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Sightseeing the Rest of Andorra – Day 32
Thursday 13th August 2009 – Andorra
The fact that it was cold the night before meant it was a cold morning. The high mountains stopped the sun from warming up the air until later on in the morning when the sun peered over the mountain tops. This meant that the tent was heavily condensated this morning. The cool was a complete contrast to how the trip has been so far, and i must say, i prefer the warmth.
The out-in-the-wild facilities were next to the river, and the water felt as if it was taken directly from it, extremely cold indeed. That is, until I figured out the tap was back to front. Hot meaning cold, cold meaning hot, so I had a half warm shower today.
My destination today was the town of Canillo, and yet again the drive was spectacular. I stopped on many occasions to breath in the fresh air and take in the surrounding scenery. In all directions the mountains loomed large, and roads could be seen winding around the slopes, leading to small, compact towns at the foot of each valley. Some roads zig-zagged down the mountains, just like in Italy. I had always wanted to see roads like this, and to drive down them. Today I would get the chance to fulfil that dream. I only wish I had a Ferrari or Bugatti, but I guess you cant have it all. My Daewoo Lanos would have to do 🙂
After the really exciting drive, Canillo opened out in front of me, and I was a little sad that the drive was over. It is true that sometimes it is better to travel than to arrive. But Canillo wasn’t so bad. It was a lot quieter than Andorra la Vella for a start, however, I could not find the campsite at all, and drove around in circles trying to see any sort of a sign. When I had eventually stumbled across the campsite, I was on the same piece of road that I had been on when I first got here, I just hadn’t noticed the small sign then. It wasn’t until I took a walk along the main road in Canillo that I realised there were around 4 or 5 campsites in this area. I had missed them all in my search. Never mind.
I took a small walk to the local supermarket which was just down the road, and was nicely surprised by the pleasant atmosphere. It was only a small shop, but it had character. Outside, police men were waving along the traffic and helping people along the pedestrian crossings. It was quite quaint really, as it wasn’t that busy. I bought my food and went back to the campsite to eat it. The place seems to be catered for the older folk as I haven’t seen anyone here below the age of about 70, but it meant it was nice and quiet.
Having been fully fed, I decided to take the car on a trip of the surrounding area so as to see as much of Andorra as possible. My first stop was back near the capital to a place called Caldea Spa. It is the biggest natural health spa in all of Europe, and it is big. It sits along the side of a river, and pumps in the hot water from the surrounding streams, full of hot water due to the high level of thermal activity in this area. I parked nearby to get some pictures, and returned to the car in time to avoid paying any money to the car park machines. There is a 15 minute period in which you can park here for free.
I drove next to the villages of Sispony and Pal. Neither of which had much to keep me there for too long, but were well preserved, and very sweet. My next stop was high in the mountains to Arinsal, then beyond to the ski resort of Valnord. It was an incredible drive with outstanding views all along. The car struggled for much of the journey upwards, but the view from the top was more than sufficient reward for its hard work. I was very impressed and could have stayed there all day in admiration for this beautiful land, but time was getting on and I still had much to do. I coasted back down the mountains, stopping frequently, and passed through Encamp, Les Bons, Prats and then finally ending up back at Canillo.
It was mid-afternoon by now and I wanted to see the rest of this town, so I took a long walk up the main road, following the course of the river that bisects the town, and past the many campsites I had missed initially. There were many lovely and interesting sites to see along the way, and got me thinking about how much I have enjoyed Andorra so far. There are so many hikes that I would have loved to have conquered if I was here for a longer time, but for now I had to move on.
It had been a busy day today and I had a nice meal to finish it off back by my tent. Tomorrow I’m travelling back into France to make my way along to the Riviera in the coming days. I was ready for my bed by now, yet other people were still having their dinner, even though they may be of the older generation. It seems to be a very European thing to have dinner around 8-10pm, lunch around 2pm, and to go to bed about 1am. They still manage to wake up at 7 or 8am. I don’t know how they do it. In England we sleep for much longer hours, but I guess there isn’t a lot to stay awake for back home, not unless you love staring up to the grey clouds.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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