14th April 2011 13:30ish
Irony value: 1/5
Overall Verdict: Pass
There aren’t many passes higher than El Pas de la Casa on Europe’s road network. There are a few in the Alps that exceed 2700m, but you’d need to make a special detour to get to them. El Pas de la Casa, on the other hand, was – until the opening of the Envalira Tunnel – the only way into Andorra from the North so taking this route feels less contrived, and as the primary route into Andorra from France, the road is wide and well-maintained.
There is also a ski resort of the same name, and even during Europe’s hottest April on record and despite air temperatures over 15 degrees centigrade, there was enough snow for a few detirmined global-warming deniers to slide about on.
After landing at Toulouse and picking up the car, Andorra was on the way to Barcelona, but was also part of my inner train-spotter’s need to visit as many countries as possible. We scheduled a one-night stop in the Prinicipality, with time for shopping, sight-seeing and a go on the famous Tobotronc at Naturlandia, but what we got was a medical emergency when son #2 cut a six-stitch, bone-deep gash above his eye in a bed-bouncing accident.
After an ambulance trip from the hotel to Andorra’s only hospital, and, in hindsight, a relatively swift process of local anaesthetic and suture, we were back on holiday and in an upgraded room with no headboards on the beds.
I have the Spanish (Catalan?) report of what they gave him to calm him down enough to give him treatment, and I need to get me some, because despite having a head-wound that revealed a bit of his skull and a screaming bad mood to match, within 10 minutes of being given this stuff (nasally!) he was giggling and saying ‘racing car’ over and over.