and a dip in a Thermal Spa
06.05.2011 - 06.05.2011
After a restful nights sleep on our new air mattress we were ready to tackle the climb over the Pyrenees and onto Andorra.
We were surprised to see snow still on the mountain-tops as the Pyrenees grew before our eyes. Along the motorway we drove, looking across bright green pastures spotting castles and old French chalet’s out to each other. At the end of the motorway we took a quick turn for a picnic lunch in the carpark of a Prehistoric Discovery Museum.
The drive over the Pyrenees definately has to be Dougs favourite drive so far. The higher we drove, the windier the roads got, as we criss-crossed up the mountain side. The towns here seem to be far between, but built on top of each other to take advantage of the limited space between mountains and ski slopes.
Andorra-la-Vella is a tax free haven. Its streets are lined with shops of all sorts at lower prices then normal. Even petrol is only 1.22euros/litre (For a quick comparison France was 1.52euros; Spain is 1.36euros; UK is 1.42pounds).
Our main objective here was to visit Caldea - made famous by its use of natural spring water. It is set as a health spa, different pools of water at various temperatures to help ease your muscle aches along with saunas and hot beds. I guess some people could see it as just a big pool, but we really did have a good time here. We were fascinated to find an ice pool, where pieces of shaved ice were literally falling out of the roof and being swept into the pool below. The source temperature of the water is 70degC, then cooled by Caldea as required. In an after dinner stroll around town we happened to find the spring steaming out of the ground - at 70degC!
Dinner was at one of Caldea’s restaurants. The food was fantastic, probably over priced in the first instance however we had the Chef’s Menu, a much more responsibly priced alternative. Had we paid top dollar we would have been disappointed by the lack of interest offered by the waitstaff. The highlight of the evening, after our mains were thrown in front of us by a waiter racing past, was to be beckoned by the Maitre’d to “come here” to choose our desserts from the fridge.
Redeeming the restaurant was the view overlooking the entire centre. We’d been disheartened earlier to miss out on the Light Show Lauren had seen on YouTube. But just as we were about to pay the bill it started. We had backstage seats to watch the creation of the universe, starting with the Big Bang and going all the way through to mankind's arrival.