3 May 2009

Andorra: a tax paradise

Posted by walterheck

The next day, I got up early and decided to leave together with my host, both to spend some time with him in a car to get to know him just a little bit better and to get to Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra.

I was dropped off there even before the shops opened and it was a rainy clowded day. I decided to walk around a bit, even though I had my full heavy backpack with me. I was hoping to find a place with free WiFi, but that didn’t happen. i did find the tourist information center though, but it was closed. After all hope was gone and I was pretty cold (Andorra is high up in the mountains) I walked into a supermarket that was about to open. I found some lockers that for a deposit of 1 Eu would keep my bakcpack all day. Yay! I put my backpack in there, walked into the supermarket trying to not buy anything and walked out succeeding in that (which is hard in a tax-free country!).
I got just my daypack and my laptop from my backpack and doubled back to the tourist information office which was open by now. They told me about a place with free WiFi, so I was happy and went there.
Unfortunately, there was no place that didn’t require me to consume anything anywhere, besides a cold drafty hallway on top of a parking garage. I sat there for a while, reading email and confirming that my new hosts were actually living in Andorra la Vella. I didn’t know that for sure and had just gone there since I _thought_ they were living there. Turns out I was right, luckily :)
Then, I called my new hosts to confirm and make plans with them. Unfortunately they were very busy and couldn’t meet me before 8 PM that night. Bummer, but such is couchsurfing life :)
I spent the rest of the day walking around in the shopping center streets, seeing each and every oen of them. Andorra really is a tax-paradise and as such, the number of shops selling perfume, electronics, alcohol and tobacco is incredible. I thought about buying a new camera, but since I had only 500EU left with no reserves, I realised that was not the smart thing to do. Between all the shops, there are some really cool old houses and the amazing scenery of the surrounding high peaks just never seizes to amaze me.
At the end of the afternoon I found the public library which had free WiFi, so I sat there until it was time to meet Xavi and Anita, my new hosts.
They were really nice people. The fact that Anita spoke very little beyond Spanish was nto a problem, and I actually enjoyed rying to understand what she was saying. Sometimes Xavi helped in translation, but most of the time everything was fine.
Xavi suggested we would go see a film in one of the next villages that was made by a local who had climbed a bunch of mountains. I said yes, before knowing that one of the mountains was Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America situated in Alaska. The reason this made it so cool is that we did an amazing flightseeing tour around the summit of the mountain when we were in Alaska. That made it extra cool to see it again and hear from someone who had actually climbed the whole thing :)

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2 Responses to “Andorra: a tax paradise”

  1. Leuk om weer wat te lezen!

     

    Eef

  2. damn, krijg al helemaal vakantiegevoel van van je verhaal!

     

    Ruud

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