Andorra 2018

Andorra, officially the Principality of Andorra, is a sovereign landlocked microstate, bordered by France in the north and Spain in the south.. It’s known for its ski resorts and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping.

Believed to have been created by Charlemagne, Andorra was ruled by the Count of Urgell until 988 when it was transferred to the Diocese of Urgell, and the present principality was formed by a charter in 1278. It is known as a principality as it is a diarchy headed by two Co-Princes: the Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain and the President of the Republic of France. Andorra is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe, having an area of 181 sq mi and a population of approximately 77,000. Two-thirds of residents lack Andorran nationality (tax haven) and do not have the right to vote in communal elections. The Andorrans are a Romance ethnic group of originally Catalan descent.

Andorra is the 16th-smallest country in the world by land and 11th-smallest country by population. Its capital Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1,023 metres above sea level. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, and French are also commonly spoken.

Andorra's tourism services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually. It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is its official currency. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993. In 2013, the people of Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years.

Grau Roig Hotel

We climbed up into the Pyrenees and got to Pas de la Case in Andorra, from there it was up another steep pass and down the other side to get to the ski station of Grau Roig where we were staying

The decor is fantastic - a mix of warm browns, fur, cow hide and wood. A modern take on the traditional ski hotel

We had a "Romantic Room" on the 4th floor, which was a bad choice as there is no balcony and a view across the bad side of a roof. I do not recommend that - you need to get a room with a balcony and view

We entered the restaurant 10 minutes after opening - it was almost empty. We had reserved dinner well in advance - in fact our name was first on the booking sheet. But the staff wanted to seat us in a dark interior part of the restaurant. After a very disagreeable argument lasting for 10 minutes, they "ungraciously" allowed us to sit on one of the many empty tables near a window. They need training on how to handle this sort of situation. It was enough to make me think twice about staying at the hotel again

The quality of the dinner was good, and of the breakfast exceptional We washed the dinner down with a bottle (expensive but interesting) of Andorran wine - expensive a they wait for the first frost before picking the grapes

The reception staff were both welcoming and helpful. Pity about the restaurant staff

 

Click on any of the thumbnails to get a bigger version of the picture

After breakfast we dropped down from the heights of the Pyrenees, and entered Spain seamlessly. Which is more than can be said for the tourists wanting to get to Andorra - queues of cars stretched for miles along the mountain roads

It was a 7 hour drive back to Moraira

 

Trip to Gaynor and Vic