You may remember from my last post that I pointed out a high peak in the distance from the Puy de Sancy. This is the the Puy de Dôme, the highest volcano in the Chaîne des Puys (chain of peaks) and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sitting at 1465m (4806 ft) it offers a stunning view (if the weather is kind) of the almost 80 volcanic puys, stretching over about 40kms. With the promise of another glorious day I just had to visit. Maggie had another adventure with a ride in the cog railway that carried us to the summit. The train itself wasn’t an issue, but the sudden loud ‘hissing’ of the air being compressed certainly had her unsettled and she wasn’t too keen on the odd release of air by the automatic doors…I guess having that by your bum wasn’t the best of experiences!
The cog railway and the Puy de Dôme.
Now, looking at this picture you will note that there is a bit of cloud about, but nothing of note, and the summit is clear. But yep, you guessed it….we arrived at the top and stepped out into thick cloud totally obscuring the views! If nothing else, it was just the perfect place for a nice walk following the tracks that weaved their way around the mountain. Most of the few tourists seemed glued to the restaurant-cafe area and to be honest I think they were reluctant to venture too far because it did look as if the heavens were about to open. Well, all good things come to those who wait, and as I gazed out over to where the Chaîne des Puys were supposed to be, the clouds slowly but surely lifted, and like Brigadoon I got my reward.
Yellow Gentian and the cloud lifting from the Chaîne des Puys.
The Chaîne des Puys
I was one of the lucky ones who did get to see and enjoy the beautiful views, whilst most others were still hugging their coffee at the cafe!
Back at the bottom and after a quick snack, we were off on our way again and basking in the lovely warm sunshine.
Somehow I find it very difficult to not get sidetracked, and I found myself on a small road that wound over and through the truly lovely countryside. I think I only passed about a handful of cars, and it was so pleasant to pootle along at my own pace and to not feel hurried. Of course the joy of this is that if I suddenly see a sign and my interest is piqued, I can safely stop or turn. It’s wonderful what you can find without looking for it!
Please don’t ask me where this was!
And before long we were almost back at the campsite, but not before I found yet another route that took me above Saint-Nectaire. The road was so narrow that I was really pleased that it wasn’t busy, and even more grateful that I didn’t come across a tractor or similar farm vehicle. Reversing would have been virtually impossible!
The Auvergne certainly didn’t disappoint and no doubt I will revisit the region in the future….there is plenty more to see and do. But for now the trips are on hold until after the schools are back. I like the quiet and less crowded months, and more to the point, I like the prices even better! I wonder where I’ll get to on my next visit? I hope that you’ll come and venture with me.