Thursday, October 21, 2010

Everything's Cheaper in Andorra

I'm going to try to get myself in the habit of writing daily. NaNoWriMo can be especially difficult if you're not used to writing when you're not "in the mood". As demonstrated by the intense neglect of this blog over the past couple months, I'm never in the mood. I don't have any unique ideas today, so I'm going to reflect on a trip we took back in August with David's parents and uncle. Super early one morning, we all hopped in the car and journeyed to a magical land called...

Andorra is a tiny little country wedged in the Pyrenees Mountains on the eastern side of the French/Spanish border. I mean, it's literally crammed into the mountains. Walking through the streets of its capital, Andorra la Vella, might even make you a little claustrophobic as no matter where you are or what way you're facing, the street you're on seems to end a few blocks ahead of you with a slab of mountain.

When I said tiny, I mean tiny. The entire country is roughly the size of Delaware. The population is in the 80 thousands and there is only one University. But more interesting than its size, are its prices. Andorra is virtually a giant Duty Free shop. If you saw the price for which we bought some staple items (like vodka and cigarettes), you might even wee yourself a little bit. "Tourists" flock to the country to stock up on electronics, perfumes, tires, and anything else their hearts desire. The only "tourist" activity I saw in action was the most common: shopping. David's parents scored a Nintendo DS XL for his brother. David I got finally found a reasonably priced sound system for our iPods. It was a good spree.

David looking cute!

The city was beautiful and so unique. As we made our way across Cataluña, I began to expect the capital to look like any one of the many decent sized villages that we passed. The ridiculously close proximity to the steep mountain slopes and totally unique mishmash of architecture were a pleasant surprise!

Dali sculpture!

Before this trip, I had heard of Andorra in passing, perhaps in a geography class, but I didn't really have any idea what it was like. I would love to spend more time there some day, as I'm sure there are many more things to do! The only bummer is that not only is Catalán spoken there (along with Spanish and French), but it is the official language of the country! There's no containing this thing!

The steep slopes can also be nasty. We parked the car in a mall parking garage for the day, the entrance to which was your average, street-level entrance. After pulling out of the separate exit, we all literally screamed at the sight before us. I swear the car was at a 45 degree angle as David's dad inched us down the most horrifying three-story ramp any of us had seen in our lives. All in all, though, it was a great way to spend time with the family!

Elvis cow!

1 comment:

  1. Adorra sounds so weird and awesome!! When we visit you, will you take us there?? I want to photograph the shit out of it. I'm loving the Elvis cow even more than the amazing Dali scultpure.