrasting weather. But this type of weather changes is all in the mountain’s moody character and we have to deal with it.
There on the trail between the fields we even met the Camino sign which was pretty unexpected and we wondered where it will be heading next and what Camino it actually is. We as always followed our GPS maps on the phone to be sure in the direction of the path but the GR marking accompanied us all the way through.
At one moment we crossed the major car road and getting through La Cabanasse we were getting closer to the Bolquere village. We were at the middle point of our hike at that point and had 8 more kms to go. The path was following the gentle uphill along the hill and between the fields giving us some great views on the opposite side of the valley as we turned back to the side where we started.
Soon we entered Bolquere village which was one of the many other ancient villages nowadays forming part of the ski resort network of the region. So was the Eyne village we just passed and Font-Romeu where we were heading today. There are more than 10 ski stations spreaded around the Cerdanya valley. It is quite popular among all the winter sports lovers as well as sportsmen and it is especially nice for beginners because there are many nice gentle slopes.
On the way we met several horse, cow pastures on the fields, and the trail continued to go up. We were lucky to meet the Train Jaune or Little Yellow Train passing by several times which was one of the famous attractions of the region. On one of the fields we decided to take a lunch break. It still wasn’t very warm and quite windy too so even sitting in the sun we couldn’t enjoy it that much.
Soon following this peaceful countryside route we came to the Via village which was the lowest part of Font-Romeu Odeillo Via. And from there the trail started to follow the old stone route in pretty good condition probably left from Romans and it was always very nice to walk such ancient parts of the trail.
There we saw from the side another interesting site of the region – Solar Furnace Odeillo. It was one of the many other solar infrastructures of the region which we passed almost every day and was built because this area benefits from many sunny days in the year. This Solar Furnace was built in early 1980s and we believe that at that time and even till now it remains to be one of the most powerful solar furnaces in Europe and maybe even the world. It is able to melt even the most solid of metals and materials like concrete for example at several thousand degrees Celsius. Nowadays it serves as an experimental base and a research center that you can actually visit for a small fee. There you can have a guided tour, watch a movie about this Solar furnace and also see different rocks and metals that it can melt as well as making some small experiments with the guide.
In such way we arrived in Font-Romeu town that was more modern looking than the villages below and thus was probably founded later in time. It was the final destination of our hike Tour de Cerdagne and there we completed this whole 4 day tour.
What was the most impressive solar infrastructure you have ever visited?