Postcard from Andorra

This wasn’t planned. It isn’t even reasonable. But when hubby informed me that he had splurged on a snazzy hotel in the heart of Andorra’s ski resort, that he had paid in advance, that it was not refundable and, oops, that it meant having to take the kids out of school for a day, I said…. okay! And here we are.

The view from our room (The kids’ room looks onto the car park. Hehe.):

We’re in a place called Grau Roig, which means something along the lines of “the king’s pass”. Andorra boasts the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees, which is both fabulous and unfortunate since Hubby’s overexcitement has meant that we prepared nothing but two shirts, two pairs of socks and spare undies. No ski pants, no snow boots, no nothing. Liam is wearing my ladies’ Polaroid sunglasses, for goodness’ sake! So we won’t go skiing this time. 

Anyhow, the hotel lent us a sled for the kids and we went for a three-hour walk along snowy fields and forests, taking turns having heart attacks as the children went down slopes, avoiding the occasional tree, boulder, or stream. They ate crisps under a pine tree. We regretted having left the champagne in the boot of the car. We stopped for three overpriced sandwiches and hot chocolate (the thick, Spanish kind) at the foot of the ski runs. 

Back at the hotel (one kid had put his foot through the ice and was wet to the knee, another had dropped a glove in a stream), we went downstairs to the hotel spa. What a nice surprise! A well-designed place in warm browns and with cozy lighting, there was a large, bubbling Jaccuzzi, a small stone pool, a Turkish bath and a sauna, as well as a gym and a relaxation room. Herbal teas were kept warm in cast-iron teapots on candle stands, and an ethanol fire was buring beside the pool. We had the place to ourselves and really made the most of it. The teenager even tried the weight machines to, you know…, get buff.

The hotel also has a lovel wine-cellar, a library and several restaurants, bars and terraces. There’s a kids club that is open from 3p.m. til 11p.m. with a young lady who makes sure the young ones are looked after while the old ones enjoy their coffee.

Food-wise, I haven’t been bowled over, but it’s fine. Hubby had red snapper and carabiñero shrimp last night, and that was lovely (zero veg), but my tuna tartare with black sesame ice-cream was totally unremarkable. I must point out, however, that the children’s menu is a welcome change from the never-varying selection of burgers, nuggets and spaghetti, with a wide choice of starters, mains and desserts. Breakfast was a huge buffet with everything from jams and freshly-made smoothies, to hot options with mini-egg sandwiches, sausages and French toast, to Pata Negra ham, tomato-olive-oil bread with cheese and roasted nuts. Best meal of the day!

We have another day before we have to go back to real life. The teenager wants to go to the shops, which is my least favourite part of Andorra. Times have changed, prices are not what they used to be… Besides a few tins of Spanish tapas and a spare bottle of gin, I can’t see myself getting excited about so-called low-cost supermarkets and such.

For now, I think I might go down to the car to find that bottle of champagne.

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