I can sense before I even begin that I’m going to struggle here. Not for want of decent photographic inspiration, on the contrary there are ample mountain vistas, but rather that I have zero interest in skiing and whilst I like mountains very much I don’t like only mountains. At least on the plus side, according to the foreign office it is safe to go.
Well, actually it warns against leaving drinks unattended owing to the risk of date-rape drugs being administered, and going off with strangers (for presumably similar reasons). In fact the warning is really quite specific about this – citing GHB and liquid ecstasy as just two of the potential threats to your night out. But I’m sure that’s a generic warning to most generally safe and stable countries, right?
Hmm, a quick check of Belgium warns of no such risk. Let’s try Canada, nope. Nor Switzerland. And the entry on Switzerland is pretty detailed: its driving regulations alone are enough to make you wonder if you should just permanently give up driving regardless of which country you live in, just in case you break one of their laws remotely.
OK then, so to be on the safe side when you’re in Andorra keep your eyes on your ‘stronger-than-UK-bars’ alcoholic drink (this latter part another very specific Andorra-based warning. What the fuck happened there?)
In the previous entry (on Albania) I found it little bit of a stretch to find enough different things to talk about to warrant a full entry, and so crafted a glimpse into the lives of Brian and Marjorie. Between you and me I’m not sure I can pull that trick again quite so soon, so I may have to go on photographic evidence alone.
There really is some utterly breath-taking mountain scenery. And that’s it. If you like skiing and walking up mountains and repeatedly looking out from the tops of the mountains, then definitely do go. I have driven through the Alps (different mountains I know) in several countries and it’s always been a lovely experience.
It’s just that I was always on my way somewhere. And that’s what is missing here.
There are some tiny quaint little villages on offer. In Cal Cristo, the Carrer de la Mosquera has some ultra-narrow little streets and sharp corners, little vantage points to see people coming from where you cannot yourself be seen. If you happen to be quite small may I encourage you to go there, put on a bright red mac with a hood (a hood is essential) and take full advantage of these nooks and crannies. Nip in and out of people’s field of vision, dart behind them letting out small deep-throated giggles, and generally become the thing of nightmares. Let me know how it goes.
The Google Earth view allows you to hover at a very low altitude over the border with Spain and pretend for a moment that you’re a spy. I probably don’t recommend doing this in real life, even if you actually possess the ability to hover.
Along the Carretera de Prats Sobirans, in La Massana there are a series of tunnels. They begin by the tourist information-centre and continue the road through the mountains. It is the final one that is the most interesting. It takes the road under the mountain and emerges, splitting into two. The first road ends in a dead end, part-way up a hill. The second leads up to a house. This is the exciting bit. The road only leads up to their house. It seems like it’s THEIR tunnel. Their garage opens onto the road and onto the tunnel. They can just get up in the morning, turn on the engine, open the garage door, put their foot down and just – whoomp! Off into the tunnel they go. Now, if you really floored it you could pretend you were travelling through time. I don’t know if the tunnel is long enough for that effect to really work, so anyone planning a trip can just try it out and write in. Somewhere.
I mean, who lives there? Who has their own private tunnel through a mountain? And is this connected to the mysterious date-rape warnings of the foreign office? Probably not. Definitely not. I am in no way suggesting that.