Tim likes to travel. Follow his adventures as he explores the world.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Puebleando to Andorra

A Day in Huesca

Head out in the morning toward Huesca. Stop for almuerzo along the Gállego River, watching kayakers and rafters go down the river. Go up to Los Mallos de Riglos and see rock climbers, donkeys, vultures, and eagles. Have a pincho while watching the birds and rock climbers. Talk to some rock climbers about the climb and descent. 
#RoadTripSemanaSanta2017
#RoadTripSemanaSanta2017



Continue to the small town of Ayerbe, where we buy refollado, recommended by Cristina, from my trip to Galicia, who is from the region of Huesca. We pick some up but save it for later and then head to Bolea for lunch at Casa Rufino (also a recommendation). The food is not bad, and the dessert is quite good. 

From there, head to Castillo Loarre which has amazing views of the entire valley. After a few hours, we leave to go to Huesca. Arrive at our hotel in the city center, drop off our stuff and then head out to walk around the city. We stop in a plaza to have homemade kefir cheese and crackers, and the refollado from ealier for merienda. Then we see San Pedro el Viejo church, celebrating its 900 year anniversary, the Cathedral of Huesca, and parque Julio Brioso. 

The Huesca Cathedral is the most open Gothic church I've seen and has a cool all white marble altar. The park is green and full of people, birds, and nice atmosphere. Walk back to the hotel to grab our jackets and then head out for dinner at La Vicaria. I order a local wine, and it's not bad but I still prefer Navarra and la Rioja wine.

After dinner we head back to the hotel and Ainhoa and I decide to go back out to watch the Easter parade in front of San Pedro el Viejo. Ainhoa had asked in the cathedral when the parade was and the lady said that it starts at midnight, but when we arrive at 11:45pm, only 20 people are there. We ask a guy, who tells us that really it starts at 12:30am, but that in Huesca they move tranquilamente. He wasn't lying!

The parade arrives at our location around 1:00am and there are hundreds of people behind us, as we are in the first row. A hush falls over the crowd. The lights go out. The procession begins. Drums in the distance slowly get closer as hooded adults and children line the way. They said it would be a 15 minute event, but it is almost an hour. It is very interesting and definitely worth it, but afterward we are super tired. 


Watching the kayakers and rafting go down the river
Watching the kayakers and rafters go down the river

A beautiful day for rock climbing... or having a drink on a terrace while other people climb
A beautiful day for rock climbing... or having a drink on a terrace while other people climb
Save us Estrella!
Save us Estrella!
On top of the castle overlooking the Loarre Valley
On top of the castle overlooking the Loarre Valley

On the left, I don't know. On the right, the super sweet refollado that we bought
On the left, I don't know. On the right, the super sweet refollado that we bought

In front of the beautifully carved marble altar in the cathedral in Huesca
In front of the beautifully carved marble altar in the cathedral in Huesca

Trying to find good lighting outside the cathedral
Trying to find good lighting outside the cathedral


I had the shirt on, I had to do a handstand
I had the shirt on, I had to do a handstand

La Fuente Luminosa in Parque Julio Brioso
La Fuente Luminosa in Parque Julio Brioso

Wow, when we showed up there were only 15 people here
Wow, when we showed up there were only 20 people here

Yeah, I'll let you figure out what the caption should be :-)
Yeah, I'll let you figure out what the caption should be :-)


Andorra here we come

Wake up early and shower and then head down to breakfast, which we get for free because the guy at the desk was really nice and we chatted a bit the night before.

After breakfast, we head toward Andorra. Beautiful weather and spectacular countryside. Pol is Catalán and the one of the languages spoken in Andorra is Catalán. As we drive through Cataluña and Andorra, I ask him what the words on signs and billboards mean. 

