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Trip Start Dec 31, 2002
Trip End Jun 2003

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Flag of Andorra  ,
Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Those of you who are getting bored of my stories will be happy to see that I have included pictures this time, so you can just look and not have to read if you like. This entry is about my weekend of skiing in Andorra. We had a great time and everyone returned home in one piece, although there were a few bruises.

First, I will tell you a little about Andorra. It is a country, not a region of Spain or France, as it is often confused. It is small - 60, 000 people, total! It is surrounded by mountains and is the only country in the world whose official language is Catalan, although we heard more Spanish and French than anything.

Moving on to the skiing, the bus was to pick us up at 5am Saturday. Figuring it would be easier, some of us decided to just stay up Friday night and go straight to the bus. Three of us went to see 'Catch me if You Can' ('Attrapame Si Puedes' here in Spain) at 1am to keep us entertained. I can't tell you if it was good because I slept through the last half hour. (Dea - I know you will appreciate the classic Cooper Girl move of falling asleep during movies). We got to the bus pickup, or at least where we thought the bus pick up was, and in classic Spanish style the bus pickup was actully somewhere else and the bus was late. We made it there and all slept during the six hour ride to Andorra.

When we awoke, we found ourselves winding up the mountain on the narrowest road I have ever seen (apparently guard rails are a luxury here, because they were only along the REALLY big drop offs where you landed on rock if you drove off - if there was grass, they left you to the driving skills of the bus driver - CRAZY!). Arriving at the ski hill, we discovered that people here don't understand 'changerooms' and had to put on our ski gear on the bus...a challenge, even though all girls know how to get dressed inside a sleeping bag without being seen - the result of many slumber parties.

As you will see in the pictures, I had some difficulty getting my ski boots on. Honestly, I think it was harder than giving birth. I managed to tip a bench full of skiiers and tumble to the ground in the process when trying to get them off at the end of the day.

Saturday was spent with Erica, a girl from Mexico who actually does not go to ESADE (she is at another school in Barcleona), but we know her through Alejandro. We managed to stay on our feet, but had a small incident at almost every run. She lost her ski pass, I got my pole caught in the entry gate to the lift, she dropped a pole as we went up the lift, she skiied into someone in line at a lift and almost knocked the person over...lots of fun.

Sunday, I skiied with Andres. He is from Venezuela and is actually not a student at any school in Barcelona. His grilfriend, Claudine, is here and since things are so bad in Venezuela, he has been here for two weeks and has no plans to go home any time soon. He also has no skiing experience what so ever and a passion for speed. His philosophy on skiing was basically to get from one end of the run to the other as fast as possible, and when in doubt, fall. I spent most of the day yelling 'Cuidado' (Caution/Watch out) to warn other skiiers that a rocket was coming down the hill. He did very well, considering he only took a one hour lesson and then went with the trial and error method of learning.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of the town. Andorra is known for its shopping because everything is tax free. But, because we were part of a group, we had to follow the schedule of the bus, and the focus of the weekend was skiing. All in all, a great time though. I actually enjoyed skiing much more than I expected.

Plans for a five day trip tp northern Spain are in the works for the end of February (Iberia had a promotion where you can fly anywhere in Spain, roundtrip, for 80EU...we picked the farthest place and started planning). There is also talk of Rome at the end of March because one of my roomies, Luca, is from Rome and has to reutrn home to hand in his thesis, so he has invited me to come with and see the city through the eyes of a local.

Other than that it is work, exploring the city (found the equivalent of a Spanish Dollar Store yesterday - so fun!), and meeting new people. I will send some pics of the new apartment soon, but I am waiting for our new room mate (Camille from France) to move in so that I can get her in the pictures too.

That is it for now...send news from home...Happy Valentine's Day to all!
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