Monday, 17 October 2011

The Alphabetical Tourist: Andorra

Yay!  I've finally got to a country that I've visited, and as such know a little bit about.  The tiny affluent principality of Andorra snuggles between France and Spain in the Pyrenean mountain range and  is a mecca for cheapskate skiers.  Being one myself  I've already booked a holiday for 2012 which is about as thrifty as it gets given that the Lovelygrey family are going to indulge in a winter sports break in the notoriously expensive  February half term.

So now I've been off to find out some previously unknown facts that don't involve tourism or the vast duty free sector that renders the capital, Andorra la Vella,  a rather featureless town filled with supermarkets stocking what seems like every brand of cigarettes and alcohol under the sun.  I found a 'brew' housing a dead lizard when I was last there.  It made the tequilla worm look amazingly lightweight.

Fact No. 1: The sound of dib dib dib will not be heard ringing around the mountains here unless visiting uniformed youth groups come  on holiday.  Neither will young Andorrans be familiar with the term 'woggle' (or its equivalent in Catalan).   Despite having a population large enough to sustain it, this is one of the few places in the free world that the Scout Movement do not have a footing.  Perhaps there is enough wholesome year round  activities here to tempt youngsters to do things independently without needing to be bribed with marshmallows around a fire.  Oddly enough Andorra did issue a stamp to celebrate the centenary of Scouting.  I'm becoming quite the philatelist here during this 'Round the World' malarkey but I have said before that I regard these little sticky bits of paper as pieces of art in their own right.

Fact No. 2:    Onto something cultural and highbrow.  As in many craggy regions of the world it didn't surprise me that a bit of folk dancing goes on.  However, I was on the hunt for more obscure arty-farty facts. I turned to an institution that is renowned for  portraying  participant countries at their aethetic best - the Eurovision Song Contest.  Here, again, the Andorrans are reluctant to join their international chums and have only entered the competition six time.  Here we have the band 'Anonymous' who achieved their  highest ever result, a heady twelfth place.  In recent years no entry has been forthcoming because of lack of money to support an entry.  Perhaps the people wish to spend  their hard earned cash elsewhere - on chewing gum perhaps?  Here we come to my final fact that I am sure will help you find your way into Andorran society with ease  if ever you should.   This is the country with the highest alleged per capita consumption as each person is estimated to masticate their way through two pounds of the stuff a year!

No comments:

Post a Comment