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Barren desert to Alpine meadow!

Having spent 3 days driving we set out to explore on foot, what a delight…….. we are in Soldeu, Andorra a ski resort high in the Pyrenees. The silent cable car and chair lifts sprout from the hillside below, stretching up the gentle slope. The town slumbers in the gentle summer heat; its visitors are here for the hiking, horseback riding and like us looking for a respite from the unusually high temperatures in Spain’s central regions. Wanting a bird’s eye view of the town we tackled the ski hill, a beginner’s slope but enough of a climb in the heat and elevation, 1710 metres or 5610 feet above sea level to be precise. It rewarded us with flower filled panoramas and the tinkling of cow bells from across the valley. A lower trail beckoned……. skirted with stone walls and festooned with flowers, across a icy brook it meandered, each turn a glimpse into this hidden valley.  The mountainsides gleam with swathes of yellow, dominated in patches with vibrant reds! Mother Nature has sown a garden to delight the eye! Dianthus, clover, violets, Armeria (Thrift), Saxifrage, Harebells, Aquilegia (grandma’s bonnet)…….. flowers that would not be out of place in a carefully planted English country garden are mixed with stunning structures of flower and form that are commonly known as “weeds”, rare and unusual creations surprise us at every turn. Down in the valley the roadside noise fades away, breezes rustle the grass, the scritch, scritch of crickets, droning honey makers, distant ripples of bells, gurgling stream……. the silence beckons to be heard. What a delightful day to be alive! To find this delicious trail, walk uphill to the end of town, at the last multi storey on the right follow the gravel trail that slopes down and away, watch out for the “live” wire on the right……. keeping the livestock in or us out? A second trail to Canillo can be found at the bottom of town, this one has a useful information board for identifying some of the species you can expect to see. If you get the chance go for a quite meander rather than a hike, you will be amazed at what you see and hear…… some things are not meant to be rushed, this is one of them! Happy meandering!  

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