Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I also managed to visit Andorra for the first time last w-end. It reminded me of another hilly country - Switzerland. It is a pleasant location - some say overbuilt, but that is only the perspective one gets from the valley floor. View of the capital, Andorra la vella, above from up above.
Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe, after Malta, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, and the Vatican City. It has also the highest life expectancy in the world (Wiki) and a very interesting history of how to stay independent for over 800 years with such neighbors as France and Spain encircling it from all sides. Just to keep your interest - its official rulers are both, the bishop of La Seu d´Urgell (yes, the climbing paradise) and Sarcozy!
Otherwise it is also known as tax haven with no income tax - and a ski paradise in winter. Its own native population forms only around 30%, the rest are residents from mainly Spain and France. It manages to strike a balance with all these heteroclit groups and prosper! Its national language is actually catalan - it embodies the independence the Spanish Cataluña has been trying to gain for so long. Overall an interesting refuge for mountain-lovers that want to live in the heart of Europe, close to both, Barcelona and its beach, and Toulouse and France´s industries.