Monday, March 13, 2006


Gorgeous Mountains

On the morning that we had to leave, the sun came out and melted the snow away from around the hotel and shops. The sound of running water was starting to drive me crazy. If it's raining then the water stops with the rain; but when snow starts melting, the water pours from rooves, guttering, pipes without pause (nowhere near as annoying as aluminium masts, though).

Determining what mountains I was photographing was initially a problem but the terrain feature in Google Earth means I can create a 3D representation of the valley which I can then tilt until my point-of-view is looking down the valley just like the camera I used. These (below) are the peaks further up the valley from our hotel - Basses del Ruf and Estanys Forcats.

The next photo shows (I assume) how they have invested in avalanche protection. As you can imagine, this steep groove between the two peaks must make a perfect route for the snow on the peak at the back to slip down. Note the lack of trees... At the bottom of the photo is a white strip of snow. This is actually a concrete Toblerone bar 30 metres thick and 300 metres long which fits right across the valley bottom. I think this is an obstacle that stops avalanches flattening our hotel and neighbouring buildings.

Off in the distance are more lovely, snow-covered peaks (Estany de la Nou and Basses Roges, 13km to the SE of Arinsal and almost over the border into Spain).

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