Paradise Found

The morning dawned with mist still shrouding the mountains towering above the small Pyrenean town where my wife and I were staying for a few days of hiking and fishing. Walking through the narrow streets in search of croissants and strong coffee, we dodged large puddles, left by a violent thunderstorm that had woken us during the night. The town was slowly coming to life – the market traders were setting up their stalls in the square, the old men were gathering outside the bar-tabac to read their newspapers and enjoy their first cigarettes of the day, and thankfully the boulangerie was just opening.

Once fortified with caffeine and patisserie we continued our morning stroll. The sound of rushing water could be heard long before we reached the small footbridge crossing the river that flowed through the town centre. Transformed overnight by the deluge, the inviting, crystal clear waters we had admired the previous day were now an angry, grey torrent. However, higher up the valley, beyond the last villages before the Spanish border, I could imagine a mountain stream that would have been revitalised, rather than overwhelmed, by the rains, and its inhabitants reinvigorated after a long dry spell that summer.

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