Counting the places I have visited is probably my only concession to any appearance of being vain. I have a couple of counts going. One, well documented in this blog, is my opportunistic chase after World Heritage sites. The other is the count of different countries that I set foot on. Seeing as Costa Brava is within a day-trip distance from Andorra, this year I finally added the small country to my list.
Even the most proud Andorreans would probably agree with the statement that there is not much in a way of must-see attractions in Andorra. There are ski resorts – which obviously were not of interest to me in August. There is a large mountain valley area recognized as a UNESCO site – which we will cover in a subsequent post. There are not really any famous landmarks or world-quality museums. With all that in mind, I budgeted less than two hours to get a feel of the country’s capital, Andorra La Vella.
The town anchors the valley that is home to most of the country’s population. A small river, La Valira, disects the capital and runs along the entire valley.
The country’s location between two much larger neighbors is well illustrated on this sign.
From any major intersection in Andorra, there is no more than 15-20 minutes to a national border.
Quite possibly the most recognizable sight in Andorra La Vella is Dali clock on Plaça de la Rotonda.
The striking modern Paris Bridge crosses Valira river near the busiest part of the town.
These men sitting on high steelposts are called “the Poets”. They are giant lamps, but I did not stay until dark to see them light up.
There is a variety of contemporary statuary in Andorra La Vella. Here are a couple of examples.
The Old Town is a few narrow streets and little squares. Low number of tourists makes it a nice cluster to explore.
That last building is Casa de la Vall, built in the 16th century and the ancient seat of Andorra’s Parliament.
As I was walking through the Old Town, I snapped a few pictures of the house signs.
They seem to have the same word Alianó on them following the specialty of the shop that must have existed here in the past. No amount of googling or language translation searches helped me figure out what it means and why it appears on the signs.
Finally, a view of the part of town from a viewpoint on a mountain road.
The probability of me coming back for a more in-depth exploration is not very high but I am glad I took those couple of hours to get acquainted with Andorra at least a bit.