Andorra is a small country landlocked between France and Spain. It has a population of about 75,000 people. It is the 16th smallest country in the world by land area, and here is the weird bit. It is ruled by France and Spain. Technically it is a Unitary parliamentary semi-elective diarchy. There are two Co-Princes. The French president and the Catholic Bishop of Urgell. The interesting thing is that the people of Andorra don’t get to vote for the French president so half of their leadership is not decided by them and really none of it is as the Pope chooses the bishop. So really, Andorra doesn’t choose any of their princes. They do however choose most of the parliament so at least they get some say in what happens. Just to give you a sense of how absurd the politics of Andorra are the parliament led by a leader of the parliament (kinda like the speaker of the house). Who in turn is led by the president and vice president of the parliament who are led by the Prime minister who is led by the Co-Princes representatives to Andorra, who are led by the Co-princes who work directly with the parliament and don’t have all that much power.

Regardless of painfully confusing politics, Andorra is well known for its amazing skiing and mountain biking along with other similar winter and summer sports to those we do in Colorado. The entire country looks like Vail in architecture and natural structure. Everything except the giant glass tower in the center of the capital city. It is 80 meters tall and Andorra’s tallest building, But for most people, the building it is part of is the interesting part. It is at the center of Europe’s largest spa… Caldea. We were able to enjoy Caldea and it was very nice. It is a huge collection of indoor and outdoor pools, spa tubs, saunas, and other water features. While the pools are not super hot, they are a bit warmer than average water so they feel very nice. There is also a lazy river outdoors that is very nice when the air is a bit cold. Inside are elevated pools the look like mammoth hot springs in Yellowstone. Every so often, large jets shoot freezing water giving you quite a shock if you are in the wrong (or right) spot. Caldea is in the heart of Andorra’s capital city, Andorra la Vella. Andorra la Vella reminds me a lot of Evergreen except for the Hard Rock Cafe and the giant letters spelling Andorra that are falling off the side of a building in a very artsy way.

We went to Andora because it was a small country that I had always wanted to go to. Lodging was inexpensive because we went during the off season so we were able to see some mountains and get a taste of home! Our town had a great church and we were going to go up the gondola to the top of the mountain but it was closed for the season.

Some fun facts.

Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe at just over 3200 feet above sea level!

The country of Andorra can fit in London more than 3 times.

9% of the country is UNESCO world heritage sites.

It is one of the only countries in the world with no air or sea ports so you must bring stuff in by land.

Often the main road into the country is closed due to heavy snow and avalanches.

For more look here!

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