We stop at the pantano de Oliana on the river Segre, for almuerzo. Continue to Andorra and stop at Borda Eulari restaurant for lunch, the first restaurant we see after passing through Andorra la Vella (the capital). Pol recommends that I try escudella barrejada, a soup with lots of ingredients, and it's amazing. He also teaches me how to make Catalán-style toast (see video below).

Then, we head to our flat in Arinsal. We have an airbnb with an amazing view of the nearby mountains and ski resort. Go to supermarket and get food for dinner and breakfast. It is a bit chilly, so we plug in the space heaters, in addition to the main heating, and then when we turn the oven on to make dinner, the power goes out. We figure out how to get it back on, make dinner, and play board games for the rest of the night.

The pantano de Oliana is a great place to skip rocks
The pantano de Oliana is a great place to skip rocks





Ah, wait, I cut out my food and our faces
Ah, wait, I cut out my food and our faces

They couldn't wait
They couldn't wait

Everyone looking at tourist pamphlets to decide what we'll do
Everyone looking at tourist pamphlets to decide what we'll do

Easy hike around the capital

After breakfast, as we are fans of escape rooms and have done several together, and in the tradition of hiding Easter eggs, Ainhoa has hidden several chocolate bars with a coded message for Pol, Estrella, and I to discover.

We head out to walk the trail Ruta de las Fuentes up into the black forest. Mirador de las Palomeras offers breathtaking views of the capital and countryside. We stop to have lunch but then it begins to rain and storm. Change in temperature from morning to afternoon is about 10 degrees and we put our jackets on. Go into Andorra de Vella and walk around the main tourist sites. It's raining off and on. Finally, we head home and watch a movie and play games. Pol makes Spanish tortilla for dinner.


Our prizes and coded message for Ainhoa's Easter egg hunt
Our prizes and coded message for Ainhoa's Easter egg hunt

Preparing lunch for the hike, complete with pa amb tomáquet
Preparing lunch for the hike, complete with pa amb tomáquet

After about 10 minutes, we were already tired
After about 10 minutes, we were already tired

Always there to lend a helping hand
Always there to lend a helping hand


The view from the mirador de las palomeras
The view from the mirador de las palomeras
It's raining and storming
It's raining and storming


Another great view from a mirador
Another great view from a mirador

Someone is watching us hike through the woods
Someone is watching us hike through the woods

We can't pass up a good photo op (especially Estrella)
We can't pass up a good photo op (especially Estrella)



Professional level hiking

Make breakfast and then head out on a trail near our flat. The trail today is much more difficult than yesterday, but also offers better views. Yesterday there was no snow on the trail, today is about 30% snow. It is also hotter today.

We finally reach the top of Pico del Caballo at 2,549m after walking 3.5km, and 1,120m higher than we started. Feel on top of the world. Coming down is more difficult than it seems and all the steep parts are covered in snow. I now realize the importance of hiking shoes, as I'm sliding everywhere. This is definitely the hardest hike I've ever done.

Finally, we arrive back at the town after over 6 hours and 7.2km, and stop for a drink and merienda (crepes). I stretch because my legs are destroyed. Another kilometer walk uphill to the house. Grab dinner and breakfast for tomorrow on the way home. Take showers, relax, play games, and go to sleep early.




The view is amazing, no matter how you look at it
The view is amazing, no matter how you look at it

Pic taken with a poor-man's drone (throwing your camera in the air with the timer set and praying you catch it)
Pic taken with a poor-man's drone
(throwing your camera in the air with the timer set and praying you catch it)

We were really high up
We were really high up

Sneakers are not the best for hiking through snow
Sneakers are not the best for hiking through snow

Purple mountains' majesty... Andorran style
Purple mountains' majesty... Andorran style


360 degree photo!




Makeshift downhill skiing


Why running in the snow is bad for you


Homeward Bound

Wake up, eat breakfast, and hit the road. We stop to pee when we see a swarm of bees and run away. We tried to stop to eat but every restaurant was packed for kilometers and we ended up not eating until we got home. 
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