We left L’Orri de Planes (Grain Barn of Planes) this morning in heavy rain. Not that it bothered us…. again the wonderful rain gear. But when we descended from the altitude the rain stopped and the temperature rose and within thirty minutes we were in Spain again.
Forgot to mention the English-speaking table turned into an English and Spanish-speaking table last night! We were joined by a local couple, (he’s a ski instructor during the winter) and our Spanish has improved. I now know how to say spinach – spinagus (phonetic spelling, probably, hopefully). His wife and I shared our skill of the other’s language, by counting, she in English and me in Spanish. It was a touching moment and we definitely bonded.
Home for tonight is near a town called Le Seu d’Urgell, just south of the principality of Andorra. We decided to have a quick cafe con leche in the town and then go look at Andorra. But first we were stopped by the police….
We’ve passed through customs checks and speed checks and random checks regularly over the past two weeks and after a while you start to think “Isn’t it great, they never stop motorbikes?”. Well they did today. Coming up to a roundabout into the town a policeman puts up his hand, the international signal to stop. And of course it’s always a shock when you are stopped, well it is for me. I just feel guilty before they’ve even started looking for something. So I’m on alert, adrenaline pumping when we come to a complete stop on the side of the roundabout in front of him. You know the saying that goes, your getting old when policemen start to look young? Well I’m not making any comment on his age but he looked very well in his uniform.
So, picture the scene, I’m nervous, and at the same time eager to please, watching the young policeman very carefully. I’m not proud to say this but when he lifted his hand to give a full salute (honestly), didn’t I do the same! I’m blushing just remembering it. Not only that but because I had the camera in my right hand (is it legal to take photos from a moving motorbike?), I saluted with my left hand. There’s every possibility that saluting in Spain with your left hand means something rude, could it?
But we needn’t have worried, after exchanging “O’la” ‘s, he asked if we wanted him to speak in English. “Si, gacias, gracias”. Then he asked us for the bike documentation, in very good English. Now, I have no idea what bike documentation one needs in order to travel around Europe, but I trusted that Denis did and had all that in order.
I had misplaced my trust……
And.. as Denis handed the very young policeman our passports, then his drivers license, then his insurance, then pointed to the the tax disc, all the while being asked for the registration documentation, I had a sinking feeling. At this stage I was starting to feel very old and the policeman looked young enough to be my son as he gently asked “but do you have anything that connects you to the bike, as the owner?” And then Denis started shaking his head, in that “gosh, that’s very interesting but I don’t know what you’re talking about” kind of head shake with the added little shoulder shrug.
And I knew I had a choice…. I could say “What! I can’t believe you didn’t bring the bike registration, didn’t you watch a million dvd’s about riding bikes across borders and they always want the bike registration?” Or, I could start looking as gormless as Denis. With the saluting earlier, I was ahead of the game in looking gormless…. So I choose that…. and the very, very nice teenage policeman choose to let us off. He saluted us again but this time I just smiled.
Then we went to Andorra and bought petrol for a steal at €1.27 a litre (no purchase tax in Andorra, I think).
Tomorrow I will tell you about our beautiful home for the night in the mountains.
Be well, Mairead.