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Published: September 2nd 2009
Just an ordinary view
With the Old Parliament building
Well as you all may have guessed I've made it to the mountains valleys of Andorra. Chris and my last morning together, as you may have guessed, was rather traumatic, but once I shifted my mind to the exciting few days ahead I calmed down and was fine once I got to the bus station. I had maybe 40 minutes to kill at station, but by 10:15 I was ready to board and seated right in the front row with the best view of the journey in to the Pyrenees. A few minutes later I noticed who I was fairly certain was another of the Fulbrighters standing outside the bus, but he got on without looking at who was around so I figured I'd just wait til we got to Andorra to meet and just relax on the bus. The ride itself was very nice despite some questionable twists and turns in a giant bus thru the mountains. The scenery was incredible - soaring peaks, sparkling rivers, and adorable little towns strewn about. Once we got close to the border , some 3 hours later, it was another hour before we actually got through since immigrations had to come through and
View from our window
And a wonderful foodie advertisement to stare at
take a half-assed glance as out passports.
Going through Andorra the Vella itself I was a bit taken a-back. At first it didn't seem like there was much charm - just gaudy shops, McDonalds, and other such unsightly structures. A few days later and a bit more settled, however, I'd see there was much more to offer. Anywho, I introduced myself to Mike officially (we had e-mailed once or twice), and we waited for a taxi to El Conseller, the aparthotel. Naturally when we got there there was a sign that the staff wasn't back for another few hours, but as luck would have it 2 of the Fulbright girls who had already arrived recognized us and let us in. A couple minutes later we met #5, Marc, with whom we were sharing a room.
After dropping off our things were were absolutely starving, so the 5 of us headed into town down the main strip, Avinguda Meritxell, which we lived on, but under a different name. We settled on 'La Paella' and enjoyed a lovely meal of smoked meats, paella with pork and seafood, and fideuà, similar to Paella but with a Catalan pasta. It was established
early on that everyone was awesome - Romance language whores, backgrounds in linguistics and other fun things, abroad experiences, and most importantly, love for all things food. Ya está.
We walked around the town for a number of hours - we stopped at the library, popped into a book store, and attempted to get a general feel for our surroundings. Despite the heavy influence on shopping - think wholesale cigarettes, cheap alcohol, Shopping Malls, etc. - it is hard to ignore the absolutely glorious mountain peaks surrounding you at all times. Meanwhile it was amazing to speak to shopkeepers, etc. in Catalan, who were always astounded at our abilities. That was pretty much it for day 1 - after a bit of essential grocery shopping we retired to our rooms where the other two boys and I enjoyed a DMX-Jet Li action movie dubbed in Catalan before calling it a night.
Unfortunately my 7am blood test thanks to Andorran immigration prevents me from staying up any longer and writing more! More on days 2 and 3 to come!
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