The Saga of the Titre de Sejour, French Paperwork in 4-parts. Part III

It’s an 8-hour drive to Andorra.  Did I mention that this was February?  And Andorra is in the mountains?  It’s a big ski area?  Lots of snow?  Did I mention that we stupidly believed the weather forecast that it was going to be sunny and warm?  We got to Andorra about six in the evening.  It started snowing about seven.  We have an SUV and we can drive around the high passes so we're not worried.  First thing the next morning we slip and slide up the mountain to the consulate, get our visas stamped in our passports and start the trek home, the long way, down through Spain to avoid the snow.  It’s raining at the lower elevations so no problem. About an hour out of Andorra, it turns to snow again. As we enter a roundabout just before Puigcerdá, a small town on the French-Spanish border, we hear a loud ‘clunk’ and our car refuses to move.  It is now snowing in earnest. I get out my trusty mobile and call the auto club.  After several calls back and forth, (me struggling to speak French, them struggling to understand the Yank with the bad accent) we are informed that the tow truck is on its way. Meanwhile we manage to back the car out of the roundabout and sit back to enjoy the snow. About an hour later, we see a tow truck go by heading towards Andorra.  Must be ours, we think, at last.  It was ours but he was confused by the directions and went all the way to Andorra.  Two hours later he goes by again.  Finally, just after dark, he goes by a third time, stops, backs up and asks if we are the ones needing a tow. He has now gone past our car, sitting in the same spot by the side of the road with hazard triangles out, 3 times in 4 hours…..Yes, please, we need a tow. He loads up our truck, we climb into his cab and head up the mountain (yes, up, into the heavy snow) to wherever he came from. An hour later, we are in Saillagouse. We, and our car, are dropped off at a tiny, little garage.  We are told to spend the night at the (not a, the) hotel and check back in the morning. We head off to the village in the snow on foot, no boots, no gloves, no scarves (it was going to be warm, remember) looking for the hotel. We found it, it was warm, it had wine, we stayed.
The next morning we were supposed to call the auto club to find out how to get home.  The battery on my mobile was dead after all of the calls, (naturally, I had forgotten the charger) and the phone in our room wasn't working. We head off to the bar to use the phone – that day, and that day only, the hotel would have no phone service anywhere as they were installing a new system. No worries, there is a phone booth (remember them?) just down the street.  They were correct. We found it right where they said it was. Unfortunately, it didn't work.  Neither did the next one we were directed to by the tourist office. The third one was a charm….and, it finally quit snowing. Anyway, we were taken on a 2-hour drive through the mountains to the airport at Perpignan where we rented a car and headed home. 10 days later we came back and got our car.  The problem? A screw came loose in the brake. The cost? 34 euros.                         Part IV on Monday

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap