Crossing from France into Andorra, I arrived in the town of Pas de la Casa. It fits the stereotype of Andorra, consisting of little more than low-tax shopping malls against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains. Here I bought a new camera and as many cans of Red Bull as I could carry, while my fellow arrivals from France were plundering the stocks of alcohol and tobacco.

Thirty kilometres down the road I came to the capital, Andorra la Vella. This little city seems like a bustling metropolis compared to much of Andorra, holding its finest restaurants and hotels. It was strangely warm here, as if winter had not yet set in.Though Andorra la Vella is a popular destination, the surrounding mountain landscape limits its expansion. There is only a single main road through it, on which traffic jams are frequent. A bus ride of only a few kilometres could take an hour.

As befitting the capital of what has only recently gone from a minor mountain province to a centre of commerce and tourism, much of the architecture is modern. The bridges tend to all be white constructions of rods and spheres.