Andorra is a tiny country in the Pyrenees mountain range between France and Spain.
It is a popular ski resort, with just 20,000 inhabitants.
It's loaded with breathtakingly beautiful scenery, very clear water - breathtakingly freezing cold for a traveller to wash her hair with, I might add - but it held something else magical that had me spellbound - a surprising and heart warming demonstration of community.
I stayed only for a very quiet night in an alpine hut, ultimately sleeping 'fairly rough' on an airbed that had absolutely no commitment to staying inflated. It may just be me, but if I'm on one, I can't go to sleep until the whole thing has deflated and my body parts are making full contact with the floor. None of this half floating round stuff for me.
In Andorra, I experienced strangers wishing others well.
As my fellow travellers and I were wandering into the main town on foot, there was a huge tooting, and beeping of car horns coming from behind us. Coming from New Zealand this might signal some major calamity, so startled, we all turned around...
to see a wedding car, and many cars following with ribbons on their aerials - all of them were tooting and honking their horns, and as they got right into the heart of the traffic, all the other traffic around honked and tooted too. All the people waved and shouted hooray, and the joyous cacophony heralded the procession through town and out the other side, bouncing off the mountains and echoing until peace prevailed.
It was utterly magical witnessing a community celebrating the love of two people they may never know. I banked that magic inside myself, savoured and remembered it, and many times when I've seen a bride since, I've tooted and/or waved, and my heart smiles remembering Andorra.
Sharing joy, celebrating and adding our blessings to other peoples blessings is something we are often shy to do, but it's such a beautiful way to join in community with others. It's so uplifting once we allow ourselves to be open to it, it makes the world much smaller and more intimate and gives us a deeper experience of life.
Do you have a tradition like this?