Day 264: Donde est Andorra?

7 April 2011

Barcelona to St Remy

High Point: The drive through the gorgeous Pyrenees Mountains on route to Andora

Low Point : The meat in my salad has yet be confirmed as chicken, beef or pork…. oh dear L

Crew Point: Congratulations must go to Matt Haynes who has also impressed the crew with some incredible FTFE firsts…

  1. Turning up on his first crew day in one of the worst Hawaiian shirts ever made.
  2. Declaring himself an afternoon driver only.
  3. Deciding the daily truck checks were “not his speciality” and watching from the cab.
  4. Asking the crew after 5 minutes of his first day in Martha “Is this it? What do you do now?” None of us knew how to answer it …
  5. Setting a world record opening hour tally in “no swear Friday”
  6. Needing the offer of beer to finish his first blog.


It should also be noted he has organised some cracking press in both Spain and France and his enormous generosity to the charity!

No Point : Toilets on French motorway rest stops need to move into the 21st century.

Irony Point : We don’t want to take the motorways but  due to lack of time we have to, then we have to pay ridiculously high tolls for the privilege, Martha is not happy!

Crew chat: The crew have lost the ability to talk properly… I now regularly put two sayings together to make one that is utter dribble… e.g “Wow… were now flowing like clockwork” …. Ermm?

Authors comments

Breakfast in Spain, lunch in Andorra and dinner in France… impossible right?  Or just another day for FTFE! Here’s how it went down…

We managed to escape the dreaded Barcelona rush hour by leaving ultra-early from George and Marta’s apartment in the Catalan capital. Now we have a working sat-nav things are far too easy and all the excitement of getting lost in Morocco seems a long time ago, but with the huge millage of stage 9 it’s a complete blessing to actually know where we are going!

Begrudgingly motorways have become a massive part of this stage as we have had to sacrifice taking the slow scenic route to make sure we make it home in time for this weekend. Thank God then the drive to Andorra (our 28th country!) forced us to take ‘A roads’ through the amazing Pyrenees Mountains. It was a complete and utter belter of a drive and made for the kind of morning in Martha that makes all the long slogs and late nights driving completely worth it!

As we reached the small ski resort of Pas de la Casa just over the Andorran/French border the skies were an amazing azure blue and the snow covering all the mountain peaks glistened like the Mediterranean Sea.  Lunch was a quick affair (see today’s low point!) and we were soon back on the road heading towards our destination for the evening  the wonderful St Remy in Provence.

Driving into St Remy during the golden hours of light just before sunset made the countryside look magical and it was easy to see why Van Gough chose to base himself here (he said the light here was like no other place in Europe) . We had an amazing French feast waiting for us at Matts girlfriends parents house and as we sat in their garden looking up a crystal clear starry night sky we were able to relax for what felt like the first time on stage 9 (poor Steve was still working away upstairs on the computer!)

Its hard to imagine that we are going to be home in 3 days, feeling utter unprepared I’m not quite sure how reality will feel after this…

  • Will I wake up every day and only wear the same FTFE t-shirt as I did for the previous 3 days?
  • Will I go and sit in the back of my car for 10 hours typing blogs on a laptop?
  • How will I make a decision with consulting 4 other people first?
  • Will I want to go “halfy halfies” on everything I eat and drink?
  • Will I have to listen to at least one Fleetwood Mac and James song every day?

Last night was the first time I’ve really thought about it but it finally occurred to me as a team we are about to achieve something unbelievable and in the process raise a huge sum of money for some amazing charities. As this is my last blog I would like to thank everyone involved with FTFE for giving me the chance to be part of something so incredible. I truly believe that to travel is amazing but to travel and have the chance to help others people is entirely different.  It’s been an amazing ride and I’ve met some incredible people around the world…

Not least the boy and girl who are currently sitting next to me right now, hats off to Steve and Amy!

See you all on Sunday!

James J

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