Gin instead of washer fluid in your car? It may sound odd, but that’s everydays work life for all staff at the Andorra travel specialist Quality travel.
“I forbid my team to use anything but gin in the tank. Gin smells better and costs less than washer fluid here in Andorra”, Ulf Östmark, owner of Qtravel, tells me.
“It also creates a great story for your friends at home, after you have made them try the same gin with tonic, lemon and ice, without tasting any difference to more expensive gin brands”.
And it’s true: being in an entire tax free zone, one liter of gin costs 2 Euros here in Andorra, compared to 2,80 Euros for the same amount of washer fluid.
Apart from those highly interesting gin findings, it’s a joy to discover a, to me, new country and indeed a great skiing destination: Andorra, or the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra.
This tiny microstate in The Pyrenee mountains is bordered by Spain and France and was created under a charter back in 988. Being the sixth smallest nation in Europe, Andorra still hosts some really good ski systems, where the largest system Grandvalira offers 210 kilometers of slopes, up to 2900 metres above sea level, and plenty of snow and sunshine.
Our village, Soldeu, is at 1800 meters and close by Pas de la Casa at 2100. Andorras capital – Andorra la Vella – is by the way the highest situated capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1023 metres above sea level.
I do also love the plentitude of ski-in-ski-out hotels, for instance gourmet and boutique hotel Grau Roig, as well as the quaint and locally shaped architechture found in the villages. Pas de la Casa is quite ugly though, but the idyllic beauty goes for all the other ski villages. Here in Soldeu you will still even find a tiny borda, stable for goats and cows, in the middle of the village.
Food is of course really good: catalan and spanish with great tapas and really affordable quality wines. No wonder the people of Andorra has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, 81 years.
Living here, I would also hang on as long as possible, just to enjoy every inch of the beautiful landscape. And an occational GT towards spring, if there are some left overs.
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