One of the best things about travelling is when you discover somewhere magical, all on your own – without the advice of Lonely Planet or Tripadvisor or the person who used to sit next to you at work. It doesn’t seem to happen very often but when it does I feel exhilarated, and smug beyond belief.
It happened to us the day we left Sitges to head into the Pyrenees. The plan of attack was to blatantly copy the itinerary of a company that runs BMW motorbike tours in the mountains, since we figured they would know the good roads and places to stay. The first night was listed as la Seu d’Urgell, and when I went online to book a hotel the best I found was a few miles out of town. I didn’t think that would be a problem.
It wasn’t a problem, but ‘a few miles’ actually meant on a different mountain, accessible only via tight, winding road that made you hope you didn’t meet another car coming in front of you. The hotel itself was perfect, the village really was a village and because of the road we didn’t fancy going back to the actual town so we spent the afternoon exploring the village (took 15 minutes) and reading in the courtyard, followed by a perfect dinner in the hotel.
We felt a million miles away, surrounded by a village that hadn’t changed in 50 years (except to get electricity I assume), spoiled by views and welcomed like family by the staff. It was a brilliant stop.