Pat and I took the 10:30 bus from Barcelona to Andorra, passing through some beautiful countryside, and arriving at Andorra la Vella at 13:45 (1:45 PM). When we reached the border with Andorra, there was no border control. Unfortunately, as with all E.U. countries, we didn’t get a stamp in our passports. Andorra is not an E.U. member country, so technically we should have gone through border control, however Andorra uses the Euro currency and is closely related to the E.U. A bit confusing.
We arrived in the Andorra’s capital city, Andorra la Vella, we walked (uphill) from the bus station to the Hotel Pyrenees – about a 10-minute walk. We checked in, rested for a tiny bit, and then headed out to explore.
Our first stop was was La Casa del Boeuf for a glass of wine. When we finished our wine, we walked through the old city to the river before circling back to the hotel.
While back in our room, Pat searched for yarn shops (surprise) and found one nearby. So off we went. She was disappointed and didn’t buy anything. It was mostly sewing and embroidery stuff with a little yarn thrown in the window for color.
Since most of the restaurants here don’t open for dinner until 8 PM, we had some time to kill. Once it got close to opening time, we headed out to Els dos Cacadors for dinner.
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel by a circuitous route and were able to add a geocache (Casa de la Vall – GC51HW1) to our collection.
Breakfast the next morning was at the hotel, as it was included with the room rate. We then headed to the bus station to get tickets to Toulouse, France, where we would begin the next part of our trip. This time walking down the steep streets that we walked up the day before. We did find an elevator that makes this steep walk a bit easier.
With our next destination set, we went for a hike on a path, the Passeig del Rec del Sol above and behind our hotel. The hike up to the trail was the hard part but thanks to good railings and hairpin turns, we made it. The trail itself was mostly flat, but with nice views over the city and into the valley. When we arrived at the trail, we turned left, although the path also went the other way. One of the reasons for going left was there was another geocache (CaCamí del Solà + Rec del Sola #5 – GC7J5E0) in this direction.
After returning from the hike, we went to lunch at the Barri Antic Hostel & Pub. The weather was good, so we ate outside and enjoyed ourselves. The Barri Antic was one of the places we considered for our visit. It had great food but was a bit of a biker bar kind of place.
We stopped at a souvenir shop to pick up a refrigerator magnet and were pleasantly surprised by an offer to sample a really tasty liqueur, Ratassia de la Carmeta, made from walnuts and medicinal herbs from the mountains of Andorra. For some reason, the owner handed me a card with Catalan to English translations! Hum…
I guess we had not worn ourselves out enough earlier, so we headed back up to the trail above the town – this time turning right!
We had dinner and went back to the hotel to play cards and do a preliminary packing for tomorrow.
We had to be at the bus station before 10:00 to get the AndBus to the airport in Toulouse, France, where we would pick up our rental car to drive toward Nice.
(We learned recently, while preparing this post, that the country of Andorra has no airport nor train system. Buses and cars are the only way in and out. The government and the history of Andorra is very interesting and makes for a good read.)