The skiing trip to Cerler in Pyrenees

Skiing at Cerler at Pyrenees

The second time in my life doing mountain skiing and I survived

Last weekend my partner and I decided to go skiing. Last year we went to La Molina which was my very first time ever in my life doing mountain skiing. The reason why I point out “mountain” skiing is because originally I’m from Estonia and all I’ve done since I was a kid is cross-country skiing. As the highest point of Estonia is only 318 meters (1,043 ft) above sea level, which is called Suur Munamägi (in translation “Big Egg Mountain”), there isn’t too much of an option of enjoying going downhill.

Anyways, we rented a car and off we went. During the week we were constantly checking the weather forecast as they promised that it should be a hell of the weather over the weekend. So, we decided to pick up our car earlier on Friday morning to get to Cerler sooner to seize the day and go on the tracks directly on Friday.

Comunidad de Aragón

I really enjoy travelling and seeing new places. When crossing the border of Aragón region I was starting to get impressed with the surrounding. Driving towards the mountains was getting me even more and more excited and just couldn’t wait to get to our destination. I was telling to myself constantly when seeing the marvellous views that surrounded me, that if I’m already impressed with this, can’t wait to see the actual destination.

Seriously, roads like this are that make you forget the long time you’ve been driving for already. Also it was that it wasn’t me driving, it was my partner. So, I could really enjoy everything that was around me. Also the point is that Cerler is the place where my boyfriend use to go skiing when he was young. It’s the place where his friends and him always went to in winter. At the same time he confessed that he hadn’t been there for about 17 years already and this is why it was kind of “new” again as in all these years things change of course.

 

And we’re here

As our hotel check-in was from 6pm, we decided that the best would be if we’d go skiing first and after that we’d go to our hotel and finally check in. The problem for me was that as I’ve only skied once before, I didn’t have any equipment nor clothing. We had to rent it all. Me, as naive as I was, taking in consideration and kind of obvious that all ski resorts would be the same, thought that I could rent all my equipment at the rental place. Yeah, right. In Cerler they DO rent you the skiing equipment (skis, sticks, glasses, helmet) but they don’t have the clothes rental. That pulled up an issue for me as I only had the normal wardrobe with me for walking around and to be a “tourist”. OK, not to worry. As I was a tourist there anyways I decided to take advantage of the situation by renting the equipment and was wearing my jeans. This was something that made my boyfriend laugh a lot of course.

Brown snow??? WTF?

Another surprise waited me when we finally got our equipment on and we were ready to go. The snow was BROWN. That really got me confused. As my boyfriend explained me, most probably it was that a wind front that came from Africa might have brought some light sand with it and it all came down with the previous snow.

Bad weather conditions in Cerler

A chair lift to no-where

We DID seize the day and took advantage of that we got there earlier and could actually ski. Just 30 minutes before they started shutting everything down the weather conditions changed to worse. On our last time we were going up to the mountain, it got cloudy and it picked up some wind too. Though the worst part was that you couldn’t almost see a thing. It just looked like a chair lift to no-where.

As the weather was getting worse every minute we were going up, there was almost no-one going up beside us (people were wiser than us) and you could barely see the next chairs, I told my boyfriend that this is a typical way how a horror movie would start off. A couple from the city going to ski, because of bad weather conditions the lift breaks down and the city guys would get stuck in the lift in the middle of no-where.

The best tapas of Benasque

After a long day of skiing we needed to refill ourselves with some fuel. After a short walk around Cerler we decided that we’ve had enough for that moment, took the car and went down to the village Benasque where we had our hotel. It was just about 20 minutes drive from the skiing resort Cerler. We discovered that our hotel, Hotel Solana, was based in the complete center of Benasque, on the central square.

Showered and dressed again it was time to hit the “town”. We popped into El Veedor de Viandas which was recommended to my boyfriend by one of his friends who visits Benasque almost every winter. He had said that this place is known by the “pinchos” and tapas they have. Of course we had to check them out and test them. He was completely right. The tapas we had were just AMAZING.

The best tapas I’ve had in long time. Even though in Barcelona we have many many places that say that they have stunning tapas but they have nothing to do with what we were served. The taste of each bite just took you to an adventure of flavours in your mouth and made you want to try one after another.

The next culinary experience was the beef steak. The Restaurant El Fogaril was our destination for the dinner. The presentation was really great. They served it for 2 people. The meat was already cut in comfortable pieces and you didn’t have to “kill” the steak again to try to cut it. Everything was served on hot coals which continued cooking your meat while you were eating one of the slices. This gave you the option of choosing how raw you like it. The quality of the meat was really stunning. It was just melting in your mouth. It was just so tender and delicious that you can’t stop eating it. Even though the serving was for two, I might have eaten it all myself as well 🙂 Of course a delightful meal like this needs to be companioned by a great red wine.

Once we finished our dinner we went to talk around the town and had a couple of drinks. Even though it was a raining a bit, we still decided to enjoy it and walk around and be amazed with how cute the town was. You just have to know how to find something positive out of even not the best situations.

What to do on your second day in Benasque?

That was our question when we woke up. The answer is: find a street you didn’t see yet on your first day. OK, that’s it. So, instead of staying in, we took the car and went driving around. As my boyfriend knows the area, he was a great guide for me as he knew perfectly what’s worth seeing.

