Adam Perfect

Climbing Puy-de-Dôme

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 40.0mm, 1/320s, f/11.0, ISO 200

In 2010 my brother and I went on a road trip around Spain, driving through France from London. On the second day of the journey south we decided to investigate Puy-de-Dôme, a volcano (not entirely sure I realised that at the time) in the Massif Central.

Signs at the bottom suggested one should be able to walk to the top in around 45 minutes, although it took us a little longer. I'd use the excuse that I stopped often to take pictures, but I was also stopping to catch my breath if I'm honest - my apparent lack of fitness made more clear as couples in their 60s cruised past us looking none the worse for wear.

According to Wikipedia, they opened a cog railway two years later which might have protected my lungs but would also probably have led to me missing this photograph on the way up. The light dappling across the Chaîne des Puys and fields below was beautiful and picked out plenty of lovely highlights in the landscape below us.

I actually prefer this view to some of the views we got from the top. The lower angle helps bring the other domes into a closer line near the horizon and adds depth to the image.

Later that day…

We set off after our climb, heading towards Spain and our next hotel, when my front-right tyre decided to go pop at rather high motorway speed. Thankfully we were approaching an Aire de Service (service station) and so I took the slip road while trying to let the car engine-brake its way to a slow enough speed to take the sharp turn into the car park.

Canon Canon EOS 5D Mark II
One dead tyre

A bit of active braking once the car was at a safer speed and we made it round the corner and crawled into the car park, where after asking a police officer for help we found out that on French motorways, each stretch of road seems to get covered by a single local recovery company. So we had a scrappy-looking tow truck arrive who then took us to his garage in a small village in the middle of nowhere, on a Sunday. With some translation help from my English breakdown cover, it of course turned out that he didn't have the right tyre in stock, one couldn't be acquired on a Sunday and so we'd have to spend the night in the hotel that happened to be next door to the garage (a weird experience for another story).

We got a new pair of front tyres the next day (at insane cost of course) and were on our way again, just in more of a hurry to reach Barcelona this time.

Written by Adam on

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