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My First Snow in Andorra

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All I wanted was to see some snow. I had previously missed out due to convenience, and I thought I shouldn’t miss the chance when I was in Europe for Christmas 2020. It was a period of partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic when most holiday resorts and restaurants were closed as per regulations. I had been in Paris, France when I was scrutinizing the map for somewhere I could go for a little more freedom—and then I spotted Andorra.

The sixth-smallest state in Europe and one of the twenty smallest countries in the world, Andorra is only reachable by land. It is wedged between France and Spain, covering part of the Pyrenees mountain range. As such, it is a ski destination for the most part, and that means the promise of some snow.

Even better was the fact that there was no lockdown when I arrived by bus from Toulouse. The only requirement was to wear a mask indoors. Despite this, the lockdowns in the neighbouring countries prevented their residents from visiting. Being a foreigner, I got a very quiet trip with just myself and the serenity of my first snow.

A blanket of white

Crossing through the French Pyrenees into Andorra, I was greeted by the whitest landscape I had ever seen. Instantly mesmerized, I could literally hear my heart pounding with excitement. There’s just something about experiencing a new environment for the first time.

All lighted up

It was mid-January 2021 when I visited, but there were still some seasonal vibes in the towns, more prominent when the sun began to set. I was staying at Secret Spot Hostel in La Massana, a small town north of the capital city. With the lights blinking on the trees, I got to witness the magical neighbourhood I had only seen on TV since childhood.

A warm meal

It was indeed a strange time to be traveling in a country where the pandemic regulations allowed dining but not enough to fill the accommodations. I found myself in an entire dorm at the hostel, with no reception and only one other room occupied.

Restaurant La Borda Xica, a homely establishment across the street, was a delightful exception—it was filled with diners. I felt like a queen being served by the most generous owner, who suggested a great meal and offered tea for free. I also dined in a gastropub nearby, striking up a conversation with a neighbouring table and the sweetest dog.

This, I believe, is what sold me to Andorra—the friendly locals who welcomed me despite the fact that I was there as a pandemic tourist.

Melting away

Unfortunately, the sun shone brightly on the only full day I had in Andorra, causing the snow to melt. Little streams formed, and the slopes became too dangerous for winter activities. I headed to Canillo, intending to hike up to Roc del Quer for a view, but was challenged by slippery slopes. Perhaps next time.

Peace in Turmoil

Admittedly, this trip had been one filled with heavy emotions, where an incident put me in the worst headspace. The negative thoughts were only amplified by the stillness of the wintry atmosphere and the emptiness of the streets.

Yet, as I watched the stars through the skylight of my room, I felt a profound peace. I shut down and allowed nature to take me with her into a humble understanding that I am but a small piece in a greater plan. Andorra doesn’t become detached because it is small, but instead thrives in its special way.

Hence, embracing the resilience of Andorra, I decided to thrive in my own special way from here on.

Behind the trip

I’m Angie, a traveller, web developer and blogger behind A Head Full of Travel. I’m here to document my adventures through words and photography, kindling a love for life. You can trust that all content and advice shared here is genuine and from my own experiences.


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