Our next stop was going to be Llanos del Hospital. On our way there my jaw was just dropping on the car flood constantly. I was really impressed with the views that surrounded me. It all looked like what you see on National Geographic documentaries but I was actually there in person. The air you breath, ambience and the energy I received there put me in a constant “zen” mode of being relaxed and calm, enjoying the nature.

Llanos del Hospital panoramic photo

And we’re back in Cerler

More and more stunned with every move I made. Just looking around the valley I couldn’t stop being impressed. As the sun was out and the weather was nice, we decided to go back to visit Cerler. Also the great details was that last night it had snowed and we wanted to see the skiing resort covered with white snow, instead of the brown snow we had when we were skiing.

It sure was different compared to the day before. White snow in Cerler gives a complete different impression of the place. The sun was shining over the white mountains. Of course, as it was Saturday, the skiing resort was really packed of people. Everybody had decided to come to the mountains and enjoy the stunning conditions. Then we were thinking that it was a great idea that we decided to go skiing the day before as there was almost no people at all on the tracks and today you had to wait in lines to get on the chair lift.

It was a great feeling just to sit there on a terrace of the area, have a nice beer to refresh myself, enjoy the sun over the mountains and be amused by the dreamy sights we had over the mountains.

Of course we didn’t stay at Cerler skiing tracks for long time. There were many other places to see. We drove around the mountains for several hours, found a place to eat lunch and some more sightseeing. After a long day driving we were quite exhausted, but even that didn’t stop us to go back to the hotel, have a shower and off to the town again to find a street we hadn’t seen yet the day before. 🙂

Day 3 – getting back home

Early wake-up (around 9am), quick breakfast and off we went. Instead of heading back home directly we didn’t have enough of the mountains. So, we looked up in Google Maps alternative ways of getting back to Barcelona.

There were some serious jaw-dropping views again on our way. Instead of going directly to Barcelona, we decided that we could drop by to Baqueira-Beret. The area where the Spanish royal family use to go skiing. So, that’s the “posh” skiing resort. The weather conditions there were not good at all. It was really cloudy, windy and snowing as hell. We were worried about if we’d get stuck with our car. Lucky we rented the snow chains with the car but neither me nor my boyfriend had never put them on to a car. That would have been a great and serious “fun” experience as well. In the middle of weather as hell us trying to put on the chains with all the cold, wind and snow.

You can see how bad the weather was. But that was what made the journey more interesting for me. I’m more than use to seeing nice weather, sun and beaches. This time I wanted to see the real winter in Pyrenees. Luckily the weather was just bad and not horrible. At least we could still drive on the road and it wasn’t covered under half a meter of snow.

Getting down the hill

When all the nightmare was over, the heaven started. Woowwww… Once we got out the snowy mountains and started going down the hill, we started seeing more and more impressive sights. Making a stop every now and then let us enjoy our journey even more.

Driving in Pyrenees - 1

Enjoying nature is something I’ve always been fond of. After all these years of living in Barcelona city, visiting country side and to get out the city brings me back the memories when I was going around Estonia with my parents when I was a kid. Brings me back great memories and that’s something that makes me very happy. I’ve always liked to “escape” from the city when possible.

Also on our way back we decided to stop by to Andorra to do some shopping (tobacco, cheese, alcohol, etc.). Honestly, while getting in the city we thought we had made a mistake. The queue to get out of Andorra was amazingly long. At the same time we thought that what the heck, as we’ve come so far, we might as well wait a bit more when trying to get out the country.

All these hours driving, finally back home

Actually, getting out of Andorra wasn’t even that time consuming. We were in the line only for like 20-30 minutes and not more. At the same time it was normal as it was already after lunch and people who drove up to enjoy their skiing weekend, they were starting to leave to go back home. So, the queue was more than normal.

We left our hotel in Benasque at 10:30AM and we got home in Barcelona at 20:00 (8PM). Our trip back home was long and exhausting, but really exiting at the same time. On our weekend trip we managed to see so many different places that it actually felt to me that instead of 3 days of trip we did, we were off like 5 days instead. It was really worthy weekend which I will not forget for sure.

Skoda Spaceback in Pyrenees

Also I would like to point out the great wheels we rented. Online we rented Opel Astra, but when we got to the car rental they said that they offer us Skoda Spaceback instead. Something typical that you rent one car but they actually give you something else. My very first impression was really disappointing for NOT getting the car we rented, but once we took off and during the trip I was seriously surprised with Skoda. Really impressive how it resisted all the weather conditions, bad roads and difficulties we had on the road. Also the interior was really comfortable.

Can’t wait for my next trip and to share my experience with you. Hope it’s going to be somewhere as magnificent as it was this journey. It was my second time ever mountain skiing and I didn’t kill myself or no ambulance was needed either. Actually I didn’t even fall over once. Woohhhooo… next trip, where to go? 

Meelis Paloson

Meelis Paloson

Founder at Meanwhiler.me
I'm the Founder of Meanwhiler.me. Originally I'm from a tiny country called Estonia but I have been living in Barcelona, Spain since summer 2004.

I'm passionate about social media, new technologies, gadgets, business development, healthy cooking, fitness, music and travel. I like spending time walking around and getting inspiration.
Meelis Paloson

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