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Japanese invade the Pyrenees

dick handscombe's picture
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When on Day 44 of our 52 day Pyrenean trek described in the book 'Our 52 day retirement adventure along the Spanish Pyrenees' we were astounded to meet 15 inexperienced Japanese tourists doing a day walk over the highest point of the entire GR11 .long distance walk across Spain, the La Vaca (Cows tete) peak with a height of 2824 metres. That day we had had a tough morning climb with heavy back packs up from the Nuria Ski resort and were about to start a long afternoon down hill walk which would drop down some 1600 metres to Setcases. The first four Japanese walkers said that they had been driven upto around 2500 metres by four by fours and were on a day walk down to Nuria toi stay two nights in the plush hotel  before an easier day walking down to Queralbes or perhaps taking the mountain railway down . There they would spend another night before to pick up their coach to go to the airport.. They were tired although only carrying cameras although their day packs were on the backs of two tough mountain horses some hundred metres below. We asked how many they were.They said fifteen, all members of a walking group from Kioti, but most had never walked in the mountains before. A few had boots but some wore just what could be described as light dancing pumps. They were on a weeks holiday in which they did four walks on alternate days, this being their third walk which was rather tougher than expected. Eventually after twenty minutes all but two of the others arrived with two Spanish guides. The last two Japanese we met much later struggling to walk with large plastic bags in each hand full of heavy cameras and other photographic equipment. Seemed an utterly crazy outing although they were lucky with the weather.