Published: September 5th 2009August 19th 2009
I woke up at the crack of dawn and hopped on the bus for the three hour bus ride to Andorra. I slept for the first hour. But I was glad I woke up for the rest of the trip. It was incredibly scenic. The foothills began and I saw many small hilltop villages surrounded by open fields. I also saw a hot-air balloon gliding silently over the hills above me. As the bus got closer to the Pyrenees, the mountains started to arise and many of them became very jagged. The mountains were quite intimidating but awesome at the same time. The road up and into Andorra was really windy, but it was still quite scenic. At one point, we were stopped at a round-about by the police who were performing random spot-checks on busses. An office got on and said “Bon dia” to the people on the bus. In Vancouver, this would have been met by a smattering of half-hearted “hellos”, but not in Spain. Everyone, almost in unison, chimed in with “Bon dia señor” in response. I was surprised to say the least!
The border crossing was a joke, as we just drove past the
three people who were manning the gate as the seemed much more interested on their magazine than us. The bus continued through the narrow mountain valley until it arrived at the “capital city” (read village) of Andorra la Vella. The town sprawls up the mountains out of the valley, much like Whistler does, but the buildings are mostly made of stone and are quite pretty. I got off the bus, but I could either stay for 2 hours or 8 (there was no in between), so I did not have much time to see everything. I wandered past the electronic stores (taxes are low in Andorra so everything is cheaper there) on my way to the Barri Hutic, which is the old town. It was full of winding streets and stone houses and was very pretty. I took a photo of the Casa de la Vall, which has to be the world’s cutest parliament building. It is made of stone, and cannot be any larger than my cabin!
I continued past more electronics stores until I got to the Placa de Pobell. From there, one could see along the entire length of the valley, including views of the spa, which
looks much like a futuristic cathedral. I bought some souvenirs and crossed the raging river (more like a meandering stream) over a really cool bridge that looked like half a ferris wheel before heading past more electronics stores en route to the bus. I was able to catch the bus back to Barcelona in time, and I slept most of the way back to the city. The country of Andorra is small, but it is a worthwhile visit, and I would love to go back there for some hiking.
Things I learned in Andorra:
-I need more money for electronics
-Little countries are funny
-Anytime I go to a little country, they refuse to stamp my passport. What is up with that?