April 15, 2010 · Leave a Comment
1. Home To Andorra La Vella.
Sometimes writing is for other people and other times it’s just for ourselves.
This piece is for me as a family keepsake, but please share in it if you want to.
We are nearing the end of a weeks holiday just a few miles south of Barcelona.
In true British style we have duly noted the daily weather and have
had, as do all fellow countrymen, mixed blessings on this front.
We have visited this area for the last five years after realizing that
after our permanent move to France in 2004 we were indeed allowed to
have holidays outside the French boarder.
As a family we have always enjoyed driving holidays, and reaped the
rewards of filling an already overburdened car with local goodies to
bring back home to treasure when the holiday becomes a scraping of a
No surprise then that Spain was the next Haddock destination, with the
added benefit, as my husband sees it as a free ferry trip (think about
that one for a moment).
North West Spain is a day’s drive from the house and the trip is memorable by its views alone.
This year we decided to ring the changes as the children would for the
first time, be staying at home, or in fact on other breaks with friends
who still had memories and could walk further than I can unaided with
my walking stick.
As is always the case chez Haddock there was the ritual countdown to
the off, amidst the cleaning and (over )packing of the car, last minute
arrangements for the cats, and hurried payments of long overdue bills.
Despite our best efforts we left the house just before two in the
afternoon, and had been on the road for about 10 minutes before
realising that neither of us has eaten anything that morning.
We found a dog eared pack of Vichy mints in the glove compartment and
shared them with a small bottle of water and awaited a suitable venue
to eat en route.
The French autoroute system did not let us down, and we replenished our strength about two and half hours into the trip, and swiftly moved on.
We had made the last minute decision to make an overnight stop in Andorra La Vella,
the shopping Mecca of the Pyrenees, although we both wondered why we
were bothering, as neither of us wanted to buy anything, and the
children were physically unable to as they were at home.
That said, we knew the route and were able to enjoy the snow scene until dusk was usurped by nightfall.
I can honestly say that the night time part of the journey towards our
first pit stop was less than exciting, as it was full of dark hairpin
bends and orange lights on petrol gauges indicating we were low on fuel.
We were spared a long hike to the hotel however as a petrol station was at last located about 10 minutes out from the Acta Arthotel where we were staying.
Booking in was a dream as I had called ahead and booked online.
We parked up, unloaded out bags and went for a light supper in the Plató Retaurant.
The outdoor patio had been enclosed, and was now cosily warm amid the overhead heaters, which made us both feel like we were al freso without the wind chill factor.
We devoured our carefully chosen supper (so much so that neither of us
can remember what we ate) and sipped on an old favourite white wine – Torres Viña Sol. A coffee and cognac and we were soon to bed for an early start the next day. (To be continued……..)