Valley of Benasque

A couple of weeks ago I was in the Valley of Benasque (Huesca, Spain), for some trekking, and just had some time to upload the photos, so here they are for your pleasure, since it is a very nice place. It was the first time I was there not in winter, so had the chance to visit some places that, in winter, are almost impossible to visit (unless you want to take the risk of an avalanche).

Specially nice was the Glacier of the Aneto peak, the highest peak in the Pyrenees (from the distance, we didn’t have time to get to the top, since it takes many, many hours):

Also nice to see was the water from the Glacier disappearing into the rocks (and appearing again, by magic, in the Valley of Arán, on the other side of the mountains):

I took more photos, so go here to see the rest.

Skiing in Cervinia

The week before Christmas I went in vacation for the first time to the Alps for some skiing, to Cervinia, a wonderful village below the famous Cervino/Matterhorn, in the Valley of Aosta, in Italy.

The week of vacation started on Friday 12th, in the evening, when we (Cristina, Yolanda, Nicolás and myself) started a 15 hour drive from Peralta to Cervinia, crossing to France via La Junquera, the South East of France through Grenoble (where Vincent and I couldn’t coordinate a short visit), and from there, crossing part of the Alps, still in France, through many ski resorts (Megève, Saint Gervais, Houches Blanches, etc), along with (at least we could see the traffic signs) some Tour de France mytical places (Alpe d’Huez, Bourg d’Oisans, Mont Ventoux, etc), up to the Mont Blanc tunnel entrance.

Crossing that tunnel was a bit uncomfortable, after a few minutes you could feel the hot (22ºC compared to the -4ºC outside), but it was worth it, since as you cross it, you get to Italy and to Courmayeur, another ski resort (it’s plenty of them around there 🙂 ) and then through the valley of Aosta up to Cervinia.

Cervinia is just part of a huge ski resort, composed of the Italian Breuil Cervinia and Valtournenche, connected to the Swiss resort of Zermatt, with the Cervino/Matterhorn mountain in the middle, all of this making up to 350 kms of pistes to enjoy. Unfortunately for skiing, the weather was quite bad the whole week (lots of snow the first few days, then avalanches danger, then huge winds), which forced the resort to be closed fully one day and have most of the pistes and lifts closed the rest of the days. Specially bad was that the connection to Zermatt was closed the whole week, so we couldn’t visit it unfortunately.

We could neither visit the glacier in the Plateau Rosa and the Swiss part of it, nor the nice Swiss village of Fury, where you pass skiing through the village streets. And, of course, we couldn’t see the best face of the Cervino/Matterhorn, but at least we could see it one day (it was covered with fog most of the week). But the worst was that, just in the 2nd hour of the 1st day of ski, Cristina fell down and broke a bone in her arm. This made her not ski at all for a couple of days, and ski just in the beginners area in the sunny days. For the rest of us, we could just use 3/4 different pistes for the whole week. Fortunately they were long enough and with very good snow as to enjoy them a lot, and since we were skiing slowly for Cristina, we visited some bars that are in the middle of the pistes, for some good food and drinks.

But the bad weather gave us the chance to enjoy being at 2000 meters above the sea level, surrounded by mountains with 3/4 meters of snow, and the whole village being covered by snow all the time, despite the work being done by lots of people the whole day to clean it. I know this may sound a bad thing for some people, but really, I wouldn’t mind having been isolated there for a few weeks more 🙂

But it’s not all about skiing and snow, since, being in Italy, eating was a priority on this trip, and the stuff we tasted was just wonderful every day at dinner, at the hotel, quite ellaborated cuisine, with very nice decorations (like some soar ham being served in the form of a rose and that kind of things). And in the bars and restaurants of the village and ski resort, we could try lots of nice local cuisine, like the Crespella (like a French Crêpe), the Goulash (beef stew), different kinds of cheese, pasta, red wines, and, of course, the pizzas (I love them, so I couldn’t be in Italy and not try them).

Overall, despite not having skied as much as we wanted and Cristina’s injury, we had a lot of fun, and are already willing to come back as soon as possible. The Pyrennes, where I ski usually, are great, but the Alps are just a bigger dimension, better prepared and with much better pistes/snow, so now that I know them, more visits are mandatory.

For all photos, see here.