Travelled : 88 miles from Foix (France) to La Seu d’Urgell (Spain)
Visited : Grotte De Niaux €20 double, Andorra and the Abbey at La Seu d’Urgell €6 double
Stayed : La Seu d’Urgell camper car parking area, free but services are €2.
Budget : 36 days @ €78 per day
We leave Foix with charged batteries, clean washing hanging here and there and the floor freshly vacuumed. Continuing south on the N20, we head for Grotte De Niaux about 25 kilometres south of Foix. The Rough Guide recommends this Grotte as having the best examples of pre-historic decorative cave paintings in France. The woman at the tourist information in Foix kindly rang and booked places for us in the English speaking tour today. The area is known as the ‘valley of the prehistoric’.
Once off the N20 it’s a steep and narrow road up the side of the mountain to the grotte. While we have a camper car lunch in the mouth of the grotte, as others arrive and we put on our boots and jackets. We walk 800 metres to the main chamber, the grotte has no lighting and we have been given a very dull torch. Our eye soon become accustom to the dark and we stumble our way along. As interesting as the cave painting is, the graffiti here and there dates back to the early 1600 when the grotte was discovered was an interesting diversion. The actual cave paintings are mostly of bison and horses along with the odd ibis. They are in remarkable condition and excellent detail given their carbon dated at 14-15,000 years ago.
Back on the N20 south, we soon start the climb to Col de Puymorens, its a beautiful road. One sweeping bend after another, it would be great on a motorcycle. But whe’re not. The road provides fabulous views of both the French and Spanish Pyrenees. However the weather suddenly closes in with rain and mist. Suddenly we arrive at the crest of Col de Puymorens and the mist and cloud disappear on the Andorran side of the mountain. To be truthful I had never heard of Andorra until I started researching for this trip. At 350 odd square kilometres it’s too small to be a country. A bit of a backwater or so I thought. In reality Andorra is a bit of a tax haven. Have never scene so many petrol stations (fuel is €.20 cheaper than France or Spain), alcohol or perfume shops. Other than that it’s one ski resort after another, all very modern and obviously high end. The roads are first class or under construction. Anyway an hour or so later Andorra is behind us and we enter Spain.
For the first time since leaving England there appears to be some sought of border control. It appear the Spanish are trying to manage the duty free coming through and the French illegal immigration. Anyway the Hymer get’s the nod and it’s au reviour France and hula Spain. We plan on heading east on the N260 and turn at La Seu d’Urgell, we see the now familiar camping car sign and turn into a small car park. It’s gravel and level and only 100 metres from the centre of town. Once settled we head off in search of tapas.
La Seu d’Urgell proves to be a wonderful town. The tapas, beer and wine are excellent and inexpensive. The old town is full of narrow lane ways and lots of odd shops. The 12th century church and priory have been converted into a wonderful museum. Lots of ornate wooden and silver alter pieces, ancient coffins and artwork. The cloister, gardens and hedge work just set it all the more worthwhile It was a real surprise. We find out its market day tomorrow so we will pick up some local produce in the morning as well.
Michael and Pam