Sunday, July 9, 2017

End Of 2017 Iberian Campaign

So ended our three months in the Iberian peninsula: sorting/inventorying/packing/cleaning at the Carrefours and the camper storage place in Figueres, and in the heat; and then a pleasant evening at a hotel in Barcelona, air conditioned even. And then the flight back to Middle California. It was another great trip, the past three months, and I think we both enjoyed Spain and Portugal even more than we thought we would. We'll be back in Barcelona and Figueres in October, after American and African travels, touring back into France and then Italy, storing Le Duc in Rome. And we'll be back again in the spring, after a month in the States and the winter in New Zealand, for more of Italy and then of France. Catch you later on down the trail.
Fridge magnets acquired on our 2017 Iberian campaign

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Andorra To Figureres

The route to Spain and Figueres took us across another pass--not so steep as the previous one, and with a breath of cool air at the top--and then through scenic valleys, past Girona, and ultimately to Quart, where we would spend the night before proceeding on to Figueres. Storing Le Duc in Figueres would require another couple days of sorting, packing, and cleaning before the bus to Barcelona and the plane to San Francisco. We wound up in Quart because we had failed to appreciate the need for reservations at the campgrounds near Figueres. It was a national (Catalonia) holiday and a 4-day weekend, and very hot, and everything was completo. We paid the price.
Leaving Andorra; big-time ski resorts nearby

Another hill climb


Another beautiful Roman bridge




Down the road, another bridge and young people beating the
heat

And another big Medieval bridge

Gothic, no less

At Quart, the fireworks started at about dark and lasted until 3 in
the morning

Next morning view of the remains


Andorra

So at last we made it to Andorra, the town of Julia-something, which we initially mistook for the capital. The TI-babe set us straight on that. After spending the night at the nice aire at Julia-something, we decided to drive the length of Andorra to the French border and then back to the Spanish side to shop at the LeClerc there. 6k. The upscale shopping was on the French side, we understood, but not needing anything upscale, we headed back toward Spain, and Figueres. We actually liked Andorra though we hardly did it justice, touristically. Maybe next time.
In our excitement we missed the actual welcome sign

What Andorra is about, mostly, is shopping

And outlets

Street scenes


It really is just this valley/canyon





Not too small for yet another Romanesque church


Tobacco...there's a museum of tobacco in the capital...tax-free
tobacco?

A river runs through it

Building up, out of the valley


Biggest LeClerc ever..and why not, catering to Spanish, French,
and international tastes

Life-sized animatronics

For sale, too...11k euros; just what your toddler's playroom needs

Killer wine section

Single malts

Why so many Spanish pigs have hearing disabilities

More animatronics for sale

Cigar department; I almost wished I smoked again

Someday I'll post a YouTube of the roaring T-Rex at the LeClerq
in Andorra

En Route To Andorra

Andorra is a small nation situated in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Its history as such is an interesting curiosity, a monument to international agreement when nothing much is at stake. So far as we could tell, it consists of a mountain valley with steep sides, picturesque, if isolated. It stood between us and Figueres, and, most importantly for all concerned, it charges no sales tax. On anything. Gordon had said, if you're interested in cheap booze, not to mention other things, go to Andorra. So we did. There's only one road in from Spain, and only one road out, to France. Mountains either way. But worth the trip.
Again, for us, it's like the American southwest, except without
the open carry and the assholes





Top of the pass; only 2500 feet or so, but the grades were such
we had to stop three times to let our poor 1.7L turdo-diesel
cool down


So we thought from the pass we would see Andorra and took
a whole roll of pix of this town, which turned out to be in Spain

Andorra is off to the left, 20 miles or so

Friday, July 7, 2017

Romanesque Churches Of The Boi Valley, 2

Continuing our visit to the Boi Valley and its Romanesque churches and their murals...
Down the valley a bit, the third church, Sant Joan de Boi

Pretty touched up but the murals were very colorful and
interesting to look at

A lot of Revelations stuff here as well as the usual bestiary







Seven-headed bad guy(s)...

And, most interesting...the mural surrounding
the door...churches of this vintage would have
been painted on the outside as well as within

Environs

The fourth church, Santa Eulalia D'Erill da Vall, apparently had
no murals, so we moved on