All I wanted was to see some snow. I had previously missed out due to convenience, and I thought I shouldn’t miss the chance when I was in Europe for Christmas 2020. It was a period of partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic when most holiday resorts and restaurants were closed as per regulations. I had been in Paris, France when I was scrutinizing the map for somewhere I could go for a little more freedom—and then I spotted Andorra.
The sixth-smallest state in Europe and one of the twenty smallest countries in the world, Andorra is only reachable by land. It is wedged between France and Spain, covering part of the Pyrenees mountain range. As such, it is a ski destination for the most part, and that means the promise of some snow.
Even better was the fact that there was no lockdown when I arrived by bus from Toulouse. The only requirement was to wear a mask indoors. Despite this, the lockdowns in the neighbouring countries prevented their residents from visiting. Being a foreigner, I got a very quiet trip with just myself and the serenity of my first snow.
A warm meal
It was indeed a strange time to be traveling in a country where the pandemic regulations allowed dining but not enough to fill the accommodations. I found myself in an entire dorm at the hostel, with no reception and only one other room occupied.
Restaurant La Borda Xica, a homely establishment across the street, was a delightful exception—it was filled with diners. I felt like a queen being served by the most generous owner, who suggested a great meal and offered tea for free. I also dined in a gastropub nearby, striking up a conversation with a neighbouring table and the sweetest dog.
This, I believe, is what sold me to Andorra—the friendly locals who welcomed me despite the fact that I was there as a pandemic tourist.