Friday, 3 July 2009

The trip and Arrival in Andorra

We thought at first that there had been an accident, as we could see the flashing lights as we drove down the valley before the police stopped us. As there were no side roads we were a bit concerned. We were already running, if not actually late, without any more margin for error.

The day had been long for me, I had got up at 4am, to prepare my bags. I am not much of an evening person, and that was easier for me. I left, I had thought, a tad late, but got to the rendevous point in Lyon at 7:30 am. Isabelle joined me a short time later, and we headed off to pick up Sylvie at Valence. I knew the road, having done it with Jacques a short time before, and the first part went very quickly. A coffee stop and later lunch en route broke the journey up a bit. For the latter there were two coaches, that I guessed were on there way to or from Lourdes. That meant queues for the loos!

We chatted throughout the trip, about sophrology, wondered what it would be like in Andorra, our course to date, our teachers.....and also about families, ourselves, our hopes, our past.

Once we headed towards Andorra, off the motorway, things began to change; the road conditions, obviously, particularly as one of the tunnels was closed, so we went round Foix, but also the climate. As we were heading into the mountains, the heavens opened, and we went up the steep mountain roads under the rain. However, at the moment I took the above photo it wasn't actually raining. I've been stopped for cows, for sheep (in Scotland) even goats, but it was the first time that I've been stopped, by the police no less, to let horses go by. And as we went down the road, and could see their passage, we saw that they had come quite some way. The line of traffic stretching the other way was quite considerable.

The horses and what they represented, that until about the middle of the twentieth century, the Andorran economy was based on shepherding and the breeding of cattle and horses, was in stark contrast to my first impressions when we reached the built up areas. A lot of buildings, rather dark, an almost Ghormenghast feel, although of course the buildings here were new. However I felt them at times to be rather overpowering, often in dark granite, clinging onto the steep steep hills. These mountains are new, sharp, unlike the old hills of my native Scotland. These have not known as many glacial drifts, have not been scraped and reduced the way that those I knew in my youth had.

I was also struck by a feeling of wealth; Andorra is after all a tax haven. The city of Andorra oozed money, the shops, the banks, the cleanliness. But not always well sign posted. We missed our turn off, and drove round the city, interesting, but it did make us even later; we weren't able to do the shopping we had planned. Next time, all's well.

As we drove into the valley, towards our destination, the feeling of excitement mounted, at the same time as the hills became even steeper. At that point we were more concered with arriving than our surroundings, Our late arrival at the hotel meant that we started straight onto the course.....more of that at another time......

Back home......

Here you can see Prof Caycedo, and his daughter, also a psychiatrist. (Pity about the computers, but that's modern presentations for you). It was Natalia who gave most of the classes, Prof Caycedo came in on the last morning. It was still very interesting to hear his description of the birth of Sophrology, and the whole thing has confirmed me in my desire to go right up to the end, and get my specialised masters. I also realised that there is rather a dearth of native English speakers, when I asked for contacts, the only one they could give was was the lady in London, with whom I have already been in contact, and she is not a native English speaker.

I had asked to be seated at the front, because of my hearing problem, and they very kindly saved a seat from me (and two other ladies in the same position). We arrived slightly late, and when my friends got a seat at the back, I was escorted, dark glasses and all, to the front. At the end of the first session a very handsome young man came to talk to me. However, once he discovered that I wasn't even someone important, he didn't even say hello after that! Not very sophro.

We worked on sounds, which I found very helpful. The vibrations really seemed to help me, especially my third system. It was tiring though! We were all exhausted at the end of the day. And we have to write a report and a dissertation before September. I am lucky, they will accept it in English. In fact, I think that they are quite happy to have it in English, as the translation does not yet exist. It makes it more difficult for me to do research, but there are lots of mind/body books available. In fact I am currently reading one by Herbert Benson, Timeless Healing, which talks about Remembered Wellness. I've only just started, but I am sure that there are things in common.

I also shall be working on protocols on accepting bodies/loving oneself for the NEWO group. I need to sit down and write on my plan, when I shall get things done etc.

So time for me to get off the blog, for the moment. however, one of the things we had to write about was our trip to, and our impressions of Andorra. That could be my next blog, and a way of killing two birds with the same stone!