Andorra - Barcelona, Spain
- February 18, 2006
Up early, our plan for the day was to head to Barcelona, Spain. Before leaving Andorra however there was still much to fun to be had. The plan: Go for a run, check out of the hotel and then – Sheri, Eric, and Sharikay would take a tour of Andorra’s parliament building while I headed back to Grandvalira Ski Area to go skiing.
The run was excellent – a quick trip along the roaring river that cuts through the surrounding valley. Perfect weather. Beautiful mountains all around. Crisp air. Excellent weather. Plenty of hills to challenge me. An excellent run all around.
Sheri’s trip to parliament was less excellent! It seemed like a good idea - the building is beautiful and we were all interested in knowing more about the government of such a small nation. The reality was something else. They arrived at 11am for the 20-minute English tour. It was full. The only other option was a French speaking tour at noon. OK. Not ideal but it’s only 20 minutes and they’d get a tour of a very beautiful and unique looking building. So they waited an hour… for a tour that was supposed to last 20 minutes...in a language they didn’t understand. The 20-minute tour dragged on for over an hour as their fellow tourists asked detailed questions about everything (in French) and their guide gave detailed answers (yes, in French). All the while Sheri was bored to tears and eventually, nearing the end of her rope abandoned the remainder of the tour. To hear it told, it sounded like Chinese water torture would have been enjoyable.
Meanwhile, I set off to get my ski fix. It was the perfect recipe: Blue skies. Relatively warm temps. No lift lines. Huge mountain to carve up. I grabbed a set of skis, hit the mountain and carved as many turns as I could possibly pack in. It was non-stop action right up until the minute I had to head back to meet everyone and set off for Barcelona.
On my return to town, I had a most interesting incident. I’m not a philosophical person and I’ve never given the concept of karma much thought. I must however admit that I’m starting to wonder. On the drive down through the mountains, I’m minding my own business in the slow lane, just trying to get Betty down safely. On the way, I’m nearly run off the mountain when I tour bus goes blowing by and decides, as if I’m not even there, to take my small patch of pavement. I came inches away from complete ruin while he just flies past as if nothing has happened. I was, shall I say, upset. It’s not like my vehicle isn't obvious. It’s huge and there are bright yellow fuel cans on the roof as an added signal. In any case, he was gone and I was fuming. As luck would have it I ran into the bus again in the next village. He had pulled over and just as I was passing, decided it was time for him to take off again and tried to pull back onto the road and cut me off – AGAIN! You have to be kidding me I thought and so I continued on, continued on and didn’t let him in. Well, here’s where the bad karma kicks in. About two blocks down the road, I’m pulled over by an Andorran police officer who gives me the riot act about going around the bus. I don’t speak Catalan however I clearly knew what he was saying. It was incredible. I go around him at 5 mph and get pulled over while he can run me off the road at 60 mph on a winding mountain pass and be fine. If that’s not bad karma, I don’t know what is.
Back in town, we loaded up and headed out. Destination: Barcelona, Spain. Along the way we were stopped at the border and both vehicles were searched. After a brief search of a few expedition cases, the border official asked how many were in our party and if I spoke Spanish. I said no and he said we could go.
So off we went. The rest of the drive was uneventful and we arrived around 8pm. Finding a campground – all closed – or hotel was a bit of a challenge which took another 3 hrs. After burning the better part of half a tank of fuel we were rewarded with an excellent hotel right on the beach….. and it had plenty of off street parking.
We capped the night off with a late dinner at Mira Vos, an enjoyable pizzeria/brasseria right on the beach. Two pitchers of sangria and a few beers later and we called it a night.