I woke up in a comfortable bed and promptly forgot to continue the previous night’s whinging where I sleepily left off, so we had breakfast and set off for the Col d’Aspin – nothing compared to the previous two day’s hurdles, but a mountain nonetheless.
It was an uneventful climb, and the harsh, exposed landscape of the previous day was replaced with a sheltered route through forest. At the summit were a smattering of tourists and cows, the latter of which tried to knock Dave over. We ate, took in the scenery and looked over The Map for what seemed like the thousandth time that week.
On it there was a handy tunnel that connected France and Spain, and it didn’t look too far from where we were sitting. We decided to try for it by that evening, spurred on by the thought of crossing the border, although we soon realised that it was actually a very long way away, and uphill all the way. That’s the problem with those winding roads – distance is all guesswork.
It was getting late as we neared the tunnel entrance, so there was even less traffic on what was already a virtually deserted, and increasingly barren route. The rocky scenery and general isolation felt weirdly alien, and we saw virtually nobody for hours, except the odd truck driver who would give us a blast on their horn.
When we eventually arrived at the mouth of the tunnel we were pleased to see that it was downhill all the way into Spain. It was a small tunnel, carved directly into the rock, and lit by dull orange bulbs. There was no wind inside, so we had no idea how fast we were going until a motorbike edged past us, carefully obeying the speed limit. We must have hit 65km/h, for several miles, although it felt like we were standing still without the wind or passing landscape to gauge speed with. Once we emerged into Spain we pulled onto the side of the road and set up camp next to a stream.