Edit Blog Post
Published: January 6th 2017
Andorra is a little jewel in Southwestern Europe, the landlocked Micro State is surrounded by France and Spain. The people of this tiny principality treasure their freedom, and although the Andorrans use the euro currency they are not part of the EU. There are plenty of things to see and do in this wonderful country, at an altitude of over 1000 metres in the Pyrenees mountains. There are daily return bus trips out of Barcelona, the bus ride across the border to the capital Andorra la Vella takes only three hours. Many tourists take the opportunity to take the bus for a day trip to explore Andorra and perhaps indulge in a bit of a shopping spree, and I was glad to join the crowds who visit the country for the first time. It is one of those fascinating places where there is no standing army, as the locals rely on France and Spain to defend their sovereignty. A French and a Spanish representative provide the co-rulers of the principality. Even when I arrived at customs the officer made a point of greeting me in Spanish and French.
The journal left off at the conclusion of a magical week in
Spain, noting her charms are as strong as ever for visitors. I was up early to get the metro to Barcelona Sants, and Eurolines organise day trips to Andorra for a return price of 50 euros. It's a little expensive for bus fares in Europe, but considering the price provides an opportunity to visit another country it turns out to be a bargain. I've previously taken a day trip to San Marino, recalling the wonderful experience of wandering around and taking photographs in a European Micro State. The bus journey was efficient and uneventful, despite a rude lady reclining her seat prior to the trip even commencing, and lounging that way for three hours without even a glance in my direction. Meanwhile I remained cramped and a little cranky about her inconsiderate behaviour in my assigned seat on a full bus. We passed through the border, where one man was taken off the bus with his bags, not to return. But everything was fine for the rest of the passengers after we displayed our documents, and we continued to climb through the mountains until reaching the capital Andorra la Vella. The bus dropped us off at the terminal, and the
friendly staff with perfect English were ready with directions to the centre of the city, even offering free maps for the new arrivals.
Bear in mind the principality is at altitude in the Pyrenees, so it's essential to have warm clothes for a winter visit. Andorra is famous for the ski runs, with people flocking to the country to enjoy the pristine snow every winter. In fact Andorra receives over ten million visitors per year; it's clear tourism is a major income generator for the local people. After heading out from the bus station It's just a few minutes walk to find the centre of the Old Town, and the city is elegant and stylish in the European style. I enjoyed strolling around with my camera at the ready, capturing plenty of images of the charming architecture and sense of style thats's so prevalent in the cities of Europe. They also have Wi Fi zones in the heart to the city, establishing a connection is easy as pie.
There are two beautiful churches and the parliament within Andorra la Vella that are easy to visit, as the city is compact and the main boulevard is close to the
bus terminal. Visitors won't need a map to make the most of a visit to this tiny principality. The local people are charming, open, and friendly; and the delightful architecture of the buildings in the centre of the city provide endless photographic opportunities for visitors. I enjoyed an excellent lunch during my visit to Andorra, as the country is renowned for it's culinary delights. There's a sense of style and fashion amongst the locals and visitors alike, and it's great to be up in the Pyrenees mixing it up with the bold and the beautiful! The bus headed back to Barcelona in the late afternoon, and I'll retain fond memories of a flying visit to another of the European Micro States.
However, I was not finished for the day as I had a limited time in Barcelona, and was determined to make the most of it. As soon as the bus arrived at Barcelona Sants I was out of the terminal like a shot, and although it was dark jumped on a metro to Park Guell before closing time at 9:00pm. It's more than a kilometre from the metro to the amazing park designed by Antoni Gaudi, and it
was great to be back for a second visit to this unique attraction after a ten year absence. Unfortunately the park is not designed for night viewing and the lighting is inadequate to get full enjoyment from this incredible place. I have no regrets about seeing the park again at night, but if you are in Barcelona I strongly recommend a day visit to Park Guell as part of your itinerary. I arrived back at the hostel at 10:00pm grateful and happy to have visited Andorra for the day, basically all of you should be here now!
Wherever you go, go with all your heart." Confucius
As I continue my travels, until next time it's signing off for now
Note: Feel free to post comments on this blog, or click on the subscribe button for notification of upcoming travel journals
Tot: 2.085s; Tpl: 0.067s; cc: 41; qc: 183; dbt: 0.139s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.9mb