Monday, January 22, 2007
From Whence Comes "North of Andorra"???
One evening in the spring of 2001 we were sitting in a gloomy pension somewhere in France pouring over the map and wondering where to head next. Doug started telling me a story he read as a child about peasants leading their burdened donkeys over the narrow mountain passes in the Pyrenees from Spain into the postage-stamp country of Andorra. I immediately began to visualize a romantic scene of local villagers heading to market, carrying their copper pots, woolen blankets and baskets of fruit on their loyal beasts of burden. We left for Andorra the next morning after coffee, gaining elevation steadily through a lush picturesque valley towards the striking Rockies-like peaks. Traffic increased, slapped-together imitation chateaus appeared on the horizon, and the pastoral landscape gave way to a mega-ski station! Plus, Andorra is a duty free country, so you can ski and shop til you drop. Cigarettes, liquor, gambling, skiing, satisfaction for every vice. Driving through Andorra was more than enough for me. All the peasants were long gone, their donkeys traded for Hummers. But if you go to a map and find Andorra along the Spain - France border, move your finger just slightly to the north, that's where we'll be looking for our fixer-upper. Just north of Andorra, you see.