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For Educators

Where in God’s World is Andorra?

Fascinating Facts about Andorra

Andorra is a tiny, landlocked country in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Located more than 3,300 feet above sea level, Andorra la Vella is the highest capital in Europe.

Andorra is less than 20 miles from border to border, and heavy snow often closes the one road leading into the country. With no airport or train, Andorra is remote and mostly natural—small towns nestled in snowy mountains, dense forests, and glacier-fed rivers.

Following the Gran Recorrido trail, a hiker could travel the whole country without setting foot on a paved road.

Winter sports are popular here. The 125 miles of ski slopes bring many visitors and competitive skiers, snowboarders, and ski mountaineers. Ski mountaineers climb mountains (sometimes wearing and other times carrying their skis) and then ski down them. Kids enjoy the Turbotronc, the world’s longest toboggan run, which zips through three miles of alpine landscape.

Many Andorrans raise sheep, cattle, and goats. Wild animals include brown bears, roe deer, marmots, wolves, Pyrenean chamois, and midwife toads. Midwife toads have a unique reproduction process. The female lays the eggs in a string, and the male carries the eggs on his back. When the eggs are ready to hatch, he wades into shallow water and releases the tadpoles.

Andorran food shows the influence of its French and Spanish neighbors. Traditional dishes include escudella (a meaty stew), trinxat (mashed potatoes and cabbage); cargols (snails); and torrijas (fried milk-soaked bread, similar to French toast).

Ascension Day, which is celebrated 40 days after Easter, is an important day here. Some churches raise a statue of Jesus through a special hole in the roof to symbolize Christ’s ascension into heaven. Andorra also hosts a Women’s Clown Festival in May and an International Jazz Festival in July.

 

Learn the Language:

Catalan is the official language of Andorra. Try these Catalan phrases:

Bon dia. – Hello.

Parlo una mica el Català. – I speak a little bit of Catalan.

Vull pujar mounatins. – I want to climb mountains.

Jo tinc papallones a l’estómac. – I have butterflies in my stomach. (I’m nervous.)

Quina és la teva cançó preferida? – What’s your favorite song?

Déu n’hi do! – Wow!

 

mhooper

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