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Hooded Mergansers

Monday, March 17, 2014

Andorra... huh?

The other day, as Bill & I were walking along the road that runs alongside the beach, we saw an RV sitting by the park.  I failed to take a photo of the RV...  but it was probably a Hymer, or one of those that is distinctly European.  Of course we were curious as to where it was from....
Bill could kind of remember hearing about Andorra when we lived in Spain last year, but to be honest, I could not recall ever hearing about that country in my life.
The owner was relaxing outside, and, as most travelers are friendly, we started asking questions.

He and his family left Andorra last June...

Andorra is that tiny red circle on the borders of France and Spain...
They traveled to a coastal town (I can't remember where) and had their RV shipped to Newfoundland.  From there they traveled down through Canada, the USA, Mexico and into the Central American countries.
I Googled Andorra, because after our brief chat with the owner, I was a bit curious about a country that I'd never heard of before.  Below is the Wikipedia information:

Andorra - Officially the Principality of Andorra, also called the Principality of the alley of Andorra, is a landlocked microstate in Southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France.  It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe, having an area of 181 square miles and an estimated population of 85,000 in 2012.  Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital in Europe, at an elevation of 3,356 ft above sea level.  The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese and French are also commonly spoken.

Created under a charter in A.D. 988, the present Principality was formed in A.D. 1278.  It is known a a principality as it is a monarchy headed by two Co-Princes - the Spanish/Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell and the President of France/President of the French Republic.

Andorra is a prosperous country mainly because of its tourism industry, which services and estimated 102 million visitors annually, and because of its status as a tax haven, although it is in the process of reforming its tax regime.  It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the de facto currency.  It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993.  The people of Andorra have the 3rd highest human life expectancy at birth in the world - 84 years.

The man went on to tell us that they'd be heading down to Panama, where they will be storing their RV and going back to Andorra this coming June.  Then returning to Panama to further their trip through South America.

I will readily say that it's a bit embarrassing to admit to a person that I've never heard of their country before.  But with me and Bill, we enjoy learning new things and with the internet's capabilities, it doesn't take too long to learn something new.

Who knows?  One of these days Andorra may be a place we will want to visit.

That's All For Today!

9 comments:

  1. So many interesting people to meet when you travel, and learn something new everyday.

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  2. Kelly's youngest daughter after traveling & teaching in Japan, India, England, & Spain married a fellow from Andora. They lived in Andora & later moved to Vancouver & now Waterloo Ontario about an hour's drive from Bayfield.. He is a fiber optics specialists & really nice person. Before Kelly's daughter Rebecca married Ricardo & moved to Andora we had never heard of the place either........

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  3. Yup, I can see you heading to Andorra in the near future!

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  4. Nope, I've never heard of Andorra either and isn't it strange that now we kind of know someone from Andorra--Kelly's son-in-law!

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  5. I had never heard of Andorra either, so add me to the list. And, I too, love to learn new and different things.

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  6. I had never heard of Andorra until we were in Europe at Easter in 2009, driving from the Netherlands down through Slovenia. We went to plug Slovenia into our Navigation System, only to find that it wasn't in there. BUT, there was Andorra! So, I had to look up Andorra in short order. Good thing I had an old fashioned map of Slovenia with us. I'm not overly trusting of gismos like GPS.
    It's interesting to note that, in spite of not being a part of the EU (since they don't need to be) their economy is so strong that they can use the Euro, whereas a country like the Czech Republic is still relegated to using its old currency (The Czech Crown or Koruna) even though they are a part of the EU. Those former Eastern Block countries are allowed into the EU mostly so that the richer western European countries can have their manufacturing plants there, and not worry about the tax implications.

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  7. I will bet you hit Andorra pretty soon. It has a great history.

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  8. Always cool to meet an rver from another country, but all the way from Andorra! I bet they have had a great trip.

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  9. I just don't believe you'd have ever found out about Andorra if you hadn't been an inquisitive traveler and asked the question. What a great experience! Thanks for sharing it.

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