SPAIN: Into the Mountains Beyond Barcelona


Our trip to Barcelona included a one-night jaunt to Andorra, the tiny little country situated between Spain and France at the foot of the Pyrenees. We rented a car, zipped through the Spanish countryside and stayed in an Andorran hotel with balcony views of the mountains.

We wore robes. We drank two bottles of wine. It was glorious.

The highlight of the Andorra excursion, though, was stopping anywhere and everywhere on the way back to Barcelona.

On our way to Andorra, I saw so many things out the car window that made me say, “Look! What is that?” We decided to visit these random locales and take our sweet time getting back to the city. 

One of our first stops was this lake, for which I never saw a sign with a name. The picture doesn’t accurately capture the blueness of the water. We pulled off an exit and hopped in – or Josh did, because the mud around the edge of the lake was extremely suck-y and sticky and I got scared. Of what, I’m really not sure.

Our second stop was this old church, Saint Marti de Puig-Reig, which we could see from the highway on the tippy-top of a hill.

The church was first documented as early as the 900s and completed in the 1100s. According to the sign attached to the structure, the Knights Templar held meetings here.

The next stop was the Castle of Balsareny, another hilltop structure we spied then veered off the highway to see.

The drive to and from Andorra was full of random castles and churches perched over everything. I highly recommend this method of sporadic tourism, by the way. It was so fun to just randomly pull off the road and explore.

I noted names of places on my iPad then did further reading on each spot when we got back to Barcelona.)

The castle wasn’t open when we stopped in, but the views from the hilltop were AWESOME, even if the windy little road leading up to it gave me a heart attack because I don’t trust Josh’s driving (I’m sorry, I love you).

This castle was built  in the 14th century. Its style is unique; not many castles have what I call the “Super Mario Brothers” look – square and very “regular.”


Rachael Cullins
Rachael Cullins is a twentysomething American girl living in Dakar, Senegal, with her husband and two dogs. She blogs about her adventures in Senegal and travels elsewhere in West Africa. She will reside in Dakar until summer 2013, when she and her family will move to another foreign post as part of her husband's career with the U.S. government. In addition to West Africa, she has traveled to France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy and Costa Rica and plans to continually add to that list.
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