Nov 01 2012

Three seasons day

31st October 2012

This was the day of 3 seasons!

The whole night we listened to the sound of rain. Not heavy, torrential, storms, but a consistent steady rain the whole night. When we awoke, our poor little ground tent – with us inside – was located strategically almost inside a small lake that was our campsite. Amazingly, we had only 2 tiny leaks in the tent, both of which came up under the sleeping mattresses. Frustratingly – for we had hoped for an early start – we took almost 2 hours to pack up. We had to drag our bags and tent into the shower block to dry off as best we could before packing up. Very annoying.

Soon enough, however, we were on our way to Andorra … in the mist and rain yet again.

We wound our way up through the Pyrenees towards Andorra. Although it was a slight detour to our route, we knew that we’d kick ourselves later for not making the effort to head through Andorra.

The Pyrenees are very different from the Alps – in our opinion. Whereas the Alps have very steep sided valleys, the Pyrenees seem to have more gradual slopes and the striking valleys are absent. Not to say it isn’t steep – any cyclist will remind you of that.

The first surprise as we were heading to Andorra was the sight of snow! It was mainly a dusting to start with, but as we climbed higher, the snow became thicker. By the time we reached 1,900m in France, it was thick on the ground. By the time we reached 2,400m in Andorra, it very much was winter, with the ski slopes almost ready to open.

Andorra was a real mix – and we quite enjoyed it. The first sight as you pass through the border is a tax free “city”. We headed straight past – it wasn’t really a priority for us, in spite of threats of cheap booze! Then, we made our way through little villages that very closely resemble the skiing villages of the Alps – but much newer. There certainly was the impression that Andorra is trying to develop this aspect, and most of the villages have newly built chalets and apartments waiting to open for the coming season. The ski slopes we could see looked worth investigating – but not on this trip.

As we headed over the mountain pass in Andorra, down towards the Spanish border, the weather changed and the temperatures rose … suddenly, from being 5C at the mountain top, it was 19C in the valley! Glorious sunshine and not a cloud in the sky.

And for the rest of the day, the sun shone its little heart out!

Having acquired an ACSI Camping Card, we headed towards our intended ACSI campsite for the night, and made a huge effort at hanging the sodden items to dry. This meant that we were, unfortunately, back sleeping on the ground. After 4 days sleeping in a summer tent (read – inner tent is purely net which retains no heat) I am looking forward to the relative comfort of our rooftop tent: warmer, comfy mattress … no water lapping at my toes …


  1. Scott Laddiman

    You are not the only one with water lapping at your feet.!!!! We are having torrential rains here in Kakinada, India just now and just escaped a Cyclone! At least it it will not be raining in the desert of Morocco…….. Mind you with your luck it might be..!!! :)
    Glad the sun has made an apperance for you at last..!!

  2. patrick gilligan

    I really look forward to reading your travellers tales with happiness & sadness all combined.
    The world news has been dominated by cyclone “Sandy ” on the USA eastern seaboard,they are wet too!!
    Safe journey

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