Adios Spain – Bon Jour France!

We could see people charging down the slopes

We’re here: N42.45770 E2.03757

The weather is: cloudy and drizzly rain

The road we slept on last night must be one of the quietest in Spain, I think I counted around eight cars going past in time we were there. We both got a good nights sleep and woke up refreshed and ready to make our way over the border into France. We had showers (well it doesn’t do to arrive in a new country with greasy hair!) and some breakfast. Charlie had an extra special treat for his breakfast, left over curry and rice – he loved it, although he did end up with an orange chin and paw from his attempts to gulp it down so fast.

We stopped at a petrol station for a final Spanish cheap top up (€1.36 a litre) and made our way up and over the Collada de Toses which peaked at 1800m. On the way back down we stopped off to marvel at the skiers on the mountain across the valley from us making their way down the snow-cannoned pistes. We had some snow on our side to play on too, as well as a fountain kicking out some of the coldest water I’ve ever felt.

We arrived in Puigcerda, the last town on the Spanish side of the border and waved farewell to Menu Del Dia, signs we really have never understood what they meant (even when they were in Spanish, which were now in Catalan) and shops ending in ‘ria’ – panneria (bread shop), cervesaria (beer shop), vinoria (wine shop) you get the drift.

As we drove along, in the space of a couple of miles, Puigcerda morphed into Bourg-Madame and streets were no longer Calles but Rues once again. La Poste returned and suddenly we could understand most of the signage. The one sign we really did understand was the cost of diesel – €1.62 a litre!!!

We’ve travelled a little way along the valley to the town of Saillagouse (we dithered slightly at the sign for the village of Err, but eventually decided not to go there). The town has some interesting sculptures of Rubinesque figures snowballing, skiing and one of a lady in stockings peering at the mountain. It’s been drizzling pretty much since we got here, but they have a great laundry, so everything is washed and smelling lovely (apart from Charlie, but his time will come). I cooked up a rice pudding (not from a can either) to keep us warm, which went down well, almost as well as my nachos from last night – I do love my camping cookbook.

It’s hard to believe but it was 10 November last year when we left France to travel around the Iberian peninsular – it’s taken us nearly five months (with a side trip to Morocco!). We never thought it would take that long, but it’s a big old place. We’ve left some bits to go back and visit like Madrid (why on earth put the capital so far away from everything else) and Lisbon. But we’ll have long weekends to fill when we get back into the rat race, so they’ll give us something to look forward to. It’s strange that France feels like coming home after Spain, I guess it’s because we can understand a bit of the language and aren’t restricted to – Hello, Goodbye, Thank You, Where is? and I’m sorry I don’t speak Spanish.

As you’ll see we’ve made a decision on our route – we’re off North. Not sure exactly where yet, but first stop for me is Carcassone as it’s been on my ‘to see’ list since we set off and it’s just up the road – there’s also an aire right next to it – you’ve gotta love the French and their system of aires. They’re everywhere, so more cheap overnight stops, even if the food and fuel has gone up in price.

Ju x


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