Today we plan to visit a lake with interesting name Oõ. To get there one have to drive over the pass Col de Peyresurde to Valee de Astau. We drive through village of Oõ (the road sign looks funny indeed) and by the freshly paved road proceed to the parking place of the lake Oõ. The place looks just as one may expect it for the tourist favored spot.
We ascend from the parking place to the lake. Just as we are by the lake we see on the opposite side a waterfall. Further we walk the comfortable path by the left side of Oõ to the next lakes – Lac Espingo, Lac Saussat and Lac Portillon (the latter being the destination or today’s trip). The snow gets deeper and deeper as we get higher on the track. A couple walking ahead of us uses crampons. We use our hiking boots just pushing them harder in the snow. By the Lac Portillon the weather changes. The clouds and drizzle. On a way home behind the Col de Peyresurde we have a fog as well.
There is a St. Johns feast tonight in St. Lary Soulan. The feast takes place in the parking place in the town center. There is a stage built at the one end of the parking place for this occasion. At the center of the parking place there is a layer of sand with a giant fireplace on top. The fireplace is safely barred from the attendants of the feast. The audience (mainly the people at senior age) stands by or sits on the stone parapet that splits the parking place and the river that flows by. Everybody seems to feel perfect. Then the band on the stage (accordion, trumpet, guitar, keys and drums) starts to play. They sing French and Spanish. The parking rapidly gets full with dancers. We join them for a couple of waltzes and polkas
After 10pm the fireplace gets in the center of attention. A couple of importantly looking men walk to the fireplace and flash it over with some gas-mixture. Then they set on fire. The fireplace burns splashing the light high to the sky. A half an hour or so the fireplace draws everybody’s attention. Then the band proceeds with the music and the public returns to dance.