Friday, July 7, 2017

Spain, Andorra and France

Ken and Angie were great hosts, and we enjoyed every minute with them but the weather was just TOO HOT!

Barbara and I decided to revert to our US "Goldilocks" method of travel. We'd go where it's "Not too hot and not too cold", which for us meant head NORTH.

We chose the coastal highway up the east coast of Spain, an area well known to British tourists in the 1960's and 70's. This was the start of the cheap holiday abroad and came with tales of drunken Brits being thrown in jail, half finished hotels and many more adventures that made us avoid the place when we were young.
Open air restaurant at Finca Fabiola
Now we were driving past some of those places, Alicante and Benidorm. Although we didn't want to be in among the beach traffic we did pull off near Benidorm and again due to the heat, decided to find an air-conditioned hotel. has been useful and we soon located a place inland from Benidorm in a village called Finestrat. 

The Finca Fabiola was like a dream come true with a welcoming owner, pool, AC, and a restaurant. We cooled off and went for dinner on the patio, which turned into a gourmet feast. We finally tore ourselves away at midnight simply because we couldn't eat anymore.
Beach at Cambrils
We decided to camp for the next stop, the weather was 20 degrees cooler and with nights in the 70's. The "Plan" was for somewhere around Barcelona but we'd had enough driving when we got near Tarragona and used a phone app I discovered to locate a beachfront campground near Cambrils (because it sounded so much like Gambrills where we lived in Maryland!). It turned out to be a gem, and we literally had the beachfront site. 2 nights became 3 really quickly.
Best campsite we've had in a LONG time.
I have to confess that our Laid Back - no plan life took a hit. 

We've been travelling 99% on freeways. Worse still, we sat down and planned the next 2 months!! We do have an excuse though, the end of July/beginning of August is peak period for vacations in Europe and we were concerned that we might not get on a ferry without reservations. We planned on doing some sponging off friends and relatives in Europe and UK so we thought we'd better make sure they'd be home when we showed up. Next thing we knew we had ferry reservations, and invitations to stop by.

Andorra La Vallee which means obviously Andorra in the Valley! You can see why.
Ever North! Our destination was eventually Barbara’s college friend Bev who lives in France. An almost straight line took us thru the little Principality of Andorra where we camped 40 years ago after a motorcycle rally in France that involved 3 weeks of torrential rain. A bunch of us decided to ride south until the sun came out and that’s where we would camp. The sun came out in Andorra and we discovered a lovely little city/state that was tax free and hence really cheap.

This time we came in from the South and the heat and it was raining and cold in Andorra. It’s still a lovely place and still cheap. We even camped in the same campground.

For some odd reason I decided we should walk to a shopping center I’d seen on the way in. Barbara reluctantly followed but after 3 miles she’d had about enough. After 5 miles she was DONE! 

We had lunch and caught a bus back to the city of Andorra only to discover a HUGE shopping area about 1 ½ miles from the campground in the opposite direction from the one we’d taken. Somehow she forgave me. 

I think?

The travel bug or “Hitch Itch” bit again. Barbara has met a friend from college on FB and we had an invite to visit them in a little village called Lessac. 

Chris and Bev live in this ancient farmhouse dating back to at least 1626

Barbara and Bev catch up on the news while walking Bobo

Bev and Chris have lived in France for over 30 years, they are deeply into horses, Afghan hounds and big fluffy cats! Their daughter Lindsey who competed in horse events before hurting her back, now is a Gymnastic coach and both her daughter Olivia and son Elion are gymnasts. Lindsey’s husband Fred drives a truck and spends all his spare time working on the renovation of an old Framhouse dating back to 1636.
The old well
I was fascinated by the farm house building and the barn next to it. It has such character. The ancient well is like something out of a fairy tale, with a wooden drum, handles to turn it sticking out of the side and a chain that drops 30 meters (90 feet) to the water.

Chris had a new barbeque and we tried it out! We ate like Kings. Duck one night then kebabs and sausages the next, out on the deck off the living room, in the peaceful countryside and in perfect weather.

Fiseac is the larger town about 10 minutes from Lessac. We spent a complete day exploring it’s medieval streets and narrow alleys and discovered that the gentleman who cracked the hieroglyphic code in the Rosetta Stone was from this town. We treated Bev and Chris to lunch at one of the sidewalk cafes.

Sometimes life gives you such rich experiences as our visits with Ken and Angie, Bev and Chris, but rarely back to back.