If the iconic town of Mayberry (from the 1960’s TV program The Andy Griffith Show) existed, it would most likely take the form of a small town in Andorra called Ordino. I’ve had to explain Ordino and Andorra to lots of my friends, and once we get through the currency and language thing, they say… but what’s it really like there?
Well, I tell them, it’s like living in medieval Mayberry. Most people get it and I don’t have to explain much more. Seriously, when was the last time you waved to the woman who works at the post office, nodded to the town Priest and shook hands with the Mayor on your way to the office?
Ordino is a charming quaint little village, quite a contrast with the bright lights and bustling capital city of Andorra La Vella. There is a sense of old fashion values at work here. Something I haven’t seen in quite a while. If Mayberry has come to stand for idyllic, small town life, then Ordino is a medieval cobblestone version of Mayberry.
Ordino is a place where the policemen know the kids’ names and the butcher remembers that, unlike my husband, I prefer my ham sliced paper-thin. It’s a place I half expect to see Andy and Barney every time I see the local patrol car. Here the local police are more concerned with giving people parking tickets than crime. And, just like Barney Fife, the kindly local police officer let me get off with a warning never to park (even for 5 minutes) in front of the town hall.
Old men congregate in the morning on the benches in the town square, while farmers herd their cattle between village barns (often causing a traffic jam on the main thoroughfare.) It’s the kind of place where everyone knows when a stranger comes to town and the streets are rife with gossip.
When was the last time your town had their annual party and all the businesses closed? And more than that, did you bother to go? Here, when it’s “Ordino Day” the entire village gathers in the town square to eat, dance and drink as it has done since medieval times – and it’s on these occasions I find myself constantly looking around for the movie cameras, because it’s all just so wholesome and carefree, it can’t be real. But it is and the people are happy and proud of their mountainous Mayberry. For me, it’s the perfect place to feel inspired, and creative because everything is a potential movie set, but what’s more, I need to pinch myself because I actually live here.