Starry Pyrenees and Tenerife

Things are looking up again in Travel and particularly in starry Pyrenees and Tenerife.

The sky truly is the limit, and beyond, up there in the mountains of France and the Canary Islands.

Cheesy: Yes, but I don’t care

Just pick your time when you’re going up, up and away to Le Pic du Midi.

Of course this dreamer had his head in the clouds when he returned to the Pyrenees from Lourdes.

Through the lens: With Big Jim in the Pyrenees

And I saw nothing through the mist though that may have as much to do with the vin I imbibed at Le 2877.

I was reliably informed by my Travel Partner in Jim, the inimitable Jim Gallagher, that the stars do come out at night.

As Big Jim had stayed over at the top of the world.

Where he got to open the curtains onto a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star world.

Sahara bumpity

Caught in the storm: The Sahara

Of course it’s the one thing we all share in common, the Milky Way around us.

And it’s the most spectacular free light show.

And a silver lining when you’re inconvenienced in the conveniences of a Sahara Desert malfunctioning open-roofed toilet.

With the roof off and me fixed to a seat when the rest of our party were sleeping in their tents (avoid Atlas Mountain roadside cafe tagines) I got to see shooting stars and the sunrise.

It might have been Morocky in Morocco but that was a highlight. 

Tidy in Mount Teide

Sky high: In Mount Teide

I went one better out in Tenerife on Mount Teide in Tenerife some years later, all in the company of one of those nutty astronomers we all love.

Through our telescope we saw Uranus (stop sniggering up the back)!

All of which came flooding back with the release of some of the best places to go star-spotting by vision care experts Lenstore.

They have analysed 29 locations across the globe to determine the greatest stargazing spots.

It’s all based on the visibility of stars due to low light pollution and their popularity according to monthly search volume data.

And here is what they found…

The only star in the sky: At Le Pic du Medi

France, Spain, Ireland and Germany dominate the rankings in Europe for stellar stargazing spots.

Yes, with Pic du Midi with a light pollution level of 0.12 and a total monthly search volume of 30…

It’s enough to make you want to dance.

Tenerife and La Palma take the second and third spots.

They boast an extremely low light pollution level of -0.01 on average making the stars most visible.

And  for those wanting to travel further afield, Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii takes is the best location globally for stargazersf.

And that’s thanks to its low levels of light pollution (-0.03).

How highie Hawaii?

Aloha: Hawaii

All of which is why my old scientific pal from Italian classes in Edinburgh took himself out there to their observatory to gaze for himself. 

No, didn’t get there yet or master Italian to any level but that’s a different story.

So, all you fellow stargazers check out the list for yourself and get squinting through a lens. 

Maybe see you there, whether it’s the starry Pyrenees or Tenerife.





Countries, Europe

Climb every Pyrenees mountain

Whether it was James Coburn, improbably playing an Aussie POW, Sedgwick, in The Great Escape, the Catalans fleeing Franco, or the Jewish WWII refugees from France, on this International Mountains Day we toast those who would climb every Pyrenees mountain.

Sedgwick’s cycle was, in truth, a little more leisurely than that of those who scale the Col du Tourmalet these days.

The Col du Tourmalet is the highest road pass in the Hautes-Pyrénées standing 2,115m high.

Phew: Only I borrowed the bike

And coach drivers for Travel groups know their biggest challenge is trying to avoid those coming back down around the windy roads.

Some have been known to blag it and ask riders for their bikes for obligatory pics at the peak!

These days, there is little to no jeopardy in climbing the Pyrenees and particularly when you have a favourite holiday provider to help you.

Step up our pals at Travel Department.

Step across the border

Dancing on Le Pic Du Midi

You’ll see the Spanish and French sides of The Pyrenees on this seven-night guided train holiday.

Each of the journeys we’re told will offer a different experience of The Pyrenees.

Yellow hello

Best bar none: In the Pyrenees

And you’ll stand out all right in the bright Little Yellow Train.

Travel from the historical town of Villefranche to Mont Louis.

On the Núria Valley Rack Railway, you will climb 1000m and be rewarded with stunning views of the mountains.

Take it as red

Taking Le Break: In the peaks

On the Red Train of the Pyrenees, you’ll pass through vineyards and castles on a 100-year-old railway line.

And you’ll enjoy a day trip to Figueres, the birthplace of the surrealist artist Salvador Dali and home to the Dali Museum.

Now if you’ve got the type of imagination that Dali had.

Then perhaps you can picture your diarist from his youthful days, sans beard and looking a little like the famous Spaniard.

A little tweak: And an inspiration

Which, of course, didn’t go unnoticed by pals at the time.

In addition to sightseeing through this historic region, this holiday also includes plenty of leisure time.

So you’ll be able to relax in the stunning seaside town of Roses on the Costa Brava.

Deal us in

Three of a kind: With travelling pal Brieda

Priced from €999pp the TD deal includes flights, transfers, seven-night accommodation on a B&B basis and expert guides.

Departures from 20th April  with a selection of dates up to 3rd October 2022.

Right, we’re off to climb every Pyrenees mountain.