Friday, February 21, 2014

Winding roads

Pyrenees mountains, southern France
Donna-Lane and I went to Andorra on a secret mission today. For now, we'll call it a "research project." Not so sure how well the secret was kept. More than once, we seemed to be followed by a mysterious helicopter. We were also held up temporarily at the French border for allegedly going too fast through the checkpoint; I think they were just confirming our whereabouts because they'd lost our cell phone signal in the mountains.
We can tell you that the 'unclassified' portion of the mission was a seemingly endless series of spectacular views.

The cloud formations were ever-changing ... from 'clorox' bleached whites to multiple shades of gray, cotton candy pink as the sun set, even 'backlit' clouds ... and everything from brilliant blue skies to soupy fog and snow that prevented us from seeing the mountains only feet away.
There were numerous villages - like Eus - which seemed to be glued to the hillside. The residents must have strong legs and lungs from always going uphill or downhill.
Near Mont-Louis, I clambered up the hill to get a closer look at this monument. Next time, we'll take photos of some of the whimsical roundabouts, such as the one with a giant sled, others with marvelous fountains or sculptures.
In the central city of Andorra, there's an ultra modern spire that can be seen for miles. Thought it was a church, but it's actually a wellness spa.
This is more my idea of refreshing - a rushing, cold mountain stream. We saw dozens of these, some slicing through the mid-winter snow, as well as waterfalls.
This lion and his bookend were guarding the entrance to an upscale store in one of the ski resort towns.
This is the entrance to the nearly 5-km long Puymorens Tunnel, built about 20 years ago, which saved us having to travel at least twice as far on very windy, snowy mountain trails.
What was the most entrancing, though, throughout the day, was the mountains. A few still snow-covered, sprinkled like confectioner's sugar, D-L remarked. Many ranging over 2000 metres (more than a mile), some as high as Pic du Canigou - 2,784 m (9,134 ft) - which we can see from the village of Argeles-sur-mer.

It was a lovely day trip, and yes, we accomplished our mission.

More on D-L's blog: http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.ch/2014/02/andorra-secret-mission.html.

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