What you thought these two countries bordered each other? Haha, well they do, but roughly halfway along the board you will find tiny Andorra sandwiched between them. This tiny mountainous country is the 16th smallest in the world with only 180 square miles and less than 80,000 people. Interestingly, this country has been co ruled since 1278 by the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix (later to be the king of France and now the President).
Andorra has been isolated and improvised for centuries, but that started to change after World War 2. That is when tourism started taking off and grew at a considerable rate.
I was very much looking forward to visiting Andorra and I envisioned a peaceful mountainous country with clean air. I was looking forward to relaxing, sitting in a hot tub, and just enjoying the mountain views. Maybe I would go for a hike and I was sure there were some historic ruins to see.
Well let me tell you, my first impression was anything but that. There are basically only two roads into Andorra. We used the one from Spain, but there is also one from France that goes through a tunnel. As we entered the country we were not stopped for customs and simple drove in. As we drove along the main road through the country it seemed like the entire country was one continuous ski resort. There was shopping, condos, ski lift, ski rentals, etc. Everywhere you looked there were buildings and people and they were all on that one road, so the traffic was no fun. There were speed cameras everywhere, nowhere to turn around, and zero legal parking.
Initially I was put off by all of this and it did not help that the next day it rained, but after spending the third day exploring I started to get a feel for the country. It is not all one continuous town, but several little villages instead. I found some historic sites, places to hike, and even spots that are away from the crowds. I will tell you all about this day of exploring in the next blog.