Published: June 27th 2011June 27th 2011
Between Spain & France
View of Andorra La Vela, and surrounding towns from above our hostel. Spain is not far to the left and France to the right
We woke up a bit earlier than necessary so we would have time after breakfast and before our bus down, so Manoli could take photos from the housing area above us. The night before we had taken a stroll up there, without her camera, and the view of the town in the valley below was awesome. You could also see the whole hostal grounds. After taking a number of photos, we returned to the hostal to await our bus trip down to Andorra La Vela to catch our bus back to Barcelona. Novatel may not be as cheap as some bus services, but they took us up the mountain to our hostal and picked us up there again to take us down to the bus terminal. I don't think any of the other bus companies do that, and it was a VERY appreciated thing, especially with all our luggage and not knowing our way around. We left Andorra, somewhat regrettably, around 10am, to return to the Barcelona airport Terminal 1. From there, arriving around 1pm, we grabbed the aerobus, which we'd already bought round trip tickets for, and returned to the BE Mar hostel where we'd spent two nights before going
The High Life?
The housing area above our hostel
to Andorra. The one thing we hadn't seen previously was the inside of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral because of the unbelievably long lines. So, after dropping our stuff in the room, we headed out for lunch and then the hike to Sagrada Familia, with our fingers crossed. We looked around the market on La Rambla and finally found a reasonably-priced restaurant to eat lunch at. Manoli ordered a plate of fried baby octopus which she seemed to like (YUk!), Alexis had a potato dish which she didn't comment on but ate all of, and I have a plate of Botifarra (sausage) with french fries and a couple slices of fried zuccini. The sausage was delicious and the french fries were homemade and as good as Manoli's.
After lunch, we made the long trek to La Sagrada Familia, an awesome cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi, but unfinished when he died in the 1920s. The work has been ongoing, but is being funded by donations and admissions, so it still has a ways to go. We had been there in 2005 with our daughter Tanya on her graduation trip, and the inside especially is more further along. This time, the line
Our Hostel from high above
View of our hostel in Andorra, from a housing area above
was quite short and Alexis and I got our tickets and went in. I said I was a senior and they didn't ask for ID and Alexis counted as a student, so we each paid only 13 Euros with lift, compared to the normal 16 Euros price. They have finished a lot of the inside now and even placed about half of the stained glass windows. They are apparently of Gaudi design also and I'm sure there are images in those colors... someplace. Temporarily, I assume, they have clear glass panes in the rest of the many windows of various sizes. After a brief walk around inside, we took the elevator up the spire (last time you had to walk and Manoli didn't want to do it). Wow, you really get up there! The view is awesome and after crossing a small bridge you can either take an elevator back down, or walk. I convinced Alexis to go for it and I'm proud she did it... without complaint. We stopped a number of times on the way down to look out windows or balconies. The last part of the descent is down a really neat and tightly wound spiral staircase.
Andorra La Vela
A closeup of Andorra La Vela, from above our hostel
Unfortunately, I didn't bring Manoli's camera so I can show a photo of it, but it was cool and very far down.
By this time, it was almost 7pm and Alexis wanted to check out some clothes in a store at the beginning of La Rambla, so away we went. She ended up not buying anything, so we then went to the market to get some assorted fruit for dinner in the hostal. Manoli bought some papaya, I bought some mango, and Alexis bought an assortment. I don't know what Alexis thought of hers, but Manoli's papaya wasn't quite ripe, so not so sweet, and my mango was even less ripe, very firm, and not very sweet. Oh well, thats why they have vending machines in the hostal. I supplemented the papaya Manoli gave me with a crab sandwich from the machine. Tomorrow we end our main vacation and head to Sevilla where Manoli's brother will pick us up and we'll all head back to my wife's hometown of Chipiona. I'll be there 4 or 5 days and Manoli and Alexis will be there an additional 10 days to soak up some sun and family.
P.S. I almost
Our hostel a bit closer
Another view of our hostel from the road above
forgot to mention how close I came to not finishing the trip. On our way walking back from La Sagrada Familia, I heard a very loud crash that made me jump. I turned around and realize a large rubber bucket used for construction had dropped about 10 stories down and missed my by a foot or so!
There are more photos below