Monday, July 10, 2017

Back to France! Day Four: To Andorra or Bust!

I read a novel in the early 90s about a bunch of quirky people who lived in Andorra. Since then, I have always wanted to go to Andorra, and last autumn, I finally got my chance! 
Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra
Andorra was a long 3-hour drive (each way!) from where we were staying, but the drive through the pyrenees was breathtaking. The higher we climbed, the more quaint skiing villages (all mostly shut until winter) we drove through. We had all taken our passports along, hoping there would be boarder patrol so that we could get an Andorra stamp. Alas, after 2-1/2 hours we drove over the boarder and were in Andorra.  
Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra
We all needed a rest stop and copied a tourist bus that pulled over to what looked like a rest stop. Well, low and behold, there was no loo - instead we found the Church of Santa Coloma, the oldest and most historic church in Andorra! 
Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra
The nave was built in the 8th or 9th century (!!) The tower is a young pup, having been build in the 12th century. Sadly, the church was closed when we visited, but seeing it from the outside was well worth the stop. Too bad there wasn't a public loo, though...
View from the Church of Santa Coloma
Once we arrived in the capital of Andorra, called Andorra La Vella, we parked and immediately found a loo :-) Then a restaurant for lunch as they would soon be closing for siesta. I think we have a divining rod for locating expensive restaurants, and this day was no different. But it was Brook's birthday, so… 
Lunch at El Tall a Taula
The staff was terrific and quickly sat our table of eight in our own private room...
Decor at El Tall a Taula
with fancy chandeliers and everything.
These are the starters?!
The first starter came out with such pomp and circumstance, we were already tickled. And then…
Starters in ice sculptures
the ice sculptures started to arrive. Tuna tartar, ceviche and grilled pineapple, oh my!
Starters in ice sculptures
I can't remember what was in the dish above, but they tasted and looked phenomenal.
My fancy salmon
I ordered a simple salmon teriyaki, but what I received was far from simple. 
Hot stone beef 
Several folks ordered the flank steak that they cooked at the table on a hot stone. Cindy said it was the best beef she'd ever had, ever. 
My side of veggies
And my side of veg were very lightly battered in tempura, fried, and brought to me in a Cristal champagne box. All of the food was visually stunning and also delicious. 
Veggies came in a box of Cristal
We all ordered something different off of their dessert menu. They also arrived with different, edible artwork. What a fantastic meal! 
A medley of desserts
And then came the 'lemonaide' that was basically a vodka-spiked lemon slushie. After that, the coffee. It was the strongest coffee, I barely drank half of it, but its ramifications were entertaining. (More on that at the end of the post.)
Spiked lemon ices in a giant goblet of ice
We then basically rolled around Andorra La Vella for the next few hours window shopping and sight seeing. After the lunch we were all a bit disappointed in the city - rather modern, loads of high-end shops. However, we got to spend the day in Andorra, ain't nothin' wrong with that! :-) 
Views of Andorra la Vella
Views of Andorra la Vella
One of the coolest things was this original sculpture by Salvatore Dali in one of the marketplace patio areas. 
Original Salvador Dali sculpture
The drive home was rather comical. I was in the backseat, fueled by caffeine and spiked lemon slushie, joking the whole way home. Julie taught me some basic French and I used road signs as practice. Needless to say, we had to stop and take a picture of my favorite sign… you know, the one about watching out for the 'motards.' (I know, not politically correct, but I was cracking myself up!)
Watch out for motards! 

1 comment:

  1. You are doing well in developing your writing skills! That was quite a lunch the 8 of you had! And you were in Andorra. Yea! You are having so many more adventures than we ever thought to have during our European stay.