1 October 2011
Imagine the biggest duty free shop you’ve ever seen. Or maybe like at a big international airport once you clear customs and security.
Well, multiply that by about 100 and you have Andorra. The capital, Andorra la Vella is simply a small town comprised of many duty free shops. Electronics, prefumes, cigarettes, high fashion brands and a disproportionately large number of motorcyclists passing though. Andorra le Vella has all of this in abundance.
But something else also. Something you will not find in duty free shops or in airport shops. And that is motorcycle shops. On my way out of town today I saw what seemed like a whole street of them, selling parts, helmets, leather suits – almost anything you could want.
And I did. I got some new summer gloves.
And this prices were good too. Just like the electronics shops. In a bar I saw a cigarette vending machine selling packs for about one quarter of the price in the UK, not that I got any.
But this city is more than that. There were not many locals but plenty of day trippers from France and Spain. I’d come back here – probably to go skiing. There were sculptures, public spaces, plazas and parks. Not much history although there is an “old town”.
But most of all, like all of western Europe it was spotlessly clean. Eastern Europe has much catching up to do in this regard. There was no litter anywhere.
So I had a day off the Family Truckster and simple wandered around town watching all the motorcyclists ride through town on a clear, sunny but slightly crisp day. I would even go so far as to suggest Andorra la Vella is the motorcycling capital of Europe – certainly the greatest density of motorcycles I’ve witnessed on this Turkey motorcycle tour.
It is very Spanish and the official language is Catalan. But everyone spoke English – lucky for me.
Here are some of my favourite images from Andorra la Vella.
Tomorrow the final push to the Bilbao ferry port and terminal begins. In a few days time this Turkey motorcycle tour would be over and I’d be back home.