In Andorra there is all. In addition to crime and public houses
Winter ends, and along with it ends and ski season. So those who want to have time to enjoy the fresh mountain air, the bright sun, dazzling and white snow slopes and breathtaking speed, you need to hurry.
Just where to go? You can, of course, in Austria or Switzerland. It’s good there. But expensive. Can be in Turkey or Bulgaria. There is cheap and good too. Although comfort is less, and snow in March may not be.
But there is a tiny mountainous country in Pyrenees – Andorra, while not very famous to our skiers. There is definitely good and not so expensive, like, for example, in Switzerland. In addition, March is a month of grand discounts in Andorran stores, cheaper rates for all ski services and primarily on vouchers. Yes, and in general, March in Andorra is just a good spring month, which can be remembered for the rest of the year.
The road from Barcelona to Andorra takes about 3.5 hours. But time will fly imperceptibly if the talkative guide comes. From him you can find out that the co-de-urkhel bishop (Spain) and French president of this small state are. It is their representatives to carry out a joint leadership of the country. Although it is probably not so difficult, considering the size of Andorra: 464 square kilometers, and the population: 70.000 people.
The first question of the tourist who arrived in Andorra to ride skiing: "Where is the snow?" And his in the very capital of Andorra La Vella and her suburbs simply do not. The temperature in the winter is rarely lowered to zero, except in the coldest month – January. In February-March, the weather is completely spring – an average of 10-14 degrees of heat. But not frighten. Total half an hour ride by bus, and you are already in the Alpine Luga zone with excellent ski slopes. Even if there are minor winter, as, for example, this year, snow cannons perfectly replace natural snowfalls.
In Andorra, five ski stations. And what else needs a skier, like not every day on the new track? For this, there is a special superkipass (magnetic card to lifts), allowing you to use the services of all ski databases. It costs about $ 104 for five days, which is not much higher than the price of an ordinary skipassa for some one, a certain resort (approximately $ 87). Getting to any of the ski bases will not be difficult – on average 30-50 minutes from the capital Andorra La Vella. PARTY fee – minimum. About two or three dollars can be reached to any of the resorts. (In Andorra in the go three currencies: Spanish pees, French francs and in many places, but not everywhere, American dollars.)
Roads in Andorra are so narrow that the bus is barely fit on the canvas. When the driver begins to turn, then intercepts the spirit – the bus is driving around with traffic lights and oncoming vehicles literally in centimeters. Having coped with the puzzles of the picturesque serpentine, climbing along the edges of the sheer cliffs, the bus will take you to one of the resorts – Ordino-Arcalis, Arinsal, Pal, Pas De La Casa or Soldeu El Tarter.
Ski stations like Ordino-Arcalis (total length of tracks 20 kilometers), arinsal (28 kilometers) and PAL (30 kilometers) for experienced skiers may seem boring: and "Teapots" too much, and the tracks are not enough, and the places are not very picturesque. Other business – Pas de La Casa (total length of tracks – 75 kilometers). There are four peaks that form a sort of circus, dozens of descents are laid.
The resort is located on the northern slope, so even at the end of the season snow here is rational and combed, without ice proper. And riding in "Green" Runs (highways for beginners) laid below the Alpine zone – this is a kind of tour of nature. On the one hand – the beauty of mountain peaks, on the other – the power of the age-old forest.
If you arrived for a week and do not feel very confidently on skis, it is quite enough for one resort for the first time, for example, Soldeu EL Tarter (60 kilometers of trails). Length "Green" Trails – As many as 11 kilometers. There are two schools and 125 instructors, special English-speaking groups. Classes are always starting from Monday, and by Friday the group is already masculously crawling "Blue" (medium difficulty) tracks. Three days to three hours of group classes will cost you in 9.000 Pesels (1 dollar is 144-150 penets), and five days to three hours – 11.000 Pesels. Individual classes are much more expensive: one hour – 3.000-4.000 Pesels.
On the first day of classes in the appointed place is going to a person 50-60. The main goal of the initial one and a half hours – distribute students by groups. For this, each student rolls off a slide several times. Depending on which part of the body you finish the descent, you are determined in the group "Perspective", or "Not reliable", or "physically not quite suitable". I was attributed to the first thing that, of course, I added confidence.
In the break between the classes, I decided to conquer myself "Green" Highway. After all, it seemed to me with such a color. But the descent became worse, and an increasing number of people remained behind, and then I remembered that I still could not slow down, however, how to turn. In order not to crash into skiers, lined up on the lift, I had to urgently apply the tested method of braking – on the fifth point. It caused a cheerful revival in scoring rows. I did not experiment anymore.
The biggest minus of classes in groups: the main time is spent on the analysis of their own and other errors. If you calculate the number of descents for the first two days (six hours), then they are hardly dropped with a dozen. Only on the third day the band leaves on the track.
But here there are your own "but". It is difficult to pick up 10-12 people equal in physical abilities. Still there will be at least one lagging, and it will have to constantly wait, losing precious time. My advice: learn how to ride at home. If you are Muscovite, then, for example, in Krylatsky. Only after that can be sent to the foreign ski resort. Unfortunately, I did not use my advice. And however, and group classes will be held no use. At least in terms of acquiring new acquaintances. In my case, these were the British, which in Soldeu among the riding most.
For experienced skiers are intended "Red" (difficult) and "Black" (extreme) routes. If on "Red" the tracks are especially steep areas alternate with segments, on which you can, knocking down speed, more or less gather with thoughts, "Black" no longer forgive mistakes. Therefore, in a cafe overlooking "Black" Trails are always full of people. Here you can not only be treated with a hamburger, but also to lay on a kind of show. Here is another madman, calling, it seemed on the slope. Several violants, and then legs, hands, skiing, head, and it is still unknown that will arrive first. The slopes are so cool that they are rolling down until the end of the track without stopping. True, your fiasco will not necessarily see everything. So later, behind dinner, you can easily boast that we passed "black" Highway. No one will ask you, on what, actually, the site of your body you did it.
