Down From the Mountains, Deserted Villages and a Church in a Lake

We headed out of the Ordesa today, intending to follow a road through the mountains to Biesla and an alternative view on the Ordesa Park. One look at the road when we got to the turn off was enough to stymy that plan – not treated and covered in frost. So no drive through the mountains for us.

So we took the road south towards Aínsa and drove through a valley with one deserted settlement after the other. Roofs missing but walls still standing, church spires standing tall, but shabbily deserted and falling into disrepair. It was confusing for a bit, we we’re think old mining communities or suchlike, but then we spied a banner which mentioned soothing about reservoirs and that gave the vital clue. This would be a third reservoir to join the two the stretch south from Aínsa. Jánovus is the most prominent village sitting at the foot of the valley, a cluster of maybe 50 houses and a suspension bridge crossing the river alongside. But deserted. Eerie.

We headed into Aínsa, picked up some info from the tourist office and then headed to a point near the lakes for a walk as recommended by the TIO. On attempting to climb the hill into the village of Simitier I bottled out due to the frost on the ground as the wheels start to spin. As I started to reverse backwards the front wheels lost grip and we slid backwards, slowly but gathering pace. The front started to slew sideways and fortunately we came to a halt before the back wheels went into the ditch. Lesson learnt -don’t ask a 4 tonne motorhome to do what you’d normally expect a 4×4 to do!

The walk up the hill was rewarding with a charming little hermitage and castle ruins looking down over the lakes with the snow capped peaks of the Pyrenees in the background.

As dusk approached we drove back and up the valley to Bielsa only a few kms from the French border and parked up in the town carpark for the night.

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