Blogs from Andorra, Europe - page 3

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Europe » Andorra » Encamp September 4th 2010

When it's a country... Andorra so far as I can tell is one big 40km hill, of which I am just over half way up currently in the town of Canillo (at 5,000ft). Not quite the epic collection of cols as with yesterday, but still enough climbing to make everything hurt again and just enough descending to make it all seem worthwhile. As with yesterday the route was just shy of 100 miles, although a mere 10,300 feet of climbing compared with about 13,400 yesterday. My knees are shattered so it's fortunate that tomorrow finishes at sea level, though still a couple of mountain passes to say goodbye to the Pyrenees. On Tuesday my ride is only meant to be 75 miles and pretty flat, so if I can get that far I'll at least have ... read more
Andorra to Perpignan 2
Andorra to Perpignan 3
Andorra to Perpignan 4

Europe » Andorra » La Vella July 13th 2010

Off to Andorra-la-vella in Andorra. Andorra is its own country - on the border of southern France and northern Spain. After staying at the party until 2 am, we had a late start to Andorre. We stopped to fill up with gas on a Sunday. There are no attended stations on Sundays and none of our credit cards would work at the gas pump. In addition, the gas cap was locked and we couldn't get it open with our key. Many thanks to the nice frenchman who unlocked the gas cap and filled up our car with gas on his credit card so we could just pay him cash! We made the hotel reservation the night before but are not attached to a printer and did not write it down. So we stopped at an Internet ... read more
Church along the way
Church along the way
street view

Europe » Andorra » La Vella June 26th 2010

16/06/10 Once through the near non-exictent checkpoint to Andorra, being that the entire country is less than 500sq km it didnt take long to reach our destination Andorra la Vella, Andorras only city. On the way we passed cute little villages and resort towns all packed into narrow valleys. Andorra la Vella was also packed into a valley with a river raging through the middle. Our campground was very nice with a view of the city and oppisite mountains, it also had an indoor pool and spa, we were beginning to learn though, that no matter how flash the campground they just didnt have kitchens and it is really hard to find a shop that sells campstoves so we had to throw out some of our food. 17/06/10 Last night was freezing, being higher in the ... read more
our home
view from campsite
river running through andorra la vella

Europe » Andorra » La Vella April 22nd 2010

Sunday 18/4/10 So where was I? Ah yes, Andorra. Think Colorado meets Queenstown meets Kuala Lumpur. The scenery is stunning. Andorra is at the top of Spain and bottom of France and appears to be nestled in the base of a valley. It´s surrounded by big fuck-off mountains about 2500 - 3000 metres high so is a major skiing capital. Also it´s a tax haven so lots of cheap electronic goods and impenetrable (not to mention discrete banks - I know where my money´s stashed!) Major construction going on here with big roads and huge hotels being built so obviously the recession has done Andorra some favours. I drove around the very narrow windy roads for an hour trying to find a hotel as it was getting late and dark. I finally came acroos the Bates ... read more
Dali mural - Figueres
More Dali
The Bates Motel - Andorra

Europe » Andorra » La Vella April 21st 2010

Hooley dooley! OK, so I finally made it out alive out of Barcelona. What an awesome place - could easily spend another 6 months there. A friend of a friend gave me her friend´s (Pep) number here in BCN. Pep is a company director here and took me out to his fave place in BCN - La Cabana de Parque. (If you´re reading this, Brenda, Pep said you´d be jealous!) He also took me to another great place - Cafe Velodrome - where only the cool kids like me can hang out. Very classy. And the man paid for everything! He only just met me so very impressed - Muchas gracias, Pep! 16/4/10 It´s now been a year since my wee bus, Kitty, was stolen so am now spending the insurance money! Would rather have Kitty ... read more
Monserrat
Monserrat
Lighting the obligatory candle

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Europe » Andorra » Encamp March 14th 2010

Today in Andorra we had the opportunity to experience a calçotada, a popular gastronomical event held around this time where calçots, a type of green onion, are consumed in large quantities. Somewhat milder than onions but looking like thinner versions of leeks, calçots are native to eastern Spain and not really consumed anywhere else. The tenderness of the long, center is achieved by planting the onion bulbs in trenches and successively increasing the depth of the soil around the stems throughout autumn and winter as they continue to grow. The catalan verb calçar apparently means literally to cover the trunk or bottom of plant with dirt, hence the onion's name calçot The calçots are barbecued in large quantities over fire, then served - today they were divvied out and wrapped in newspapers. Once you receive your ... read more
My calcots with half-eaten sausage
Outdoor grills
Wrapping up the calcots

Europe » Andorra » La Vella February 16th 2010

The end of Friday's classes marked the beginning of the first of many spring vacation periods for me - Carnival! As luck would have it Boston Public Schools has their February break, so some time ago Chris and I planned his visit to Andorra for a few days followed by somewhere more festive. Give that all my roommates left for their own Carnival excursions Friday night and Saturday morning, it was somewhat painful waiting all day alone until 4:30pm for Chris' bus to get in from Barcelona. Seeing as I had purchased his tickets it was no surprise that his connecting flight from Madrid to Barcelona was delayed 1.5 hours (on the runway of course) and that he subsequently missed his bus to Andorra. Oh well, he eventually made it. That first night was pretty low ... read more
Chris in Escaldes
Caldea
Along the mountain trail

Europe » Andorra » Sant Julià de Lòria February 9th 2010

Thought it's now been over five months since I transplanted myself into the Pyrenees, up until this past weekend I still hadn't indulged in one of Andorrans' favorite past times - skiing. My roommate Mike and our friend Pere had made plans to do some cross-country skiing (esquí de fons) on Saturday, so I sucked it up and decided I'd go on with them. One of the people I tutor lent me an old pair of ski pants, and the boot/pole/ski rental plus the pass would only run me 20€ or so, so why not? As the day drew nearer I started to research cross-country skiing a bit more. Wikipedia states that "as a sport, cross-country skiing is one of the most difficult endurance sports, as its motions use every major muscle group and it (along ... read more
Getting stuff out of the car
Looking toolish
Una baixada

Europe » Andorra January 24th 2010

So where was I? It's hard to keep track with all this stuff. The more that I sit down and try to think through all the things that I've simply done autonomously doing day by day, the more overwhelming it is. Bloody HELL we've done a lot of stuff, and seen a lot of things and met some amazing people and taken some incredible photos. It was only after talking to Mama Wetzlich this morning that I realised the scope of what we've accomplished, and the fact that we're still together after three months of living on top of each other is nothing short of a miracle. We drove and drove all the way from Sevilla to Evora, a 260 km stint. One thing that I must remind you is that the average speed you do ... read more
Almost There!
The Temple Of Diana
On Top Of The Cathedral

Europe » Andorra » La Vella January 17th 2010

Today, on the Feast of St. Anthony, all of Andorra gathers together in various plazas throughout the country to celebrate what is called L'escudella. Escudella, itself, it the name given to a traditional Catalan stew full of delicious things like Catalan sausages, beans, and various vegetables. Apparently in the early 70s some friends in Andorra got together and prepared plates of escudella for their neighbors and the shopkeepers in the area. They were essentially reviving the centuries-old tradition of distributing food among the poorest in the parish on St. Anthony's day, January 17th. As you might have guessed, this became quite popular and now the entire country participates. Lucky for us, in Andorra la Vella the festivities were taking place just a 5 minute walk from our apartment in the Plaça de Les Arcades. Basically the ... read more
Placa de Les Arcades
Un dels escudellaires
Commemorative bowl




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