Monday, 27 September 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Yes, another year older, another year wiser . The weather was kind enough to show its nicer side today and I was treated to a lovely sight when I opened the door this morningI wanted to do something different today and have the day away somewhere. Anything even vaguely active was unfortunately out of the question as my legs are in quite some pain. But I have never been to Andorra other than for skiing and since it is only 1 1/2 hrs down the road we decided to head down there today for a gentle exploration before this winter's snows really kick in. Now, Andorra is a mixed bag. It has some quite stunning scenery........but the resort towns are dire, soul-less places with all the charm of Bognor on a wet Tuesday afternoon in November (apologies to anybody who lives in Bognor). But the Super Mercats are an excellent source of very cheap booze so we took the opportunity to stock up on Gin (for more sloe gin) and other spirits to see us through the winter .... all to be used in cooking, you understand! We had lunch in Andorra la Veilla before making a hasty retreat back up the valley to Soldeu and taking a small road off to the left the direction of Pic d'Escobes (2776m). This was more like it! We followed the road to its end (only 2 or 3kms from Soldeu), parked up and picked a path/track which headed in the general direction of the PicI was only able to walk a few hundred metres and will have to come back another day to follow the signs which entice you further onwards and upwardsbut today, with barely functioning legs, was not the day. Still, it was a taster and it was good to get some fresh air.

On the way back, as we were driving back down towards Hospitalet, we saw 8 or 10 cycle tourers making their way up the hill. But these weren't any old cycle tourers (Jamie, you'll love this!). They appeared to have especially extended bike frames which were built to accommodate the biggest loads I have ever seen being carried on a bike! Check out the helmet on top of the sun hat!Excuse the poor quality photo but I was hanging out of the car window at the time ;-)

This evening, my birthday dinner has been a very tasty Encornets farcis au four et sardines grosses farcies accompanied by our local equivalent of Champagne, Blanquette de Limoux, which is rather nice I have to say. Santé!


gabriele gray said...

Well, happy birthday, many more and thank you for sharing your celebration with us. I've vacationed in the Aude & Ariege for 10 years but never felt the need or desire to go to Andorra--but your photos of the rural areas
make me think I was wrong.
And yes, my friends there (A&A) go there to stock up on 'essentials'.
French, British, German, Dutch--everyone needs their essentials and why not save money? I've read one save the cost of one tire when buying three there--that would be a good incentive, too, for me...but one doesn't buy tires on vacation...usually...
Best wishes and yes, I like the sparking Limoux as well...

penny said...

Hi Gabriele and many thanks for visiting my blog! It is certainly worth exploring off the beaten track in Andorra and I think September and October are the best months in which to do it ... after the hectic summer months and before the snows come. We're hopefully going to head back in October to explore some of the quieter tracks & trails both on VTT and on foot. Watch this space for a report and some photos :-)