Spring Break Part 2: Andorra, France, and St. Patrick’s Day

Sorry for the delay on this one folks. Last week (spring break) was just hectic that I really only had the time to write part 1. But better late than never right? This will be a continuation, since I had a lot more to write about Barcelona than I had anticipated. This one’s going to include our unfortunately short trip to Andorra, and very relaxed end of our trip in France and Monaco, and some St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Ireland.

After our trip in Barcelona had to come to an end, my roommate caught a bus ride up to the mountainous country of Andorra. The bus ride was half the fun honestly because we were basically weaving alongside mountains just to get into Andorra, and the view was breathtaking. Andorra is mostly known for its mountains (and the fact its a tax haven too I guess) and ski resort. So really there isn’t anything to do in Andorra, unless you’re hiking or going skiing, neither of which we did. My roommate has this weird obsession with having to set foot in as much countries as possible (I’d rather experience a country rather than just be in it to say I have) which was how we ended up in Andorra.

We arrived in the capital, Andorra La Vella, and I was heavily underwhelmed. The town is situated in a valley and quite small, then again it only takes about an hour to get to one side of Andorra to the other. Anyways, we were able to get a nice 4 star hotel for only 20 euros each so that was a plus. There wasn’t really much anything to do or see in the capital at all, it was more like a central hub for all the ski resorts. Our plan was to go explore some what the next morning since we had a train that left at 1pm, unfortunately we found out that night the only bus that ran to the train station runs only once at 5am and 5pm. We had to take the bus, there was no other option.

Luckily the bus ride was also a fantastic view of the mountains of Andorra. We had to cross through one of the resorts and it was snowing at the time! It was so beautiful, yet so silent up there in the snowy mountains. Our bus took us right outside the border of Andorra and in France in a small community of a whopping population of 89 people, L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre. This town had nothing to it besides the train station. We tried going into restaurants that was falsely advertised because they sold zero food. The only thing they sold was coffee. Like who even goes to this small town just to get coffee. Two restaurants that served zero food. My roommate and I were both starving, sleepy, and freezing. We had to wait 6 hours in an empty cold train station. It was miserable, the only thing that was kind of cool there was the scenery and the snow. It was not a fun time.

Once we board the train, we had to head to Toulouse for a connecting train. I was awestruck on the views we got of the mountains on our way out. We were so high up that we were pretty much in the clouds and seeing them so close up is really amazing all in itself. Honestly the rides in and out of Andorra made it kind of worth getting up at 5am for a 1pm train ride, kind of.

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Mountains of Andorra

After Toulouse we headed for our next city we’d be staying in, Marseilles. Now I don’t really have much to say about Marseilles because it was a rather boring city. There wasn’t really anything to do or see there. There was this one church called Norte Dame, that was on top of a hill where you could see the entire city which was pretty cool. Other than that we headed towards our final stop, Nice.

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View of Marseilles from Notre Dame

Traveling alongside the French Country side was oddly relaxing for some reason. It was probably because of all the views that made it seem like such a carefree life to live out there. Instantly as we got a bus into the city centre of Nice, I was already loving it. The fact that it was a beach-side city really got me. Nice is apart of Côte d’Azur which is aptly named for the stunning beach and water. Besides the beach however, there wasn’t anything else enticing to do in Nice. Once we got to Nice and checked in at our hostel we immediately searched for the bus to Monaco (again my roommate’s weird obsession with being in every country, especially small ones).

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Bus ride to Monaco

The bus ride to Monaco was absolutely stunning. We rode across the cliffs and was able to catch a scenic view of the cities and sea. However, like Nice, there wasn’t much to do in Monaco, except you had to be very very wealthy to do anything in Monaco. We simply walked the streets of Monaco and enjoyed the views. It wasn’t very much different from Nice in my opinion.

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Monte Carlo Casino

After that we headed back to Nice once it got dark. We wanted to check out the Nice nightlife and see what it was all about so we took a walk, heading towards the beach. Long story short, Nice has no night life, the city pretty much closes at 10pm. We ended up having a nice moonlit walk on the beach before turning in for our flights in the morning. That morning we had planned to spend it alongside the beach and take in as much of the beautiful weather we could before heading back to cold, rainy Dublin. Turns out my roommates card was declined for his flight back home so he rushed to the airport to get that settled, while I took my sweet time on the beaches. It was very serene and I was a little sad to have our trip ending.

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Nice Beaches

Once I arrived back in Dublin it was time to get ready for St. Paddy’s day in two days. To be honest, it wasn’t as crazy as I thought it was going to be, I guess it’s just the American thing to get trashed for a holiday that’s not even theirs to begin with. I’m not saying Dublin wasn’t crazy though. There were about 4 times as many people on the streets as there usually was because of all the tourists coming in.

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St. Patrick’s Day, Temple Bar

Our group didn’t party as much or really go as hard as they said they were going to the day of St. Paddy’s. It started off with a nice parade to kick start the day and everyone was really about it. However, once it got to night time, most of everyone sort of crashed after the day and only about half of us went out. I guess most people had their share of partying on the eve instead, which was fine since I was very tired myself from traveling so much that week.

Now I’m back to reality with work and school again, which is still going all right. I had to write a wonderful 10 page paper yesterday (I’m using that as my excuse for not posting last night) which I had to turn in today. I do have one thing to look forward to this weekend, and that is my Paris trip! I’m going to be visiting one of my best friend and old roommate, Kevin, who moved to Paris after graduating. I’m really excited to catch up with him while also being able to explore Paris.

Thanks for reading folks, and until next Monday, au revoir!

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