We spent a couple more nights in the valley, flitting inbetween our first location and one a bit further downstream. Big thanks to my mom who called on Thursday to remind us about Easter, which meant that shops would be closed over the weekend and so we needed to stock up, something we never think of doing which, as a result, has left us hungry most Sunday’s, or eating a concoction of various grim foods we’ve impulse bought and swiftly avoided.
On our last day in the Pyrenees, we mooched around a cool little medieval fort thing that we were staying next to. The fort itself was so deceiving, I expected a tourist shop and some bare stone rooms but we were to be pleasantly surprised! There was a highstreet housing all sorts of weird and wonderful shops including a witch doll making shop – really creepy and eerie, a cafe, a couple of restaurants and most importantly an ice-cream shop. Calippos and cornettos in hand, new surroundings and pooches in tow – we were chuffed.
The next day we wake up to a fairly grim looking day and so with that, we decided to head off. We decided to make the couple of hour journey into Andorra; a tiny city-sized country, 1500m above sea level and smack bang in the middle of Spain and France. We figured we could tick off another country and also get the chance to go to a country we wouldn’t normally give the time of day – you can’t even get there by plane, the nearest airports being Toulouse, France, or Barcelona, Spain. If we thought the Pyrenees were a nightmare in Verena, the climb to Andorra was an absolute joke. We missed a turning, driving only ten minutes out of our way, but it was enough to make us sit for half hour and re-evaluate our potentially dim decision to come to Andorra. Concluding that there will have been no point to putting Verena through the mountainous hell if we don’t end up in Andorra, we turn around and do the last leg of the ridiculously steep journey.
We arrive and it looks like a post card of a ski resort; a quaint little tax-free town, ski lodges and just snow everywhere! We were completely enclosed by the snow covered mountains and yet it was still hot enough for shorts and a t-shirt? Weird! We set off for a coffee somewhere and a little mooch around. Now obviously travelling with the dogs can be limiting; doing the typical youthful travelling of going out a lot and getting drunk isn’t really the sort of thing that’s within our reach and so we were over the moon to discover an outdoor dog-friendly club, surrounded by snow and mountains. Determined not to miss such a perfect opportunity, we power walked back to the van, fed and watered the canine ladies, layered up and set off back out – the first time we’ve probably rushed for anything. But we had such a wicked time; dancing and drinking with yours dogs in your trackie bottoms and thermals next to people still in their ski boots isn’t something of the everyday. And anyone that knows us, knows we love to dance. And so there we were, throwing the dodecahedrons of shapes across the dance floor, dancing the night away with our four-legged faves in tow. We barely even drank, but obviously we barely do anyway and so paired with the altitude and the excitement, it’s safe to say we both definitely felt pissed. In fact I spent the next day lying on the grass in the south of France, hungover and unable to move without being sick, whilst Rod obviously laughed and took pictures from the comfort of the sofa. But the night had been by far worth it; we had so much fun together and actually got to talk to and have a laugh with people our own age. We would’ve stayed longer but there wasn’t much to do in the day except ski and spend money, the latter of which were lacking in as it is.
The next morning arrives and we have to start off early due to a: it was freezing, and b: we had to miss the miles of queues out of the tiny country as there’s no chance the van could take that pressure. It was hard enough as it was going back down those stupidly steep mountain roads; so hard that just as we cross the border and line up for random vehicle searches, the van starts blowing out black smoke from the front breaks after having constantly held so much pressure on the way down. The police laughed at us and ushered into their little car park and with a quick phone call to my dad and our fabulous VW man Rob to check we haven’t cocked up again, we sit and chill at the border for a good give Verena a rest.
To summarise, Andorra was hot, freezing cold and unexpectedly wonderful all at once. If it wasn’t so hard to access, we would definitely go again but with our van being as old as she is, I reckon this may have been her first and only venture to Andorra.
Apologies for the lack of blog posts as of late, my plans to go back to uni are in motion and so I’ve been busy writing my personal statement for my application – it better be bloody worth it! Currently in the outskirts of Toulouse, lounging around rivers and eating crepes – so not much to report. Give it a couple of days and there’ll be another post added, thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far!