Foggy Afternoons - Andorra - by Anika Mikkelson - Miss Maps - www.MissMaps.com
Foggy Afternoons – Andorra – by Anika Mikkelson – Miss Maps – http://www.MissMaps.com

Reader: Dear Mr. Snicket, What is the best way to keep a secret?
Lemony Snicket : Tell it to everyone you know, but pretend you are kidding.” 

Thus I begin:
I have a secret to share.
But on the off chance you believe me, you mustn’t tell anyone.

What if I told you France and Spain do not share a border the whole way through?
What if I told you, tucked within the Pyrenees Mountains sits a country half the size of New York City?
What if I told you its name?

Andorra.

Wait, you wouldn’t believe me?

 

Click on a photo to view the images up-close:

What if I told you I met someone from there while living in Colorado?
What if I told you he showed me its secret location and sparked my interest?
What if I told you I read another traveler’s story in which he spoke of ugliness, smog, grey skies, grey buildings, grey impressions?
What if I told you that made me even more anxious to visit?
What if I told you I’ve tried to go there over the course of three years, coming so close but never fully reaching?
What if I told you I broke down and took a 23 hour bus ride to get there?
Then would you believe me?

 

Click on a photo to view the images up-close:

What if I told you it’s more than beautiful?
What if I told you that even in April, the mountains are covered in snow?
What if I told you families are filling chair lifts, eager to get to the highest crests?
What if I told you friends and couples make weekly trips there to relax in thermal waters?
What if I told you others make cross-country day trips to purchase tobacco and alcohol, as the country’s tax-free shopping has turned it into a gigantic duty free shop?

Then would you believe me?

What if I told you I woke up one morning to a view of white capped peaks?
What if I told you there’s a tunnel you can take 3 kilometers long which leads you underneath some of the mountains?
What if I told you you’ll find a more breathtaking view by taking an alternate route above the mountains and into the clouds?

What if I told you they have an official language, but during my visit I heard it not once?
What if I told you, instead they switch mid-sentence between French and Spanish erasing language borders just as they’d seemed to erase geographic borders?
What if I told you its nothing like its swarming neighbors?
What if I told you its white mountains turn it into a diamond of sparkling crowns and crevices?

 

Click on a photo to view the images up-close:

Then would you believe me?

What if I told you, you need to go?
What if I told you, you have to go?
What if I told you, you must go?

You wouldn’t believe me, would you?
Good, because I’m kidding.

But if you do believe, don’t tell anyone. Andorra. It’s a secret.

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