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Phespirit goes to Andorra
Arinsal     June/July 2003

AROUND ANDORRA

Map of Andorra

1 Estanys de Tristaina

These three pristine cobalt blue mountain lakes are accessible by means of a short hike up a slope behind the Restaurant La Coma, just to the north of the Arcalis ski station.

Leaden skies and slender drops of rain may not have been perfect conditions for appreciating this place .....

..... but appreciate it Phespirit did.

Fellow human beings are few and far between here in the north.

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2 Pic de Coma Pedrosa

This magnificent mountain seemed like an impossible proposition, but slowly, slowly, slowly the summit got closer and closer .....

Going for a walk around Arinsal - Line I

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3 Arinsal

Phespirit made Arinsal his base in Andorra. He could have stayed in La Massana or Ordino or Soldeu in the east, but was ultimately satisfied with his choice.

There is precious little to do in Arinsal (which is the whole point of going there) but the other western towns are just a brief coach trip away and Pic de Coma Pedrosa can be reached on foot, so .....

..... it is a quiet retreat in the mountains without total isolation.

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4 Ordino

The small traditional centre of Ordino - a single very-short street in an otherwise standard Andorran village - is what Phespirit stopped here to see.

It is alleged to be one of the prettiest centres in Andorra; Phespirit would not bother to disagree.

 
PUERILE NOTE: In Ordino, diners may choose to eat at the "Quim Restaurant".

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5 La Massana

La Massana is the central town in a parish of the same name, but that fact alone does not make it an interesting place to visit.

Indeed, no fact does.

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6 Sispony

This tiny village - pronounced 'Sispoyn' - can be easily reached on foot via the country lanes which wend up and out of La Massana.

Phespirit settled down to read some of Aeschylus' "The Persians" in the Plaça Sant Joan, sharing a warm bench with a small lizard, before visiting the unexpectedly wonderful Museu Casa Rull.

Two reasons to be suitably satisfied with sunny Sispony.

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7 Engordany

The separate towns of Engordany, Escaldes, and Andorra la Vella have grown such that they all now merge together seemlessly.

The fabulous centrepiece of Engordany is the ultramodern Caldea: a complex of thermal baths built into a shell of mirrors shaped like a rugged mountain. Phespirit whiled a luxurious three hours flitting between the various pools, steam rooms and jacuzzis .....

..... but three hours of luxury comes at a price:  24,50€

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8 Andorra la Vella

The capital of Andorra is one large duty free store, like an alfresco airport terminal set in a pretty wooded valley.

Phespirit bought himself a litre of rum and then walked around:

  • Església de Sant Esteve - the large central parish church;
  • Casa de la Vall - the seat of parliament (no entry);
  • Caldea - the thermal baths in Engordany;
  • Església de Sant Andreu - a smaller church (no entry);
  • Església de Santa Coloma - a church in Santa Coloma;

With hindsight, Phespirit should have bought the litre of rum after walking around all these places.

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9 Santa Coloma

These days Santa Coloma is little more than a minor extension of Andorra la Vella, but it gets a mention for having the oldest known church in the Andorran valleys - the Església de Santa Coloma.

Well worth a forty minute walk from the heart of the capital.

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  1. Estanys de Tristaina
  2. Pic de Coma Pedrosa
  3. Arinsal
  4. Ordino
  5. La Massana
  6. Sispony
  7. Engordany
  8. Andorra la Vella
  9. Santa Coloma
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Estanys de Tristaina Pic de Coma Pedrosa Arinsal Ordino La Massana Sispony Engordany Andorra la Vella Santa Coloma