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Our planned route through France

Prologue to our 2005 Pyrenees Trip:   we last visited the Pyrenees in 1973, just a handful of years after graduating. In those far-off days, we both worked in Oxford, Sheila on a pregnancy research project at the John Radcliffe and Paul in his first post-training job at the Churchill Hospital.Pyrenees highlighted Earlier in 1973, we had moved into our first home in Hailey near to Witney. Work demands meant a late start for the 1973 trip, and it was mid-Sept before we set off from the UK in our green Hillman Imp. The result was that by the time we reached the Pyrenees, the first snows of the year were falling.
Click on map for details
This not only restricted what we could achieve in the mountains, but also meant very cold nights in our small tent. The return journey northwards was a venture in itself, crossing the Massif Central, with 72 hours of storms and continuous rain, and then down into the Loire valley. So began our long association with France.

Now 32 years later in 2005, we plan to return to the Pyrenees, this time in our VW Camper. How much will things have changed? Will the impact of mass tourism be that noticeable compared with the relative peacefulness of 1973? How busy will campsites be? Will the weather be more favourable than 1973? 

Over the winter, in addition to writing up logs and dealing with photos from last year's trips, we have been extending our knowledge of web design in order to improve the web site. We now have a distinctive Home Page with scrolling News Headlines and mini-slide show, and a link to take you to the latest full News Page and pictures. Last year it was not possible to re-visit previous editions; we have now remedied this with menu access to an archive of last year's webs and earlier editions from the current trip. The Home Page also contains a site plan to help you find your way around, and links to e-mail us (which we hope you will use) and to add our site to your Favourites. Based on our experience, we have included a page of links to other recommended web-sites which have been helpful to us in preparing for our travels; hopefully they will be of similar help to others. We have also improved the presentation of photos, but with the same arrangement of 'clickable thumbnails' page. Building on the tradition from last year, each news edition will incorporate accompanying music, but this time a control at the bottom of the News Page will enable you to adjust the volume. It's been fun extending our web skills, and we hope you will think the results are worthwhile and will enjoy following our regular fortnightly updates while we are away.

As last year, this Prologue site is by way of introduction to the trip. We have dug out and scanned a few of the 1973 colour slides, and although the quality is not that of modern digital images, we have included them as a nostalgic reminder of our younger days. The map above shows our outline plans for route down to the Pyrenees, and back up through central and western France. We also hope to call in at a couple of friends on the return north, finishing in Brittany to re-visit campsites where we have enjoyed wonderful hospitality for many years on family camping trips. We plan to end the trip at Plougrescant, joining the crowds to celebrate the Fête Nationale with fireworks on the beach. These are our plans as we prepare to set off.

With Nicky and Pete's wonderful news fresh in our minds, and photos of Isobel, our first grandchild blu-tacked up in our camper, we shall set off on this trip in early May, and again plan to publish regular fortnightly updates of our travel news and pictures on this site. We do hope you will enjoy sharing the venture with us through the medium of our web site, and look forward to to keeping in touch by receiving your e-mails.

Sheila and Paul                                                                                         Published: Sunday 10 April
Next edition from the Pyrenees in mid May

Prologue Music: J S Bach
from Cantata BWV 208

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