A view from the hotel window (Font-Romeu; France)
In the open-ended world of overseas travel, it seems that there are unplanned trips, there are trips which are subject to change both before and during the stay, and in this case, there are trips which take unforeseen twists and turns throughout, which result in something not resembling the original set of travel plans to any developed degree. Truth to tell, this was destined to have been a ski trip to the Grandvalira ski area of Andorra, and 6 nights at a hotel in Andorra La Vella had been booked in advance by way of preparation. As it happened, upon arrival at Toulouse airport, it quickly became clear that all road routes to Andorran ski resorts were blocked by snowfall, and, to cut a long and detailed story short, the ski trip ended up being re-routed to the French ski resort of Font-Romeu, which was a resort I had not been previously acquainted with.
Roads leading out of town which can be hazardous in snowy conditions (Font-Romeu; France)
Given that we all love surprises, in some shape or form, I allowed the unplanned nature of the trip to unfold as best it could, and see if the charms of Font-Romeu could elevate my soul. And the verdict? Well, clearly I could have done a lot, lot worse, as Font-Romeu is a commendable ski resort, and has enough of the kind of vital skiable terrain which allowed me to enjoy the slopeside activity whilst taking in the pretty scenery along the way. The hotel's excursions package seemed attractive enough to want to sample at least something in the local area other than the obvious skiing possibilities, and as a result, half a day was spent at a local spa resort known locally as 'Les Bains de Saint-Thomas', which are pretty much the final word in the bathing options which the local area has to offer. After this bathing experience, I now have it cemented in my mind that every ski trip worth the effort should contain at least one prolonged bathing experience of note, especially if facilities such as a hot tub are lacking at the hotel itself.
Settlement in a mountain valley, as seen from the car window en route (Font-Romeu; France)
On the final (planned) ski day, the snow fell thick and fast, and it quickly transpired that all direct routes back to Toulouse, the intended final destination, were officially blocked. So, another piece of spontaneity yielded a decision to accompany a French couple by road to the southern French town of Perpignan
, and somehow or other take on board another piece of unforeseen routing. This time around, however, with the charms of Font-Romeu fresh in my mind, Perpignan looked like a promising and safe bet, and a welcome addition to the itinerary, even prior to my arrival!