|Andorra||Week 100 March 11th 2013|
A sign of days gone by.
Nobody stopping and just a few police around to intimidate.
|Andorra has one main road. From Spain to France.|
None of the uniform painted houses that somehow add character.
More a drab greyness of stone and concrete. Even on a sunny day.
And the architecture of apartment blocks has little appeal.
There's no income tax in Andorra.
It has been duty free in the past but with diesel only about EU0.22 per litre cheaper than Spain/France its pitched at a price to be just a little enticing. Filling our tanks was about A$50 cheaper. Difficult to arrive with totally empty tanks.
There are more fuel stations per square person than any other country or area we've been in.
There are also lots of ATMs (bancomats or whatever) but totally inaccessible to us without a park.
Andorra has a parking problem.
The sides of the roads are wall to wall cars. The car parks are not free.
The couple of dump points we passed were inside car parks with barriers.
This sign is for the ski field car parks.
The sign on the diesel pump says "we don't accept EU500 notes".
The cashier spoke a little English. I asked what her normal language was - Spanish. But I thought Andorra spoke Catalan.
She was from Brazil.
The fuel station also had an ATM. One which had a limit of EU600 which is much better than Spain's EU300.
We stopped at what looked like a supermarket. It had a free car park.
It was full of alcohol, cigarettes, smoked meats, and gourmet cheeses.
Not a chocolate biscuit in sight.
We also thought it was also far from cheap. I guess its all relative. Interesting watching what other people were buying though.
We'd read somewhere that the EU had somehow reduced Andorra's competitive edge.
We forgot to ask why there was so much cyrillic script alongside the Spanish, French and other languages.
|And so past the ski fields to the pass into France.|
|Odd to be looking down at the chair lifts.|
|But nice to be in the mountains. Almost 2000m.|
|The way down is through that valley.|
|Before we got to Andorra we had read that all 41 chair lifts were working.|
We didn't really try very hard to find a spot for lunch.
Really just the ski field car parks which weren't enticing.
Just before the border to France.
We didn't really need anything.
The customs point for France.
Which had another knot of police apparently doing nothing.
Very different to the queue back beyond the shops we'd endured in 1997.
|A reminder of the speed limits.|
|The road is that ribbon through the valley.|
|A few hairpin bends and a last look at the snow and peaks.|
The road over the last pass was closed.
That pushed us through the Tunnel du Puymorens.
EU21.80. Hard to argue with an intransigent automated toll gate. One way for the French to tax the Andorran fuel?
More annoyed at the lack of warning signs of road closure than the high price. Same problem that caused our brief expensive detour through Switzerland.
|Andorra to Calais||Week 102 18th March 2013|