Thursday, 28 August 2014

Day 115: Fontpedrouse to Sant Julia de Loria - Thurs 28 Aug

Day 115: Fontpedrouse to Sant Julia de Loria - Thurs 28 Aug
Another milestone coming up today, exiting France and crossing Pyranees into world’s smallest country, Andorra! GirlRob could not get out of her head the words of a poem learned in primary school for an Esteddfod. The singsong words and phrases recreate the feel of the old lively Italian folk dance, the Tarantella:

Tarantella (Hilaire Belloc)
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?

Passed buildings with rustic-artistic rounded roof tiles. Had to back off small bridge for turning log truck – locals rule OK! 





Climbing higher into the Catalan Pyrenees, sticks protruding along sides of road to show edges during snow. Saw first ice patches on mountains, waterfalls, running creeks.

Snow sticks
Snow fences

Couldn’t find an explanation for big queue coming out of Andorra (would think any shoppers or gamblers taking advantage of tax haven would be going IN for weekend…) Crawled through Pas de la Casa ski town on border for shopaholics, its crass brightness a blight on mountainous landscape. Cattle and ponies on windy road up. Stopped on plateau at top for lunch 2400+mtrs. Pleasant sound of cowbells drifting up valleys.


Turned off at Canillo to explore a snaky high road but didn't even get half-way to Ordino; drove through weight restrictions, but just past some totem poles thought it prudent to turn back due to height restrictions ahead.



On to capital Andorra la Vella, what a squeeze to fit city into such a narrow valley. Not a hope of parking camper trucks, so couldn't stop for Salvadore Dali statue as planned. Space at such a premium even crypts in cemetery were stacked and terraced, sharing walls. 

Andorra la Vella in ribbon valley far below
Growing tobacco on valley walls


Looking for a campsite, turned to do wriggly mountain loop-road out of Sant Julia de Loria. Goats on road, high country terraced agriculture. At higher altitude more obvious longitudinal cracks in road. Our hoped-for quiet mountain outlook for night turned out to be a Nature Park - horse riding, go-carts, mini-golf, wild animals, tyre luge, and a bobsled run!! We moved on, finishing loop back in Sant Julia.

Found Mile's recommended free camping by chance, at Sant Julia, carpark behind enormous River Commercial Shopping Complex alongside fast flowing dirty river - last tax free shops before leaving Andorra. BoyRob made very good fried rice with an egg the Asian way. Woken through night by spectacular thunderstorm, lightening show, and sonic booms ricocheting off walls of narrow valley. Pelting rain drowned out sound of gurgling river as we tried to go back to sleep.

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