In Andorra, you can bring with you children. For them, Ski Anglo-Spanish-French-speaking kindergartens with their lifts, slides and attractions are organized. "Children’s" prices are about 10-15 percent below adults.
For the safety of your equipment and other things you can not worry. No one will come to anyone, leaving skiing, choose someone else’s pair, today. Although there are special places for storing personal belongings (5-6 thousand peasses a week on three), many sim simply use them. We threw our backpack near any bench, descended to another base, and in the evening they calm down their belongings.
If you did not have time to get a gear, then there are numerous rental points. Salomon, Lange, Rossingol shoes are represented by the newest models. Skis – both classic and new-fashioned, parabolic. And skis and boots can be changed at least every day. So you can choose exactly the model that maybe then you want to buy in Andorra. Rent a ski kit with boots for five days will cost $ 35.
But skiing, of course, rest in Andorra is not exhausted. In free from riding time, and this is mostly the second half of the day (the lifts are closed in 16.45), At your service Museums: Historic, Automotive, Orthodox Icons, Church of the patroness of Andorra. In the town of Canillo (near Soldeu El Tarter) is a sports center "Ice Palace" (Palau de Gel-Canillo) with an indoor roller (the price of two-hour skating – 900 peasters). In addition, you can fight here in squash and tennis, pump muscles in the gym, relax in the pool, warm up in the sauna, but the solarium may already be superfluous.
The sun in Andorra is almost always. Therefore, ultraviolet on the mountain slopes is enough. The main thing is to remember: you need to periodically shoot glasses, but it turns out "Effect of glasses snake".
In the town of Escaldes, which is just a 10-minute walk from the center of the capital, the Caldea Crystal Palace is of particular interest among tourists. Outside it looks like a block of ice. Inside – the kingdom of fun and comfort. Three hours of stay in the palace cost 2.500 pest. Its central pool with thermal water (32-34 degrees) has the shape of the lagoon. Big bowls-jacuzzi scattered along the lagoon. Highly, the pool is announced by the majestic sounds of Vangelis hymns, and the real water firework begins. Numerous fountains produce endless water streams. The light will completely go out, it descends with multicolored rays in the lagoon, and you suddenly find yourself inside this enchanting show.
On water corridors you get to another lagoon, the truth is small. It is located right in the open. Andorrians say that to catch the mouth of the snowflake – fortunately. In the open lagoon jacuzzi you have a real opportunity to catch happiness, without leaving the hugs of warm healing waters. At a thin end, since it is difficult to dig up on the snowfall in Andorra, you can proceed to the study of the constellations of the southern sky.
Indorean terms – another miracle. Between the columns of the dungeons is located two knotted troughs with warm (36 degrees) and cold (14 degrees) with water. This is the most noisy place. Although there are signs everywhere, calling for some reason to abide by silence, water procedures, especially refreshing, are accompanied by wild screams and ululyukania. In another wing of the complex – an icy courtyard made in the form of a hole with a green Christmas tree and a snowy crust. From here a straight road to the sauna, in which every five minutes changes color lighting – then a green background, then blue.
In the relaxation hall with infrared radiation, you can relax, but not tan. And in the steam bath heightens the couple, but not much to warm up. For an additional fee work solariums, massage rooms.
The second level of Caldea occupies an elite club. Five-hour visiting will cost you in 5.000 Pesels. It is a miniature model of the lower complex, but in more exquisite and exotic design, with palm trees and lions.
Andorra – Duty-free zone. Spaniards and the French, no matter how wild it sounds, go here for sugar, cereal and tobacco. Tourists buy mainly jewelry, perfumery, household electronics, sports equipment. And items of truly valuable (for example, Cartier clock or the camera with a mass of options) will be cheaper significantly.
Tobacco and alcohol are sold simply at chasing prices: 3-4 times less than in Moscow, and twice as in Duty Free. For example, a two-liter Bottle of Gorent Gordons will pull only $ 8. Because of the exorbitant, on Western standards, the cheapness introduced limits to the export of these goods from Andorra. For example, alcohol is a fortress of 40 degrees and above can take no more than two liters.
But the main thing – in the shops of Andorra, an invisible choice of ski equipment. Including suits and different other trifles, type of glasses and ribbons to them, headbands, skis tapes. Skis and boots are cheaper by 10-40 percent than on average in Moscow, fastenings are approximately the same, but you can achieve a significant discount, if you buy a set. Expensive equipment and ski clothes of the last models of the season you are here buy cheaper twice. And February and March – this is generally months of significant discounts – up to 50 percent for everything that is associated with alpine skiing.
In the hikes for shopping, you would use the knowledge of Spanish, because even English often causes difficulty. Communication in stores occurs at the level of Gerasim and Muma, although in large shopping complexes you will still understand and somehow will be able to talk in English. In English, you can safely communicate to the receptionist in hotels, but no more – in a hotel restaurant, for example, you will most likely have to use Gerasim’s language again. This, however, is not completely scary and will not prevent pleasure to enjoy the delights of national cuisine – fatty meat and fish pieces fastened on coals. True, if Trout still beat the tail when she was thrown into the pan, other naval delicacies fall into the kitchen in a frozen form.
It may seem that in this small country there are all. But it is not. There are no crime, homeless and public houses. The first and second one is clear: it is not difficult for such a tiny territory to provide security and prosperity. That up to the third. There is no demand that? After all, with selfless riding on these pleasures, it may not stay.