We beat the sun today. It’s the few times I can count on my hand that this has happened, but that being said, it wasn’t just because we were being all disciplined. It was more because we were heading to a little country called Andorra for the day.
It is located between Spain and France, and you could drive across it in a couple hours. The place is tiny, but tidy.
We sneak out of our dorm room of 8 people as quietly as we can. We pre-packed our bags last night, so that we weren’t being ungodly abominations before the sun even thought about piercing the horizon. We load up our stuff and get going. We only have to walk 5 blocks up and one to the left to reach our new hostel we will be staying in tonight. Our bus leaves at 6:30am, and we will come back to Barcelona at 11:30pm. We leave our bags in our new hostels luggage room that we organised prior to today, so they didn’t have to come with us on our day adventure.
That would be a right pain in the butt.
We drop our bags with the receptionist, and take a look at the map. We see that it’s just as easy and quick to walk to the bus depot than it’s going to be to catch two trains there, so in the interest of not having to pay for another train ticket, we make use of the time we have and get our hiking boots on and walk to the station.
The morning had a warm freshness in the air.
I felt quite awake for a 4:30am start.
We get on the bus no worries. I try to sleep a little more but my mind is just strolling through life thoughts. I had the whole back row of the bus to myself. I wasn’t long enough to even occupy all the seats.
When I “woke” I swapped places with Billy so he could sleep. Which he did very well. He stayed up later than me last night and caught up on some blogging. Then watch a bit of Fun with Dick and Jane which the hostel was showing for movie night. The night before was Wreck it Ralph. The hostel has some good taste movies.
As soon as the sun rose about 8/8:30 I konked out. I think it was the warm sunshine that did it to me. Anyone who knows me, will know that I love the warmth of the sun. Its a pain in the butt though, because Billy loves the cool air. For instance, when we are driving, to stay away, Billy will blast the cold air to keep his alertness up, but this means that I am freezing cold, so usually, I am an eskimo, while Billy is in a singlet. shorts and thongs.
The trip was so stunning because your driving through a valley the whole way that follows a winding river with snow capped Mountains. Mannnnnnn just beautiful.
The whole way along, it is so gorgeous.
There are mountains that look like a serrated knife edge, just popping out of the ground, and then there are other mountains that just casually blend into one another. There is this subtle amount of fog just resting in the valleys, waiting to be swallowed up by the morning light.
We go through border control, only then occurs to me that the place we’re going to isn’t apart of Spain. Especially when we get our passports out. And the man asks us how long we’re staying for. We reply “Just doing a day trip. We go back tonight.”
“Aaarh… Next time you stay for longer. One day isn’t enough.” He said, which was an appropriate reply we found out once arriving.
Tax free Shopping and hiking aren’t the only reasons why people come here. It’s an adventure world. Snowboard and skiing, mountain climbing, water rafting…. I’m not going to list them all. But seriously you can do almost anything here. The name of the Capital is Andorra too, so that is kinda awkward. It’s a town of only 70,000, a pretty good size if you ask me. It looks like the government really looks after their people too, you can tell with the infrastructure.
We have no clue what we should be doing, we knew a hike was what we thought we wanted to do but after seeing so many more things on offer we thought it was in our best interest to go to the tourist information centre. We told the lady a hike was what we wanted to do and we only have today. So she shows us what of the two hikes we can do without the use of a car. And then proceeds to give us every book and brochure on their wall.
We were a little overwhelmed after the reading material, but we knew we needed to catch a bus to another small town to do the walk.
When we got off the bus ten minutes later we were hungry and still a bit “doughy”, as Billy would say. We pulled up onto a bit of lawn in a park over the road to lay on and make some apricot jam sandwiches. Only once we start spreading do we realise its marmalade…
We endured them anyway, and in a really odd way, it was kinda satisfying.
We wandered around the small brick village for a little until we found a map of a trail to walk. We decide this is a better option than the walk on the map that walks alongside the road to the next village.
We’re walking along some gorgeous scenery.
The kind that you think of when you think of Switzerland.
We see cyclists, horses, horses laying flat on the ground, small villages, pubs, farms and lots of road works with lots of wet cement, all along this beautiful fresh running river from the snowy mountains. It’s a blue sky kinda day with a temperature of 15° unless your in the shade, then it’s only 9° at best.
We don’t find this walking track we wanted to do. We stopped so often to check the map and google maps and we keep thinking it’s up ahead. Then we realise we’ve missed it so we make the decision to keep walking and do the original track that lead us to the next town that runs with the river.
…Except no track is also to be seen.
We make it to the town though. It’s got one building there, so needless to say, that a town is a little generous, but still it has it’s own title.
We’re no longer keen to walk back and we wait for the bus that has no time table or where it’s going and 4-5 buses pass us. Being that we are not getting anywhere fast, we start putting up our thumbs to hitchhike. Still no one from the mountain want to give us a lift. We start getting silly and have fun about it and I keep my thumb up while Billy gets on his knees and pleads with his hands together.
Two groups of cars come round the corner and keep going, then the next lot with a bus also keep going. This keeps happening, until the last car tagging on behind pulls over and with a smile she says hello. We say hi and huge thank you’s. Her name is Silvia and she was in her mid 40s with short brown hair. She spoke broken English but for a town that speak 3-4 different languages she did well. You had to listen very carefully.
I think I missed every third word she said. Anyway she is a cross country ski instructor. She also teaches swimming too. She told us many facts about the town and drove us all the way back into town even showing us a few hot spots to visit and some history behind places. This was the second time we’ve hitch hiked and I was opposed to it all together at the beginning but it’s a bit like couch surfing. Just respect them and they will respect you. And they are interested in telling you things and just as interested in things you have to tell them.
You never know what kind of person your gonna meet and what knowledge they have to tell you.
We are a bit pooped from our walk uphill and find this gorgeous park that would have been a wonderland for me growing up. We crashed on the lawn again and I had an afternoon siesta while Billy continued his book reading. We hang out here for the next hour or so, enjoying the sunshine and watching the Andorran world happen around us.
We continued our discovery of the town with the tax free shopping strip. It’s mostly a big street mall to walk down and some shopping malls on the sides. I will categorise what’s on offer, Clothes shops, perfume shops, pharmacies, restaurants, and electrical everything. When I say electrical everything, I mean cameras, to speakers, to hair straighteners, to electric toothbrushes, to watches, to binoculars, to phones, to old school phones. There is no one particular shop for one thing that you need. They are all one stop shops, so you gotta hope you can find what you need in there.
Our day slowly wraps up as we make our way to the bus depot get on and watch the sunset as we drive through the mountains. It’s such a sight, I wish I can keep it locked away in my memory forever.
I snap some photos to make sure that I can.
…A lot of photos actually.
We kick back on the coach ride home and reminisce on our day in Andorra.
The downside today was when we got off the coach when we arrived back in Barcelona Billy accidentally left his book (His first novel ever) on the bus, with the last chapter to go. It was such a sad moment when we realised. The good side to it was the fact that I had already read the book so I filled Billy in on the end, but still, this means that he technically never finished a novel…
Haha. Such a good effort…
Oh and when we walked home from the bus depot in Barcelona, a power box over in a safe corner blew up. It had the major buzzing of high voltages and smoke flowing out of the metal box. It was as if Marty fly was about to show up any second. I had three thoughts come straight to mind, fireworks, bomb; kids. It was so strange. Nothing seemed likely to have triggered it. We let it be and kept walking.
Thanks for reading.
Come back for the next story,