Our coverage of the Perret Family road trip continues…it’s time to go to Andorra!
Confession time- I had no idea the country of Andorra existed before we booked this holiday. I feel like I have a fairly good grasp of geography and after living in and traveling around Europe for the past five years, I never thought I’d encounter a country that I’d never so much as heard of….especially one right between France and Spain; two countries that we have traveled to LOADS. Now, it’s not an especially large country (it’s the sixth smallest country in Europe), but it was beautiful and such a great experience. What a happy surprise!
The whole reason we ended up staying in Andorra was that I had been searching for apartments to rent in the south of France, and the pickings were quite slim as we had left it much too late (typical!). Not having any success, I kept zooming out on the map and eventually it landed on the Pyrénées and the country of Andorra… and we found the perfect place!
Our Airbnb was beyond excellent- it was run by a Belgian/French couple who went WAY out of their way to ensure we had the best stay possible. We were greeted with fresh fruit, THREE(!) bottles of wine, chocolates, and a fully stocked kitchen. In addition, we had mentioned to them that we’d be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary during our stay, and they arranged for us to go to a local mountain spa, completely free of charge….plus we got a ‘private spa’ for two hours- a jacuzzi, sauna, and turkish bath completely to ourselves, plus fruit and champagne. It was all kinds of wonderful!
Murphy loved the apartment; the floors were lovely and cool, and he even got his own room!
We spent three full days in Andorra, and they were a perfect combination of active and relaxing. We love to hike and did lots of it while living in Switzerland, so we went walking in the mountains every day.
The elevation was really quite high (a couple of our hikes started at 2000m!) and the heat from the sun was strong. Much to our surprise, it was Murphy who suffered the most- he is obviously getting accustomed to the relaxed city life and couldn’t handle the mountains anymore! We tried to do a long summit attempt on the second day, but the poor guy was slowing down and seeking out the shade, so we abandoned ship halfway up. It was so strange to have Murphy be the weakest link- we have done some pretty intense hikes over the past years and he is always WAYYY up ahead. Oh well, the views from halfway were still pretty darn nice!
Given that the summits were a little out of reach for Murphy, we decided to spend our second and third days doing less intense walks that stayed close to rivers/lakes. We always carry water and a dish for Murphy, but the absolute best way to cool him down is to get him swimming.
All three of us were SO happy to be back in the mountains. Marc has always lived in the Alps, and between Canada and Switzerland, I’ve spent my whole adult life in mountains. We love Paris, but it was such a treat to be surrounded by nature again- I feel so at peace in the mountains, and I loved every minute.
We also ate some great food! The mix of cultures is amazing in Andorra- it is bordered by France and Spain (not a bad start when it comes to food) and is very Basque. The spoken language is Catalan, though thankfully most people could speak French as well. It was such a cool experience to be only ten minutes from the French border, but at the same time feel like we were in a completely foreign place.
Overall, Andorra was a great experience. I would have loved it under any circumstances, but it was especially perfect for this trip. It was so nice to break up the city visits with some peaceful time in nature, and it was great to be able let Murphy run and play freely.
Next time- we will go to Marseille! Keep posted….if this rainy Paris weather continues, the next blog should be up in a couple days!
Love you all,