Day 168: Ax-les-Thermes to Andorra la Vella

Sunday September 18, 2005, 72 km (45 miles) – Total so far: 10,256 km (6,373 miles)

We enjoyed some beautiful sunshine cycling up to the pass of Port d’Envalira, but it was really very cold. The McDonalds sponsored thermometer at the summit showed an icy 4°C, I had my ski gloves out for the first time since Stelvio for the descent into Andorra.

Our first stop in the principality was the ski resort of Soldeu for soup and coffee, then we continued down to Andorra la Vella to find a hotel (it’s too cold to camp here). La Vella is really just a giant mountain shopping centre – all hotels and shops.

We saw thousands of French people driving up to Andorra to fill their cars with duty-free spirits and cigarettes. These same fags and booze were driven up to Andorra a week before in a truck from France. A weird anomaly in Europe’s economy.

Disappointingly, the Andorians have been totally misrepresented by the makers of Star-Trek – they don’t have blue skin or little antlers at all.

Mérens-les-Vals

Mérens-les-Vals

L'Ariège

L’Ariège

We stopped for a coffee in this hotel in l'Hospitalet

We stopped for a coffee in this hotel in l’Hospitalet

The gentle climb to Port d'Envalira

The gentle climb to Port d’Envalira

We enjoyed a nice, but very cold, descent into Andorra

We enjoyed a nice, but very cold, descent into Andorra

Church in Andorra

Church in Andorra

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